Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007. He also hosts Recruiting Thursday each Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. statewide.
Bielema and staff sway Cantrell
Tight end Austin Cantrell orally committed to Arkansas last week because his relationship with Coach Bret Bielema and the staff.
“That’s a big thing for me, not necessarily the name of the school,” said Cantrell, who pledged to the Hogs during a Thursday visit. “Not of that really plays a big role. They treat like I’m already playing there. It’s just a great feeling.”
Cantrell, 6-3 1/2, 249, 4.58 seconds in the 40 yard dash, of Roland, Okla. was drawing interest from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tulsa and Memphis. He let Bielema know of his intentions in the head coach’s office. Video highlights CLICK HERE
“He got up and gave me a hug,” Cantrell said. “He said you made my spring break a lot happier.”
Cantrell had 9 receptions for 268 yards, an average of 29.7 yards per catch and 2 touchdowns last year along with 334 yards and 9 touchdowns on 41 rushes. He’s impressed with tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr.
“He seems like a really smart coach, good guy,” Cantrell said. “I heard a lot about his dad being one of the best coaches.”
The use of the tight end also played a factor.
“They main thing is they use tight ends and they run that pro-style offense,” he said. “He said he builds his offense around tight ends. That really got my attention.”
Cantrell said his mother and father were on board with his decision.
“Coach B again, he was straight up with my parents,” He talked to them like a down-to-earth kind of guy. He talked to them like friends. I’m the baby and my mom doesn’t really want to let me go but she feels very comfortable about letting me go up there knowing who I’m with.”
Should Oklahoma or Oklahoma State come with an offer, Cantrell knows what he’ll say.
“I’ll tell them I already found a place,” Cantrell said.