Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
The Recruiting Guy:
Hogs on radar of Texas defensive back
Arkansas defensive backs coach Clay Jennings walks past his players during practice Thursday, March 20, 2014, at the UA practice field in Fayetteville.
Arkansas signed cornerback D.J. Dean out of Newton (Texas) High School in the 2013 recruiting class and the Razorbacks are hoping for similar results with defensive back Roney Elam.
Elam, 6-3, 172 pounds, received a scholarship offer from Arkansas on April 30 and has approximately 12 other offers from schools that include Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, LSU and Alabama.
Elam said he received a direct message on Twitter from Dean shortly after receiving his offer from Arkansas.
"He tweeted to me the other day and told me to come join the Hogs," Elam said. "He said they show a lot of love and they'll take care of me up there."
Elam is rated the No. 222 prospect in the nation by ESPN. He said Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma stand out to him, but that he also has an interest in the Hogs.
" I have to look more into them," he said.
Newton Coach W.T. Johnston said Elam is a complete player.
"He has real good ball skills," Johnston said. "He can go to the ball when it's in the air. He's a physical tackler. He's not afraid to come up and hit you. He's 6-3 and real long-armed. He's fast. "
Elam could possibly play at cornerback or safety on the college level.
"He's a two-position player," Johnston said. "He'll be able to play safety and corner for somebody."
The SEC had a record 63 players selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. The past seven years has seen 305 SEC players drafted.
"The SEC plays like the NFL and you have the best chance to get drafted," said Elam, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds as a sophomore.
Johnston, a Hot Springs native, said Elam will represent whatever school he chooses a good way.
"He's not going to be one of those on ESPN getting into trouble," Johnston said. "I think that's what people are looking for today. They're looking for some character."
Arkansas defensive backs coach Clay Jennings visited Elam's school last week.
"He's a straight-up guy," Johnston said. "I wouldn't have a problem at all if one of my kids played for him. I think he would take care of them."
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
College coaches are always looking for the prospect who might be a late bloomer.
Razorbacks tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. might have found such a prospect in Magnolia defensive end Immanuel Turner.
Turner, 6-3, 230 pounds, had 31 unassisted tackles, 18 assisted tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 6 quarterback hurries, 5 quarterback knockdowns, batted down 3 passes and forced 1 fumble last year. His highlight video shows an athlete with a quick burst and exceptional closing speed.
"He was only 205 pounds in that video. Now he's up to 230," Magnolia Coach John Panter said. "You talk about a late bloomer, his body is exploding. We're really looking forward to some really good things from him."
Turner also is drawing interest from Ole Miss, Arkansas State, Louisiana Tech and others. The Razorbacks and others want to take a closer look at Turner.
"They want to see him in person," Panter said. "They want to get him up for their one-day camps."
Arkansas defensive backs coach Clay Jennings visited A&M Consolidated High School in College Station, Texas, on Thursday to evaluate highly regarded linebacker Riley Garner.
Garner, 6-3, 216, 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has scholarship offers from more than 10 schools, including Utah, Colorado and Rice. The Hogs are showing strong interest and will likely make an offer in the near future.
"He is a beast," A&M Consolidated Coach David Raffield said. "It's coming out now in spring football. Everybody is starting to roll in here. Going into it, people didn't realize how good he was.
"The recruiters are rolling in now and they're getting excited about him."
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Sports on 05/09/2014