THE RECRUITING GUY:

UA goes extra mile for Floridian

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Arkansas running backs coach Joel Thomas speaks during Arkansas' media day Aug. 11, 2013 in Fayetteville.
Photo by Anthony Reyes
Arkansas running backs coach Joel Thomas speaks during Arkansas' media day Aug. 11, 2013 in Fayetteville.

The relationship between a prospect and his lead recruiter is key in landing the recruit.

Running back Karan Higdon, who is committed to South Florida, said he is planning to visit Arkansas in late June and credits his relationship with running backs coach Joel Thomas for much of his interest.

"He's actually done a really good job building that relationship with me," Higdon said. "He's done things a lot of different coaches haven' t done. Like he reached out to my mom. He's trying to show me, and expressed to me, that I care. I'm not just recruiting you just to play ball, I'm recruiting you to get to know you as a person and he's really been doing a really good job."

Higdon, 5-9, 190, 4.46 seconds in the 40 yard dash, of Sarasota, (Fla.) Riverview reports having scholarship offers from Arkansas, South Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, Wake Forest and others.

Arkansas appears to be the only school he plans to visit in June at this time.

"As far as other schools go and I really haven't gotten an idea really of where else I want to go," said Higdon, who has been timed at 10.80 seconds in the 100 meters. "Because all I've really been thinking about is Arkansas. That's the only one that I know hands-down that I'm going to visit."

Higdon rushed 108 times for 967 yards and 15 touchdowns while sitting out two games due to a sprained ankle. The school also had a game canceled.

He has a 4.0 grade point average while participating in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, an intense curriculum for high school juniors and seniors. His mother is very demanding about academics and has put her foot down when he doesn't score well on tests.

"She would take away my phone and other good stuff," Higdon said.

Higdon said he plans to take all five of the NCAA's allotted official visits before making a final decision.

FLORIDIAN PLANS VISIT

Linebacker Derrick Graham plans to visit Arkansas in a few weeks after receiving a scholarship offer from the Hogs last week.

Graham, 6-4, 218 , 4.75 seconds in the 40 yard dash, of Wauchula, (Fla.) Hardee said he has received nine scholarship offers, including Arkansas, Mississippi State, Florida International, Florida Atlantic and others while Florida and Louisville are among others showing interest.

"This summer, my brother and I are going on a little camp tour," Graham said. "We're going to be at South Alabama visiting their campus and Mississippi State to visit them and attend their camp. We decided we would stop by Arkansas on June 8."

Defensive coordinator Robb Smith, who visited Graham's school on Wednesday, has impressed him.

"He definitely knows what he's talking about," Graham said. "He said I would fit perfectly in the defense. My brother, he kind of knows something about football and he thinks I would fit right in with the defense."

MISSOURIAN TARGETS CAMP

Arkansas extended several scholarship offers to prospects who had good performances at last year's football camps and offensive lineman Dalton Ford said he is hoping he does the same this summer.

Ford, 6-4, 295 pounds of Webb City, Mo, has scholarship offers from Illinois and Syracuse while drawing interest from Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas State and others. He's been direct messaging on Twitter with Hog offensive line gradate assistant Eric Mateos.

"He actually sent me a handwritten letter not too long ago," Ford said. "Just letting me know how the spring game went, and he can't wait to see me in June at their camp."

Even without an offer from Arkansas, Ford has the Hogs high on his list.

"Schools who have not offered yet, Arkansas is my No. 1," Ford said. "Obviously, I have two big D-I offers and those schools are ahead right now because they have interest in me."

Ford said he's confident Coach Bret Bielema will get the Razorbacks back to their winning ways. He also plans to attend camps at Missouri and Kansas State.

E-mail Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports on 05/13/2014

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