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:
Razorbacks aren't taking a pass on defensive end
Four of Arkansas receivers coach Michael Smith's recruits from his home state committed to the Hogs in July. He uses his outgoing personality to his advantage.
Arkansas extended a scholarship offer to defensive end Reggie Walker of Ponchatoula, La., whose measurements and speed are comparable to former Arkansas defensive end Chris Smith coming out of high school.
Walker, 6-2, 230, 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has scholarship offers from approximately 15 schools, including Arizona State, Mississippi State, Kansas, Kansas State and Texas Tech.
"I like them a lot," Walker said of the Razorbacks. "I've been looking at a lot of highlight video of them. I'm really excited that I got an SEC offer. I really like them after all the years and years of watching SEC football."
Walker recorded 72 tackles, 15 sacks, 13 tackles for losses, 3 forced fumbles and recovered 2 fumbles last year while playing in Class 5A, the highest classification in Louisiana.
He said he is looking to visit Fayetteville.
"I would like to go to a camp," Walker said.
Ponchatoula Coach Hank Tierney said Arkansas is the first SEC school to offer Walker.
"He's a tremendous pass rusher," Tierney said. "He's fabulously quick off the ball, and he's a constant 4.6 guy and at 230 to 233 pounds. That's moving."
Several SEC schools want to see Walker at their summer camp.
"Every one of them -- Florida, LSU and Alabama -- have come in trying to get him to go to their camp, because their only question is his height," Tierney said. "I've had guys like the Florida guy say he's as good of a speed rusher as they've seen anywhere in the country this year."
Arkansas receivers coach Michael Smith, who is originally from New Orleans, visited the school Monday. Tierney, who has been a coach for 30 years, said he and Smith first crossed paths more than 20 years ago.
"I was happy to see him, because I knew what kind of a person he is," Tierney said.
Tierney said Razorbacks assistant Smith compared Walker to Chris Smith, who was taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fifth round in the recent NFL Draft.
"He's probably as good of a defensive lineman as I've seen around this area in a long, long time," Tierney said. "I would not be surprised if a whole bunch more SEC schools offer him in the near future."
Walker said he plans to attend camps at Alabama, Mississippi State and LSU this summer. His college decision will likely come late in the season.
"I know everybody is going to treat you like a king," Walker said. "I just really want to see how people react to my actions and if I feel like at home."
WILLIAMS ON BOARD
Junior college linebacker Josh Williams of Dodge City (Kan.) Community College signed a national letter of intent with Arkansas on Saturday and will play in the fall.
His transcript was accepted by the Hogs after they received it Friday.
Williams, 6-2, 240 pounds, 4.43 in the 40-yard dash, plans to report to Fayetteville for the first or second summer session. He chose the Razorbacks over Colorado and will have four years to play three.
He recorded a team-high 85 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, half a sack and recovered 2 fumbles in 10 games last year. He played at Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard before attending junior college.
Arlington (Texas) Martin guard Nick Babb, an Arkansas signee, received his school's Eleanor Grace Martin Award on Thursday evening.
One male and one female student at the school are given the award, which honors students who exhibit integrity, leadership and service.
"It's one of the more prestigious awards Martin gives out," Babb said. "It was just a good feeling."
Teachers nominated six male and six female students and the student body of more than 3,000 and faculty chose the two winners.
REPORTING FOR DUTY
Eleven members of Arkansas' 2014 recruiting class are expected to report to Fayetteville and start classes Tuesday for the first summer session.
They are defensive lineman Bijhon Jackson of El Dorado; running back Juan Day of North Little Rock; tight end Jack Kraus of Bentonville; athlete Josh Liddell of Dollarway; linebacker Khalia Hackett of Douglasville (Ga.) South Paulding; safety Santos Ramirez of Shreveport Evangel; linebacker Randy Ramsey of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard; offensive lineman Brain Wallace and defensive lineman Armon Watts of St. Louis Christian Brothers; and linebacker Dwayne Eugene and cornerback Henre Toliver of Metairie (La.) Rummel.
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Sports on 05/25/2014