The Recruiting Guy:

Southside has 2 prospects to watch

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Friday, April 14, 2017
Fort Smith Southside coach Jeff Williams talks to his players prior to practice Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.
Photo by Michael Woods
Fort Smith Southside coach Jeff Williams talks to his players prior to practice Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.

Fort Smith Southside Coach Jeff Williams has been at the school for 12 years and believes sophomore Darrin Davenport is the best linebacker prospect he's seen while coaching the Mavericks.

"Davenport is a D-I guy," Williams said. "He's the best linebacker we've had since I've been here which is saying a lot because every year we've had a guy that's been All-State or something like that."

Davenport, 6-2, 222 pounds, was extremely productive in 4 1/2 games by recording 64 tackles, a sack, an interception and recovered a fumble before suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

He also plays basketball and baseball for the Mavericks. Because of his busy schedule, Williams said Davenport hasn't been timed in the 40-yard dash, but estimates him being in the 4.6 range.

"His instincts are very good," Williams said. "He's a great tackler and obviously he can run. A lot of times you throw a sophomore out there in 7A, and you don't know if he belongs, but day one he belonged. He could play any position and be a great player."

Davenport has accepted an invitation from Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. to visit the campus and plans to do so April 22.

He also excels academically.

"I think he's number six in his class academic wise," Williams said. "He's a great athlete, great player and a great leader."

Williams also believes sophomore quarterback Taye Gatewood is a Division I prospect.

"He's probably an athlete," Williams said. "At quarterback, he has a chance. He has a nice arm. He's that dual-threat guy."

Gatewood, 5-11, 200, 4.62 seconds in the 40-yard dash, returned an interception 100 yards for a score against Greenwood this past season. Lunney also has requested Gatewood visit Arkansas and will make the trip to Fayetteville on Saturday.

Williams sees college coaches liking Gatewood's versatility.

"He could play multiple spots," Williams said. "He's a good quarterback, smart, also a great student. He's a good basketball player, too."

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