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:
UA coaches hitting road for evaluation period
Arkansas director of recruiting E.K. Franks watches during Razorbacks practice on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, at Charlotte Latin High School.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Coach Bret Bielema has emphasized recruiting the state of Arkansas first and that will hold true again when the Razorbacks coaches hit the road Monday for their start of the spring evaluation period.
The Razorbacks will use two airplanes and four cars to transport coaches to in-state and out-of-state schools. The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville will have six coaches in the state at one point during the day.
"We'll be all over certain kids we want to see in-state," said director of recruiting E.K. Franks. "The focus is in-state. That's how the whole conversation started, but there's two or three kids in-state that are out of school on Monday, so then the focus kind of changed. You couldn't hit all of the in-state kids you wanted to, but we'll hit a good group of in-state kids and then hit some core kids you're trying to see early."
Head coaches aren't allowed to go on the road for the evaluation period. While assistants are are on the road, they are forbidden to have face-to-face contact with prospects.
Schools are allowed 168 evaluation days from April 15 to May 31. Each day a coach is out on the road counts as an evaluation. For instance, if nine coaches were out five days, it would count as 45 elevations. Coaches also are allowed to make one phone call to prospects during the period.
Because the elevation period began Saturday, the Hogs are waiting to go on the road Monday.
"The last two years we've gone out on Fridays," Franks said. "Mondays fit practice better. Also we think it's a better hit. A lot of kids want to travel on Fridays and have track meets and things like that so Monday is a better hit."
The Razorbacks will be visiting several states and the nation's capital.
"We'll pretty much be in Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Florida and [Washington] D.C.," Franks said.
Receivers Coach Michael Smith, a New Orleans native, would normally visit schools in the Crescent City and surrounding area, but not Monday.
"For the most part, the area that we're looking at pretty much has Friday and Monday off," Franks said.
Because coaches like to evaluate some prospects during practice or workouts, the Hogs will wait to see some recruits until their school starts spring practice.
"Some of them are debated because you want to see certain kids practice, so that's part of the reason you're going to certain places and not others," Franks said.
Schools are only allowed two evaluations per school during the period. Razorbacks coordinators are often sent to schools to determine the level of interest the Hogs have in a prospect. Franks said the coordinators will wait until more schools conduct spring practice.
"So, if I want to get a coordinator to see a kid, I don't want waste a hit now so the coordinator can't go back and see him participate in a sport or workout football wise," Franks said. "That's one thing that's real delicate."
Texas OT narrows list
Arkansas has made the cut for highly recruited offensive tackle Darrell Simpson.
Simpson, 6-7, 330 pounds of Justin (Texas) Northwest, had more than 20 scholarship offers, but on Friday announced on Twitter that he was down to Arkansas, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, TCU and Texas A&M.
He's ESPN's No. 9 offensive tackle and No. 85 overall prospect. National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network had Simpson on his TV show in January and called him one of his junior All-Americans.
"He came to the studio in Dallas and we talked for an hour before we filmed," Lemming said. "Hes a big athletic offensive tackle with quick feet, long arms, and an aggressive attitude. The sly is the limit for that type of potential. I have him rated a 4-star plus prospect."
E-mail Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports on 04/16/2017
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.