HOG FUTURES Derrick Munson:

Rummel sends UA another

By: Frankie Frisco
Published: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Derrick Munson
Derrick Munson

Arkansas wide receivers coach Michael Smith might as well have an office at Metairie (La.) Archbishop Rummel for all the time he's spent recruiting at the school in recent years.

Just in the past four years, Smith has recruited linebacker Dwayne Eugene, cornerback Henre Toliver and defensive lineman Briston Guidry from the school in suburban New Orleans to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

At a glance

CLASS Freshman

HEIGHT/WEIGHT 5-11, 203

POSITION Linebacker

HOMETOWN New Orleans

HIGH SCHOOL Metairie (La.) Archbishop Rummel

AGE 19 (Born Jan. 7, 1998)

NOTEWORTHY A consensus three-star prospect by ESPN, 247Sports.com, Rivals and Scout. … Ranked as the No. 4 outside linebacker in Louisiana and No. 31 in the South by Scout. Rated as the No. 21 player in Louisiana by 247Sports.com. … Most valuable defensive player in the Catholic League where he had 120 tackles and five interceptions as a senior. Recorded 160 tackles, 21 for loss, 6 sacks and 2 interceptions as junior when he was named The Advocate’s All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year. Had 20 tackles, forced three fumbles and intercepted a pass in a victory over Wayne County (Miss.) that season. … Made 68 tackles as a freshman and helped the school to its second state championship in football. … Played on the same high school team as current Razorbacks Dwayne Eugene, Henre Toliver and Briston Guidry. … Son of Collette Munson and Rodney Franklin.

This season's prize from Archbishop Rummel is Derrick Munson, a 5-11, 203-pound linebacker.

Munson caught Smith's attention when Smith was evaluating Guidry a few years ago.

[HOG FUTURES: Stories, photos of all the new members of the Razorback team]

"Watching him practice and his make up," Smith said of what made Munson stand out. "And then when I found out about his grades and the things he needed to get it done to qualify, and watching his approach and how he attacked that part of it, I fell in love with the kid."

Smith's affinity for Munson grew during his junior season when he made 158 tackles, including 21 for loss, had 2 interceptions and earned Defensive Player of the Year honors on The Advocate's All-Metro Team.

The Raiders finished 11-2 in 2015, losing in the Class 5A state championship game, but Munson's progress left an impact on Archbishop Rummel Coach Jay Roth.

"We were playing in the district championship and he just stole the heart of the other team," Roth said. "He was able to set the tone the entire game game. He was a leader, always gave us a spark. Just a kid that made plays. Someone you had to know where he was each and every play."

Munson had 119 tackles and five interceptions as a senior, was named the Catholic League's Defensive MVP and was an All-Louisiana first-team selection by USA Today.

In January of 2016, Munson became the first player to orally commit to the Razorbacks for the 2017 class.

He never wavered from from his commitment despite drawing interest from numerous Division I schools. Munson said the fact three of his former high school teammates were Razorbacks helped formulate his decision before Smith, and later Coach Bret Bielema, sealed the deal.

"I knew all along Arkansas was it and I was going to be a Razorback," Munson said. "Coach Smith is a cool dude. He made things easier where I could just concentrate on school and playing ball.

"Then I got to meet Coach B. We just clicked, too. It was just one of those things. There wasn't anything going to change my mind."

Roth said he was impressed with how his star linebacker was treated.

"You can't say enough about the recruiting done by Michael Smith and the sell job by Coach Bielema," Roth said. "They're up front and true to them.

"They've recruited a lot of other players from here. The players like coach Smith and coach Bielema. They're very personable, down-to-earth coaches that kids can relate to."

Munson was a freshman when Rummel won its second consecutive state title in 2013, but he was a contributor, accounting for 68 tackles.

The Raiders, a traditional power in southern Louisiana, went 39-10 during Munson's four seasons.

Unfortunately for Munson, one person who could not view his accomplishments was his mother, Collette Munson, who is blind after suffering a freak accident when Derrick was a preteen.

Derrick Munson said he felt like he had to grow up more quickly to help shoulder the load around the house, and he's putting those experiences to good use as he embarks on the next chapter.

"I know I have a responsibility to help my family even while I am up here," Munson said. "My mother inspires me every day to be a better person and a better football player. She definitely motivates me."

Roth said Munson's strengths as a player include his knack for being around the football and his intensity.

Munson, who said he likes come down from outside the box in order to show off his speed, said he worked on his explosiveness over the summer.

Outside linebackers coach Chad Walker said he liked what he's seen in fall camp of Munson, who has been working with the second team.

"He's got quickness for sure," Walker said. "I think he's got a nose for the football and he's got the ability to play in space. He's in the right spot a lot. He's moving around and progressing. ... He's still learning the scheme and exact alignment, exact assignments. But I love his attitude and his intent toward improving every day."

Walker won't get an argument out of Munson's lead recruiter, Smith, who saw plenty in high school from the former Archbishop Rummel star.

"Just the kid's total makeup as a man, it's very impressive," Smith said. "That's the type of kids we want in this program."

Sports on 08/19/2017

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