The Recruiting Guy:

Texans have been a key to success

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Sunday, December 3, 2017
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/THOMAS METTHE -- 11/24/2017--
Arkansas running back Devwah Whaley (21) runs for a 28-yard touchdown run during the third quarter of the Razorbacks' 48-45 loss to Missouri on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2017, at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
Photo by Thomas Metthe
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/THOMAS METTHE -- 11/24/2017-- Arkansas running back Devwah Whaley (21) runs for a 28-yard touchdown run during the third quarter of the Razorbacks' 48-45 loss to Missouri on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2017, at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

Arkansas has historically recruited Texas, a talent-rich state that has supplied some of the Razorbacks' best players through the years.

The 1964 national championship team featured several key Texans, including Ronnie Caveness, Jimmy Johnson, Jerry Lamb, Loyd Phillips and Bobby Roper.

Some other high-profile Razorbacks from the Lone Star State include Bill Montgomery, Barry Foster, R.C. Thielemann, Billy Ray Smith, Kenoy Kennedy and Dickey Morton.

From 2002 to 2007, former University of Arkansas, Fayetteville coach Houston Nutt signed 44 prospects from Texas.

Nutt signed five Texas athletes in 2002, including offensive tackle Tony Ugoh, who was named first-team All-SEC and helped the Razorbacks win the SEC West and play Florida in the 2006 SEC Championship Game.

Offensive lineman Robert Felton and cornerback Chris Houston were two of nine Texans to ink with the Hogs in 2003. Felton earned first-team All-SEC honors in 2007, while Houston was named first-team All-SEC in 2006.

Defensive back Matterral Richardson was one of eight signees from Texas in a class of 32 in 2004. He was a four-year letterman and is best known for his interception of LSU's two-point conversion attempt in the third overtime to help the Hogs upset the No. 1 Tigers 50-48 in 2007.

Four-year letterman and quarterback Casey Dick and defensive lineman Marcus Shavers, a three-year letterman headlined Arkansas' 2005 class that featured six signees from Texas. Offensive lineman Demarcus Love and linebacker Wendel Davis were both four-year lettermen and two of eight Texas signees in 2006. Love was a sixth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2011.

The Hogs signed eight Texans in 2007.

Former coach Bobby Petrino signed a total of 25 recruits from Texas from 2008-2012. Safety Tramain Thomas was one of two from Texas who inked with the Razorback in 2008. Thomas is tied for third in career interceptions with 12. The 2009 class had 31 signees, including eight from Texas that featured Houston Texans receiver Cobi Hamilton, Detroit Lions center Travis Swanson and running back Knile Davis, who's played with three NFL teams.

The four 2010 signees from Texas eventually left the program. Cornerback Tevin Mitchel was the lone signee out of five in 2011 from Texas to pan out. A four-year letterman, Mitchel was selected in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins.

The six signees in the 2012 class included defensive end Deatrich Wise, running back Jonathan Williams and defensive lineman Taiwan Johnson. Wise is having a good rookie season with New England Patriots, while Williams recently signed with the New Orleans Saints off of Denver's practice squad.

Ironically, one person still in the program knows first hand when the Hogs recruited Texas the hardest. Director of High School and NFL Relations Bobby Allen, who was an assistant coach with Nutt and Petrino for 15 years, has recruited eastern Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth, central Texas and parts of Houston.

He was responsible for the signings of tight end, now offensive lineman Jason Peters, running back Fred Talley, cornerback Lawrence Richardson, Hamilton, linebacker Caleb Miller, running back Decori Birmingham and others from Texas.

Former coach Bret Bielema signed 15 prospects from Texas in his five recruiting classes from 2013-2017. His first class included three from there -- cornerback D.J. Dean, running back Denzell Evans and receiver Melvinson Hartfield.

Two Texas recruits signed with the Razorbacks in 2014, including kicker Cole Hedlund.

Former Razorbacks running back Rawleigh Williams was one of four signees from Texas in 2015. Center Zach Rogers and defensive back Nate Dalton also signed and remain on the roster, while defensive back Willie Sykes left after a year in the program and transferred to Texas Tech.

The 2016 class of 23 signees included four from Texas, running back Devwah Whaley, defensive lineman Jonathan Marshall, defensive back Micahh Smith and receiver Kofi Boateng.

Cornerback Chevin Calloway and receiver Maleek Barkley were the only Texas prospects to ink with the Hogs in 2017.

While Bielema signed less Texans, the Hogs signed 12 recruits from Louisiana, thanks to the connections of receivers coach Michael Smith and 17 from Florida, a state Bielema has traditionally recruited.

E-mail Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports on 12/03/2017

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