The Recruiting Guy:

Commitments stick after Smith news

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith during the Razorbacks' game against Alcorn State on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Photo by Jason Ivester
Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith during the Razorbacks' game against Alcorn State on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

Some of Arkansas' defensive commitments said their pledge to the Hogs won't be impacted with the reports of defensive coordinator Robb Smith going to Minnesota for the same position.

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg was first to report Smith being hired by the Gophers and saying an announcement is expected to come later this week. Clay Henry of wholehogsports.com confirmed the hiring through sources.

Ashdown safety and Hog commitment Montaric Brown told Wholehogsports' Dudley Dawson he was disappointed to hear the news, but is confident Coach Bret Bielema will find a good replacement.

"I hate that is happening because I like Coach Smith and I wish nothing but the best for him," Brown said. "But I am sure Coach will get somebody else great in there and I'll just wait to see who it is and adjust and work with him."

Brown, 6-1, 180, 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, committed to Arkansas in late July over scholarship offers from Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and others.

He was considering official visits to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, but that's no longer the case.

"I had thought about it, but I have decided not to do that now," said Brown, who will officially visit Arkansas Jan. 20-22. "I am strongly committed to Arkansas and can't wait to get up there."

Brown, who played in the U.S. Army All American Bowl game in San Antonio on Saturday, said his hometown has been supportive.

"I had a lot of people come up -- teachers and students and others -- and tell me how proud they were of me for being the first guy from here to be in the game," Brown said.

Cornerback Jarques McClellion, 6-1, 180, 4.41, of Delray Beach, (Fla.) American Heritage, said he was disappointed to hear the reports of Smith leaving.

"I feel like Coach Robb was a good coach to me and most of all he was a good person," McClellion said.

He committed to the Razorbacks last June over scholarship offers from Nebraska, Michigan State, Louisville, Stanford, Wisconsin and others.

It has been speculated that Arkansas defensive backs coach Paul Rhoads would replace Smith as coordinator. Rhoads, a former head coach at Iowa State, was the Pittsburgh defensive coordinator from 2000-2007 and coached New Your Jets four-time All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis.

McClellion will officially visit Fayetteville Jan. 20-22. He said he would be fine with Rhoads being named defensive coordinator.

"I would love it," he said. "I know Coach Rhoads taught Darrelle Revis, one of the best cornerbacks to come out of Pittsburgh and that played in the league in my era."

McClellion said he's firm in his commitment to the Hogs.

"I told my parents I don't care how many coaches come in and want me to take official visits," he said. "I'm only taking one visit and that's to the University of Arkansas."

Baton Rouge Madison Prep Academy defensive lineman Troy James, 6-3, 276, said Smith's departure has no bearing on his commitment.

"I'm sticking with my commitment throughout this whole thing," James said. "Arkansas is where I want to go."

He cited Coach Bret Bielema, defensive line coach Rory Segrest and lead recruiter and receivers coach Michael Smith as reasons for his steadfastness in his pledge.

His mother wants her son in Fayetteville.

"She feels like Arkansas is a good place for me to go away from home and become a better man and the coaching staff will help me become a better man," James said.

HERNANDEZ VISIT SET

Arkansas cornerback commitment Korey Hernandez will finally get the opportunity to take his official visit to his future school this week.

Hernandez, 5-11, 175, 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Ellenwood, (Ga.) Cedar Grove, chose the Hogs over about 20 scholarship offers from schools like Maryland, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, South Florida, Southern Miss, Tulane, Kent State, Toledo and others.

He was unable to visit Fayetteville during December while leading Cedar Grove to its first Class 3A state championship in a 30-19 victory over Greater Atlanta Christian.

Hernandez, who has visited Arkansas with his uncle and a coach, will bring his mother for her first look at Fayetteville during the Thursday through Saturday trip.

"Mom has already checked out a couple of things online and did her research," he said "She's basically going to see everything in-person."

Hernandez committed to the Hogs sight unseen on June 25 before making a visit about a month later. He was able to convince his family he did the right thing.

"It took a talking with not just my mom, but with the coaches and uncle," Hernandez said. "I have a cousin that has already been through the process and a very close friend of the family that has been through the process. She trusts me."

Hernandez signed a financial aid agreement with Arkansas on Dec. 16 and will enroll for the spring semester. He'll return to Fayetteville next Monday to start his life as a Razorback.

"I'm just ready to get it on and get started," he said.

E-mail Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports on 01/10/2017

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