The Recruiting Guy:

Visit drives Ford to put UA at top of list

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. directs his players during practice Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. directs his players during practice Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

Arkansas tight end target Luke Ford called his two-day trip to Fayetteville "unbelievable" and said the Hogs had moved to the top of his list.

Ford, 6-7, 250, of Carterville, Ill., has 20 scholarship offers, including Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida, Louisville, Oklahoma State, Minnesota, North Carolina State, Rutgers and Illinois.

Ford said he hit it off with Coach Bret Bielema, offensive coordinator Dan Enos and tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. and others on the staff during the Sunday and Monday visit.

"First off, it was an unbelievable visit, it was great," Ford said. "We had such a good time meeting with the coaches. Coach B is a real guy, a genuine guy and an honest guy. Coach Lunney and Coach Enos both great coaches, real guys, genuine. I felt the whole staff there was real genuine people. Just good people. And I just loved every bit of it."

Ford, who visited Illinois on Friday and named them his leader, said his trip to Arkansas has moved the Razorbacks to the top of his list.

"Did it move them to the top? Yes, I would probably have to say that ," Ford said. "Without a doubt, they're No. 1."

He said he will definitely come back to Fayetteville for another visit.

"I loved the facilities, of course," he said. "They took me and showed me everything. I needed to see. They showed me the dorms, which are obviously very nice."

Ford, who also plays basketball, has recorded a 40-yard dash of 4.95 seconds and a 32-inch vertical jump.

Arkansas' use of the tight end, having two Mackey Award winners and Bielema's history of having tight ends drafted into the NFL, also plays a big part in the Hogs' leading for Ford's signature.

"They broke down all of the film," Ford said. "Broke down how they could use me in the offense and of course they use their tight ends. It's no secret they're a leader with everything with the use of the tight end. Mackey award winners."

Ford's parents, Timothy and Lisa, also liked what Arkansas had to offer.

"They liked all of the pools for rehab," Ford said. "My mom does physical therapy."


Desoto, Texas, athlete Byron Hanspard Jr., visited Fayetteville last fall for the Hogs' 31-10 victory over Florida and had thoughts of committing during the visit.

Hanspard, who came to town with friends last fall, will return today with his parents so they can see why he's so high on the Hogs.

"I want my family to take the trip and get a feel for the city and for the type of environment the university has," said Hanspard, who is expected to arrive at 10 a.m. "They'll also see why I'm looking at Arkansas as hard as I am."

Hanspard, 6-1, 188, 4.44 in the 40-yard dash, has more than 15 scholarship offers, a list that includes Arkansas, Oregon, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Colorado, Mississippi State and Texas Tech, where his father, Byron Hanspard Sr., won the Doak Walker Award in 1996.

The younger Hanspard has given his parents a rundown on why he likes the Hogs so much.

"The family bond with the coaches and the team and the entire the community has together is tremendous," Hanspard said. "It's definitely the kind of bond I want to be around and the type of vibe I want to have the next four years of my life in college."

Hanspard had 40 tackles, 12 pass breakups, 3 interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery to help lead the Eagles to a 16-0 record and the Class 6A Division II state championship.

In no specific order, Handpard listed his top schools Arkansas, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt and Oregon. Baylor has extended an offer yet.

Hanspard said the Hogs' two commitments, quarterback Connor Noland of Greenwood and linebacker Bumper Pool of Lucas, (Texas) Lovejoy have been recruiting him hard.

"They do a tremendous job of trying to get you on board and talking to you about the different things Fayetteville has to offer," Hanspard said.

Hanspard said he stays in touch with inside linebackers coach Vernon Hargreaves and receivers Michael Smith. Hanspard said Smith made s strong impression on him during his first trip to Fayetteville.

"That's a very funny person right there," Hanspard said. "He was actually one of the first people that interacted with me when I came down for the first time. He will definitely keep you laughing and keep you on your toes. He's a very down-to-earth, very cool person."

E-mail Richard Davenport at

Sports on 03/14/2017


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