Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He appears weekly on The Red Zone w/ JB on 92.1 FM Fayetteville, The Morning Rush w/ Tye & Tommy on 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home, 99.5 FM in Fayetteville and The Zone w/ Justin & Wess on 103.7 FM in Little Rock.
The Recruiting Guy:
Houston QB top target for Hogs
Arkansas QB target Grant Gunnell.
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville football Coach Bret Bielema and his staff hosted top several prospects for unofficial visits Saturday, and Bielema made sure sophomore quarterback Grant Gunnell knew he was a priority for the 2019 class.
Gunnell, 6-6, 200 pounds, of St. Pius X High School in Houston, has more than 20 scholarship offers, including ones from Arkansas, Florida State, LSU, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Louisville, Georgia, Houston and Northwestern.
Bielema stressed to Gunnell that he was the Hogs' quarterback target.
"He said they're not going to offer anyone else until they find out if I'm going to be there or not," Gunnell said. "If they do find one, he's going to call me first."
He completed 271 of 387 passes for 4,973 yards and 65 touchdowns while rushing 54 times for 389 yards and 5 touchdowns last season. Gunnell said he was impressed by Bielema's words.
"It's pretty cool," Gunnell said. "It's awesome."
Gunnell said Bielema praised his playmaking ability, work ethic and competitive nature. He also said Bielema's sales pitch of waiting to hear from him before moving on to another quarterback hasn't been mentioned by other coaches.
"Not really, not like that," Gunnell said.
Gunnell's grandfather, Jim Price, played linebacker for the Hogs' 1964 national championship team, while his mother Julie graduated from Arkansas in 1990. His father Chris earned his masters degree from Arkansas in 1994.
Sophomore receiver Jalen Curry and sophomore tight end Grayson Boomer accompanied Grant Gunnell to Fayetteville and received scholarship offers from Coach Bret Bielema on Saturday.
Curry, 6-3, 196, 4.6 seconds in the 40 yard dash, of Stafford, Texas, also has scholarship offers from Oklahoma, Florida State, Auburn, Georgia, Miami, Baylor and others.
"I was really impressed with Arkansas," Curry said. "The facility, academic center and also the coaches were amazing. I really enjoyed my visit."
Like a lot of out-of-state prospects, Curry said he had visions of Arkansas being mostly farm land with chickens and cows.
"Thinking of Arkansas, you don't think there's much there. But there's way more to it," Curry said.
Curry also said his relationship with Arkansas receivers coach Michael Smith gives the Hogs a solid shot at him.
"He has a great personality," he said. "We can really relate because he's been to the place I'm trying to go to. So he can really help me try and achieve my goals."
Boomer, 6-6, 230, of Collinsville, Okla., has additional offers from Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Iowa State, Texas Tech and others. He was able to learn how much his position is used at Arkansas after meeting with tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr.
"He showed me how they use the tight end position," Boomer said. "There's always like two tight ends on the field, which is awesome."
Seeing former Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry winning the Mackey Award in 2015 and Jeremy Sprinkle, another former Hog tight end, expected to be drafted in the upcoming NFL Draft, are also positives, Boomer said.
"Obviously, Coach Lunney knows what he's doing with those guys," he said.
T.J. Cleveland, an assistant coach for Arkansas' men's basketball team, is in steady contact with junior point guard Mark Freeman, who played in the Real Deal in the Rock tournament last weekend.
"He stays in touch, so he's good to me," Freeman said. "He calls me every week. He keeps in touch. That's important to me."
Freeman, 5-10, 155, of Memphis Southwind High School, played for M33M during the weekend. He has scholarship offers from Tennessee-Martin and East Tennessee State, while Bradley appears close to joining the list.
He said he's fond of Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson's slogan of the fastest 40 minutes.
"It means get up and down the court and let their guards go," he said. "Full-court defense. I just like the game being fast."
M33M president Ernie Kuyper said he is very high on Freeman's ability.
"He's one of the quickest point guards I've seen in a long time," Kuyper said. "I obviously believe he's the best point guard in the city of Memphis and the surrounding area, hands down."
Kuyper also said he expects Freeman to add numerous offers to his list after college coaches see him this spring and summer.
"I think he can play at any level, there's no doubt about it," Kuyper said. "I've been doing this for a long time and he's one of the best point guards I've ever seen come through M33M for sure."
In addition to uptempo style of play, Freeman said he likes how Arkansas uses guards.
"It's a guard school, so I like it a lot," Freeman said.
In addition to Arkansas, Freeman said Florida and Memphis also are showing strong interest.
E-mail Richard Davenport at
Sports on 04/04/2017
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