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:
Hogs hoping for return visit from offensive lineman Penei Sewell
Arkansas offensive line coach Kurt Anderson talks to Dan Skipper and Frank Ragnow during a game against Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in Fayetteville.
BEAVERTON, Ore. — Arkansas impressed highly recruited offensive lineman Penei Sewell when he visited Fayetteville in May, and a return trip is a possibility.
“It was a good visit; I got to meet all of the coaches,” said Sewell, who was accompanied by his brother Noah, a highly regarded sophomore linebacker; and father, Gabriel. “I would say they’re probably up there. I have to talk to my family pretty soon to narrow down the list.”
Sewell, 6-4, 320 pounds, of St. George (Utah) Desert Hills, has been one of the better linemen during the three-day The Opening event at Nike Headquarters. ESPN rates him the No. 7 offensive guard and No. 148 overall prospect in the nation.
ESPN recruiting coordinator Craig Haubert said there’s a lot to like about Sewell.
“Every time I‘ve seen him; he’s a massive individual,” Haubert said. “It’s one thing to be big, but he’s got good feet, too. He shows really good balance. I think the little things like his hand placement will take him a long ways, but he’s been impressive so far. He’s a big guy that moves well and hasn’t disappointed every time I’ve seen him.”
Sewell was non-committable about taking an official visit to Arkansas.
“It’s kind of hard to say right now; I’m kind of just focusing on the event right now,” he said.
He was pleasantly surprised by his comfort level with the Razorback coaches.
“I got to meet with head coach and just kind of chilling with him,” Sewell said. “So getting to meet with all of the coaches surprised me. When I was down there I got to get really personal with them. I got to see how they do and how the lifestyle is around there.”
Being very family oriented, Sewell liked seeing offensive line coach Kurt Anderson and his two sons, Hawken and Torin.
“They definitely had a family atmosphere,” Sewell said. “Coach Anderson had his kids over just having fun.”
He was impressed with Coach Bret Bielema’s demeanor and size.
“He’s kind of a straightforward guy,” Sewell said. “He’s big; he’s a pretty big dude. Just that first impression … he’s pretty big.”
Sewell is hoping to narrow his list of schools soon.
“Hopefully before the season, but I don’t know when, but hopefully sometime soon,” Sewell said.
Football runs in the family. An uncle, Isa'ako Sopoago, was a defensive lineman and played 11 seasons in the NFL while another uncle, Richard Brown, played linebacker for nine seasons in the league.
Older brother Gabriel Sewell Jr. plays at linebacker at Nevada while Nephi, another brother, is a freshman defensive back there.
Sewell claims no leader but is very fond of the Wolf Pack where his brothers are.
“Not really, probably just Nevada,” Sewell said.
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