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:
DE's recruitment to heat up at UA cookout
Arkansas running backs coach Jeff Traylor throws a football during warmups prior to the Razorbacks' game against Mississippi State on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, in Starkville, Miss.
Landon Jackson, one of the nation's top junior defensive ends, plans to attend the University of Arkansas' Fall Kickoff Cookout on Friday.
The visit will be his first since seeing Fayetteville in March.
Landon Jackson highlights
"I haven't been there in quite awhile, and I just want to go back and see how it all is again," he said.
Jackson, 6-6, 235 pounds, of Texarkana (Texas) Pleasant Grove has 23 scholarship offers, but he narrowed his list to Arkansas, Alabama, Texas, Texas A&M, LSU, Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Washington on July 5.
His relationship with associate head coach and running backs coach Jeff Traylor is strong. Traylor is well known and popular in east Texas, where he began his coaching career in the high school ranks.
He had a 175-26 record with three state championships and two runner-up finishes while at Gilmer.
"Back before he went into college coaching, he coached at Gilmer and our families have always been close," Jackson said. "He and my stepdad are pretty close. My stepdad was the branch manager of an insurance company in Gilmer, and he had insurance with Coach Traylor. They've been pretty cool since then."
His stepfather, Brandon Peek, thinks highly of Traylor.
"He thinks he's a great guy and likes everything about him," Jackson said.
Jackson is looking to build on his relationship with Coach Chad Morris and other coaches during the trip.
CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming rates Jackson a four-star-plus prospect.
"Big-time ballplayer, great length, long arms, quick hands and feet," Lemming said. "Explosive with great production."
Jackson had 56 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 9 sacks before suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury late in his sophomore season.
He led his team to a 16-0 record and a 4A DII state championship with 98 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 23 quarterback hurries, 3 forced fumbles, an interception and 6 pass breakups as a freshman. He also was named the District 7-4A-II Defensive Newcomer of the Year.
Narrowing his list to 10 schools has allowed Jackson to hone his focus.
"It really did because now these are the schools I'm focusing on, and I'm not really worried about any other schools," said Jackson, whose 6-8 father, Larry, played college basketball for the Aggies for two years and professionally for five years. "I can focus on these and get to know more about the schools I'm interested in.
"In all honesty, I'm just wasting the coaches time when I'm not really that interested in a school. He can actually recruit someone that wants to go there."
Jackson's mother Katie is very fond of the Razorbacks.
"She's really high on Arkansas because we have a bunch of family that lives in Bentonville, and she likes it up there," Jackson said.
His family members in Northwest Arkansas want him to be a Hog, but they're not pushing him.
"They're all big on the Razorbacks, but they all said just go where you think fits you best," Jackson said. "They said they'll always be there for me if I did end up going to Arkansas."
Jackson likely will wait awhile before reducing his list further.
"I'm probably going to narrow down to five probably around March or April this coming school year," he said.
Last year's July cookout saw 10 of the approximately 60 visiting prospects eventually sign with Arkansas for the 2019 class.
Email Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sports on 07/23/2019
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