Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
Hazen's Toll includes Arkansas in his top 5
Junction City linebacker Tanner Barnett (47) and defensive end Kyle Kidwell (48) tackle Hazen quarterback Blayne Toll (10) during the first quarter of Junction City's 36-22 win in the Class 2A state championship game on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Hazen defensive end Blayne Toll narrowed his more than 20 scholarship offers down to five schools on Thursday.
"It's just the top five for right now," Toll said. "It's still kind of early, so I wanted to get something out there."
Toll, 6-6, 244 pounds, announced the University of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Memphis, Tennessee and Ole Miss as his top five on Twitter, but it wasn't without difficulty.
"It's hard looking at all of the options and all of the different schemes and what's best for you," Toll said. "It's just hard looking at everything all at one time."
ESPN rates Toll a four-star, the No. 23 athlete and the No. 268 overall prospect in the nation for the 2020 class. He explained reasons for including Arkansas on his list.
"It's my home state, I've liked Arkansas for a long time," said Toll, who has visited Arkansas several times and whose lead recruiter is cornerbacks coach Mark Smith. "We talk about playing D-end, and it's just real appealing. I talk to pretty much everybody on the staff."
Toll, who received an offer from the Hogs on Jan. 21, wished the Razorbacks would've have offered him earlier in the process, but appreciates many on the staff communicating with him.
"Well it just kind of shows they care," Toll said. "Anytime any school talks to you period, but it's just different from Arkansas since they took awhile to reach out to me, and now everybody is talking to me from up there, so just means a lot."
He and his parents, George and Tabatha, visited Oklahoma on April 11.
"It's just a powerhouse school, and they're losing a lot of D-linemen, losing a lot of D-ends," said Toll, who received an offer from the Sooners during his April trip. "I really like the coaching staff, too."
Memphis was the first major college to extend an offer to Toll on March 29, 2018. He has a good vibe when he visits the Tigers.
"I don't know, it's just a different feeling over there," Toll said. "I know they're a smaller school, but it's different atmosphere than a lot of places I've been to. It's just the way the coaches make you feel. It just seems like family over there."
Toll likes Tennessee's depth chart and the chances for early playing time.
"They don't have many D-linemen," said Toll, who received an offer from the Volunteers on Jan. 18. "They talk about me being able to play real soon."
The Rebels extended an offer to Toll on Jan. 22.
"Same thing about being able to play real soon and the coaching staff is really nice," Toll said of Ole Miss. "They make you feel at home when you're there."
While early playing time will be important in deciding where he'll attend college, Toll also desires a family atmosphere.
"It needs to feel like family,"he said. "A very uplifting atmosphere is what I'm trying today."
During The Opening Regional in Dallas in March, Toll recorded an electronic 4.88 seconds in the 40-yard dash, a 31.3-inch vertical, as well as 4.53 seconds in the shuttle and a power ball throw of 41 feet. His rating of 102.15 was the second best for defensive linemen at the event.
Toll, who won't turn 17 until Dec. 11, bench pressed a stunning 410 pounds on April 3. He said the lift was a byproduct of years of hard work.
"It's just days and days in the weight room," Toll said. "That's what we do in Hazen. It's our coach's philosophy that we just lift all the time. I wanted to get over 400 before I left high school."
His college decision will likely come before his first game of his senior season.
"That's what Mom wants me to do, so that's probably what will happen," Toll said.
E-mail Richard Davenport at email@example.com
Sports on 05/07/2019
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