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:
Former commitments open to Hogs if coaches retained
An Arkansas football helmet sits on the sideline during a game between the Razorbacks and Mississippi State on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, in Fayetteville.
At least two former Arkansas commitments are open to possibly coming back on board if the coaches that recruited them are retained by the Razorbacks' next head coach.
Tight end Allen Horace announced his plans to reopen his recruitment Monday after the firing of Chad Morris as Arkansas’ coach. Horrace had been committed to the Razorbacks since April.
Horace, 6-5, 242 pounds of Crockett, Texas, was recruited by Barry Lunney Jr. and running backs coach Jeff Traylor when he chose Arkansas over offers from Nebraska, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Lunney was promoted to interim head coach Sunday.
Horrace said retaining Lunney and Traylor would help Arkansas’ efforts to sign him.
“Coach Lunney is one of the realest coaches I know,” Horace said. “I loved being in that tight end room. I mean my brother even loves those guys. Coach Traylor is just like being at home and another coach I definitely connected with, and I know both of those guys can get players to play for them. I definitely go to bat for both of them. They’re as solid as they come.”
Lunney played quarterback for the Razorbacks from 1992-95 and led Arkansas to the SEC West championship in 1995.
Lunney recruited and coached Hunter Henry, the 2015 Mackey Award winner at Arkansas who now plays for the Los Angeles Chargers. He also tutored Washington Redskins tight end Jeremy Sprinkle and AJ Derby, who played in the NFL.
Athlete Kelvontay Dixon, who committed to Arkansas in July, also announced his plans to reopen his recruitment Monday.
He said keeping Traylor on the Arkansas staff might convince him to be a Razorback.
“It would help me to keep my decision,” Dixon said.
Dixon, 6-0, 173 pounds, of Carthage, Texas, is an ESPN 4-star prospect who has scholarship offers from Arkansas, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Baylor, Oklahoma State, TCU and others.
Traylor, who also recruited running back Rakeem Boyd, started his coaching career in East Texas at Big Sandy, Jacksonville and Gilmer, where he had a 175-26 record, won three state championships and had two state runner-up finishes.
Notable former Razorbacks from East Texas include 1966 Outland Trophy winner Loyd Phillips, All-Pro offensive tackle Jason Peters, All-SEC running back Fred Talley, All-SEC safety Kenoy Kennedy and many others.
Traylor has reopened the pipeline into the area. The Hogs signed two prospects from East Texas in the 2019 class, and had five commitments, including Allen and Dixon, from the area for the 2020 class before losing took a toll and prospects reopened their recruitment.
Dixon said Traylor is relatable because of his honesty.
“He’s a good coach and he keeps it real,” Dixon said. “He lets you know what it is and what it isn’t.”
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