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.
The Recruiting Guy:
Bond with Stepp helps UA with WR
Justin Stepp, Arkansas wide receivers coach, huddles with players in a timeout Saturday, April 6, 2019, during the Arkansas Red-White game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Relationships play a big role in recruiting, and receiver Roderick Daniels included the University of Arkansas in his top 10 because of his relationship with receivers coach Justin Stepp.
"I talk to coach Stepp a lot, and he just makes everything feel like home," Daniels said. "He's a good dude."
Roderick Daniels highlights
Daniels, 5-9, 170 pounds, of Duncanville, Texas, narrowed his list of 24 scholarship offers to Arkansas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Arizona State, TCU, Kansas, Missouri, SMU, Colorado and Minnesota on Sunday.
He said he talks to Stepp more than other coaches.
"I talk to coach Stepp on almost a daily basis," Daniels said. "Sometimes we talk, sometimes we FaceTime. Sometimes we just talk about stuff other than football. Just have man-to-man conversations."
Stepp's reputation as a recruiter is often highlighted by prospects commenting on his ability to relate.
"I don't know, there is just something about him," Daniels said. "It's just the person he is. That's just who he is. He's a good person. He's a good dude. He just makes you feel like family ... and not just try and make it all about football. He just knows he can make you be a better person on and off the field."
Daniels had 47 receptions for 749 yards and 7 touchdowns during his junior season. He also had 34 carries for 557 and 6 touchdowns to earn District 8-6A Offensive MVP accolades.
He said he also gets good vibes from Coach Sam Pittman and offensive coordinator Kendal Briles.
"It just feels like a family," Daniels said. "I just know I can go make a big impact, a big difference for the team."
He planned to make Arkansas his first visit during his school's spring break in March, but he had to cancel when the NCAA enacted a dead period because of the coronavirus pandemic. He also had plans to make a trip to Colorado.
Daniels reports recording 10.89 seconds in the 100 meters. He also runs a leg on the 400-meter and 800-meter relay teams in high school.
His speed stands out on film.
"I make people miss and score points," Daniels said. "Really making big plays out of small plays."
CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming visited Duncanville earlier this year.
"He's small but explosive," Lemming said. "Perfectly suited as a wingback. Super quick, very athletic. Creates a lot of space after the catch. Dynamic type. Right now, three-star-plus with four-star potential."
Daniels expected to add offers during the spring evaluation period for college coaches from April 15 to May 31, but the NCAA has extended the dead period to May 31.
"I know I would've had more opportunities in the spring because a lot of coaches said they were going to come by and see me play this spring," he said.
His original plan was to make visits in the spring and a decision during the summer.
"But now, I'm probably going to have to wait until the middle or towards the end of the season or signing day," he said.
Email Richard Davenport at [email protected]
Sports on 04/07/2020
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