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:
Alabama RB happy about SEC offer
Jimmy Smith, an assistant coach with the University of Arkansas football team, speaks with members of the media Thursday, February 6, 2020, inside the Fred W. Smith Football Center on the campus in Fayetteville. Ten football assistants participated in the interview process. Check out nwaonline.com/200207Daily/ and nwadg.com/photos for a photo gallery.
When University of Arkansas running backs coach Jimmy Smith extended a scholarship offer to running back Kenji Christian, he gave Christian an opportunity to fulfill his dream.
Christian, 6-2, 194 pounds, of Pinson Valley High School in Alabama received the offer from Arkansas on Feb. 11 to go along with others from Duke, Kansas, Southern Mississippi, Kansas State, Alabama-Birmingham, Western Kentucky and others.
Kenji Christian highlights
He's in the process of learning about Arkansas.
"I don't know much about them, but my dream is to play SEC football," Christian said.
Tennessee followed up with another SEC offer two days after the Hogs.
Christian missed the first four games of his junior season because of a high ankle sprain, but he came back strong and rushed for 787 yards and 12 touchdowns while having 4 catches for 134 yards.
He's open minded about his recruitment, but after being surprised by the offer from Smith, the Razorbacks have his attention.
"They are in the SEC. I don't have a level of interest, but they are definitely on my list," Christian said. "because it's an SEC school, and the SEC is where I want to play in the future."
He wants to visit Fayetteville in the near future, and he's eager to meet Smith.
"He sounds like a good man," Christian said. "I'm looking forward to meeting him and learning more about him."
Christian shows excellent speed and power on his highlight video while also having the ability to make quick cuts without breaking stride.
"I describe myself as a power back. I like to run behind my pads, but I can also run," he said. "I run a 4.5, so I got speed, too. So basically, I got speed and power."
The heating, ventilation and air-conditioning class at his school has Christian interested in majoring in mechanical engineering.
Christian is looking to make an instant impact on the next level.
"I just want to start as a freshman and play," he said.
In the past, schools such as Arkansas and others would host underclassmen on unofficial visits shortly after national signing day in February, but not so this year.
The NCAA enacted a dead period for the entire month of February this year. A dead period forbids in-person contact with a prospect on or off campus, thus not allowing prospects to visit during the month.
March 1 starts a quiet period that allows prospects to visit college campuses. Expect the Hogs to host recruits on March 7. Schools can begin hosting junior prospects on official visits April 1 into June.
Official visits for recruits are expense-paid trips by schools. Prospects and their families pick up the tab for unofficial visits.
Email Richard Davenport at [email protected]
Sports on 02/18/2020
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