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.
Hogs O-line coach stays after St. John
Brad Davis has spent five seasons coaching offensive line in the SEC, most recently for two years at Missouri.
University of Arkansas offensive line coach Brad Davis has the trust of Jalen St. John, and that has the Hogs in good position to possibly land the highly regarded prospect.
St. John, 6-5, 320 pounds, of St. Louis Trinity Catholic, committed to Davis and Missouri in July of last summer over scholarship offers from Tennessee, Auburn, Nebraska, Illinois, Auburn, Indiana, Kansas State, Ole Miss and others.
Jalen St. John highlights
"As soon as I came up to Mizzou, Coach Davis and I clicked," the offensive lineman said. "He never told me any lies. He never put any negative energy out there."
He reopened his recruiting Dec. 1 after the firing of current Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom as Missouri's coach. He officially visited Mississippi State and former coach Joe Moorhead in December.
Davis and Coach Sam Pittman extended a scholarship offer to St. John on Dec. 12. He plans to officially visit the Hogs on Jan. 17-19.
"Coach Pittman texts me like every other day, literally every other day," said St. John, who had contact with Pittman at Georgia.
"He'll be, 'I can't want to get you up for the official.' Just good conversations with him."
Pittman coached Davis at Oklahoma in 1997-98, and Davis served as an offensive line graduate assistant under Pittman at North Carolina in 2008.
"He [Pittman] and Coach Davis told me a lot of their stories," St. John said. "Coach Davis said he's like his pops. He kept it real to Coach Davis throughout the whole process. He got Coach Davis into the coaching profession."
Like Davis, St. John said Pittman is upfront with him.
"He's a real cool dude," St. John said. "He keeps it real. I understand where he's coming from."
CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming rates St. John a 3-star plus recruit.
"Jalen shows unique footwork, good technique and explosiveness off the ball along with terrific athleticism," Lemming said. "He can play guard, tackle and probably even center on the next level."
St. John detailed what he wants to experience on the Arkansas visit.
"Just see what Fayetteville has to offer," St. John said. "Will it be a place where I can feel comfortable for the next three to four years."
Davis' relentless recruiting was evident when St. John thought Illinois might be his destination, but Davis didn't take no for an answer.
"I told Coach Davis to stop recruiting me, and he called my pops and was like, 'Why do I need to stop recruiting him?' " St. John said. "Then he kept recruiting me, so I know he wasn't just there just to be there. I trust Coach Davis."
St. John also plans to officially visit Florida State on Jan. 31 and is deciding from Auburn, Michigan or Tennessee for a Jan. 24 visit. He'll announce his college decision on national signing day Feb. 5.
"It's all going to depend on the officials and see if I'll feel comfortable," St. John said.
He admits a commitment to the Razorbacks is possible during his visit.
"It's possibility, but I won't put it out there until signing day," St. John said.
St. John has a 3.0 grade-point average and is considering sports management or communication as a major. After growing up watching former NFL superstar Ray Lewis in broadcasting, he also hopes to be on TV one day.
"I think this is something I could actually do and it's not hard, it's just talking," St. John said.
Email Richard Davenport at [email protected]
Sports on 01/10/2020
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.