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.
Recruits up in air on next moves
An Arkansas football is shown on the field prior to a game against Kentucky on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Lexington, Ky.
Some college football prospects are having to adjust their plans because of the coronavirus since it is forcing the now-juniors to cancel visits and possibly delay their college decisions.
University of Arkansas offensive line target Cole Carson, 6-6, 285 pounds, of Bogata (Texas) Rivercrest was able to visit Fayetteville on March 7 before the NCAA announced a dead period for recruiting six days afterward that originally was until March 30, but has since been extended to April 15.
He had to cancel a visit to Louisiana-Monroe and was hoping to make a return trip to Fayetteville on March 14 or this weekend.
"I was hoping to make it to Arkansas before then, but we will have to go with the flow," Carson said.
Arkansas was his first SEC offer on Feb. 20. Auburn, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss soon followed along with Baylor. He has other offers from Southern Miss, Texas-San Antonio, Louisiana-Monroe and others.
Carson, who named Arkansas as his top school after his visit, is disappointed with the dead period.
"I really wanted to make some visits, but I reckon I can't now," he said.
If the dead period is extended beyond April 15, he'll adjust accordingly.
"I guess we will deal with that when it comes along, but if it doesn't I suppose I'll get out and do what I can when I can," Carson said.
The delay in visiting schools will probably push back his college decision.
"It more than likely will," Carson said.
Running back Caleb Berry, who also visited the Hogs on March 7, said the dead period has complicated things for him.
"It's pushing back my decision and it's affecting me looking for schools and visiting," Berry said.
Berry, 6-2, 202 pounds, of Lufkin, Texas, has scholarship offers from Arkansas, Nebraska, Houston, Hawaii, Louisiana Tech and others. He started to worry after first hearing of the dead period.
"I was like I hope this doesn't affect my grind, because it's been rough to get to where I'm at," Berry said.
ESPN 4-star offensive lineman Jared Wilson has canceled visits to Georgia and Ohio State because of the dead period. Despite those, he's taking it in stride.
"It hasn't really played an impact on my recruitment," Wilson said.
ESPN also rates Wilson the No. 9 offensive guard and the No. 228 overall prospect in the 2021 class. He committed to Georgia when Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman was in Athens. He has since reopened his recruiting.
He did say an extension of the dead period could impact his recruiting.
"If it extends into May, yes possibly," he said.
Wilson, 6-4, 335 pounds, of Clemmons (N.C.) West Forsyth has scholarship offers from Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina, South Carolina and others.
Wilson, who may delay his college decision, talked to Pittman about a trip to Fayetteville after the dead period is over.
"I was talking to my mother earlier on possible making a decision, and I said maybe early June, and that was before all this happened," Wilson said. "We were going to see some coaches coach, but now I can't see anyone coach. But God always has a way, and it will work out."
Offensive lineman Devon Manuel has felt the impact of the dead period by canceling visits to LSU, Baylor and Central Florida. He visited the Hogs on March 7 and left with a scholarship offer.
Manuel, 6-8, 315 pounds, of Arnaudville (La.) Beau Chene also has offers from Tulane, Kansas, Iowa State, South Alabama, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Grambling State and others.
He described what went through his mind when he heard about the dead period.
"Just that I was gonna be missing out on a lot of opportunities," he said.
He said he was planning to bring his mother to Arkansas for the since-canceled spring game on April 25 and that the dead period won't impact his college decision.
"Still gonna decide next year," Manuel said.
Sports on 03/21/2020
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