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:
Receiver target flashes SEC speed
University of Arkansas receiver target CJ Smith has shown the SEC speed the Hogs crave at his position by putting up impressive times in the 100 and 200 meters without a challenge.
Smith recorded 10.59 seconds in the 100 two weeks and 10.52 seconds on Thursday while winning both heats. The second-place runner ran 11.05 seconds the first time and 10.80 on Thursday.
“As of right now, I really haven’t had a meet that has really pushed me,” Smith said of his high school track and field season. “Going into districts and regionals, I’m hoping I can have at least one or two people who can kind of give me that extra boost.”
Smith, 6-3, 180 pounds, of Orlando (Fla.) Bishop Moore Catholic announced a top 10 of Arkansas, Florida State, Florida, South Carolina, West Virginia, Michigan, Auburn, Iowa State, Central Florida and Tennessee on Tuesday.
He recorded 21.48 seconds in the 200 last week while the second-place finisher clocked 21.94.
He’s confident he can lower his times with a better start.
“I’m always one of the last people to get out, so I think once I fix it, the sky is the limit,” said Smith, who has a best of 21.32 in the 200.
Smith, who also wants to run track in college, explained why the Razorbacks made his list of top schools.
“I’ve really had a strong relationship to all the coaches that have reached out to me,” Smith said. “They showed me how they can use me. How I would benefit them. I believe that relationship goes a long way.”
His main communication is with special teams coordinator Scott Fountain and receivers coach Kenny Guiton. He detailed why his relationship with Fountain and Guiton is so solid.
“Just the honesty. I really connect with them,” he said.
National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network rates Smith a 3-star-plus prospect. Arkansas hosted Smith and his parents for a virtual visit.
“They loved it,” Smith said about his parents. “They knew they are advanced, but they didn’t know they had all this fancy stuff. They were very shocked, but they were very happy. Especially with the coaches.”
The coaches gave his father St. Francis and mother Elle comfort in knowing he would be well taken care of if he decided to become a Razorback.
“As my mom and dad said, they need to feel comfortable dropping me off somewhere and not have to worry about me, and they said they really get that feel from the coaches,” Smith said.
Smith, who had 23 receptions for 361 yards and 4 touchdowns as a junior, plans to officially visit Fayetteville on June 4 if the NCAA lifts the dead period after May 31 as expected. He has three other official visits planned.
“The following week I have South Carolina, the week after that I have Florida, and the week after that I have Auburn,” he said.
His fifth and final official visit is undecided.
“I’m still waiting on a fifth one,” said Smith, who plans to make his college decision in mid-August. “I’m still sorting it out.”
Smith is looking to study sports medicine in college.
“Maybe a physical therapist or kind of open up my own training facility,” he said.
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.