The Recruiting Guy

Florida RB likes Miami connection with Smith

Arkansas running backs coach Jimmy Smith is shown during practice Aug. 6, 2021, in Fayetteville.

One of the nation's top junior prospects cherishes his relationship with University of Arkansas running backs coach Jimmy Smith and is planning to make an official visit to Fayetteville.

ESPN 4-star running back Javin Simpkins, 5-9, 177 pounds, of Miami Norland said he and Smith have developed a "real tight bond."

"I'm really interested in Arkansas, and the program, and the program they're building," Simpkins said. "If things go the way he [Smith] wants it, I might be a Razorback."

He has scholarship offers from Arkansas, Texas, Louisville, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Central Florida, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Indiana and others. Simpkins said Arkansas is one of his top schools.

"I'll be putting out a top seven real soon and they're already in that top five," Simpkins said.

ESPN also rates Simpkins the No. 8 running back and the No. 143 overall prospect in the nation for the 2023 class. Smith is no stranger to Miami. He has numerous family members and friends in the area, while his wife Quanisha is also from Miami.

Simpkins said Smith's ties to his hometown helps them connect.

"He's from down here for one," Simpkins said. "The fact he's from down here he understands how it is. The relationship we've built and how we connect and the stuff we have in common, it feels real good."

Smith is sincere in the way he approaches the relationship with Simpkins.

"To me, he's not forcing the relationship," Simpkins said. "It's a real genuine thing. Like he's not just trying to be nice to me or talk cool to me, so I'll go to the school. He's trying to really set me up for life and that's one thing that stands out."

Simpkins said Smith along with Texas running backs coach Tashard Choice and Louisville running backs coach De'Rail Sims have forged similar bonds with him.

"They're not just trying to get me to come to their program, they're building a genuine bond," Simpkins said. "That means a lot to me."

He's working on working out the details for an official visit to Arkansas.

"I'm going to try and do it sometime in June," Simpkins said. "I'm going to take two in June and like take two during the season and go to a game or two."

Simpkins missed four games due to injury but still rushed 49 times for 512 yards, 3 touchdowns while having 11 catches for 115 yards and 3 touchdowns as a junior. He had 1,124 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore.

His speed, burst, elusiveness and ability to create mismatches have the Hogs looking at him lining up in the slot, too.

"They want to utilize me as a running back and a part of my game is I can be used at the slot as well," he said. "Basically, I don't have to come off the field."

Simpkins has a 3.2 grade-point average and is considering business as a major because his father is a businessman. He's also looking at sports medicine.

"If I don't make it to the NFL, I'll have something to fall back on," he said.

Several factors will go into his college decision.

"The school that makes me feel like home," Simpkins said. "The school I get on the field the fastest. I really want to go to a place that I'm going to enjoy and feel comfortable playing at. That's why I like building the bonds with the coaches because I don't want to go somewhere with somebody I really don't know."

Simpkins is in no hurry make a decision after reopening his recruiting on Dec. 12 after being committed to Georgia Tech earlier in the year.

"I just decommitted from Georgia Tech, so I've talked with my coaches and my parents and they were like don't commit again, enjoy the recruiting process and make a decision on signing day," Simpkins said.