Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He appears weekly on The Red Zone w/ JB on 92.1 FM Fayetteville, The Morning Rush w/ Tye & Tommy on 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home, 99.5 FM in Fayetteville and The Zone w/ Justin & Wess on 103.7 FM in Little Rock.
The Recruiting Guy:
2 Arkansas defensive targets and families impressed with Zoom visits
Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman looks on, Saturday, December 12, 2020 during the second quarter of a football game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. Check out nwaonline.com/201213Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
Two key Arkansas defensive targets enjoyed virtual visits with the Razorbacks' staff on Saturday.
Defensive end Curlee Thomas IV and cornerback Toriano Pride Jr. and their families came away impressed.
“I was a pretty good tour,” said Thomas, who was joined on the Zoom by his parents. “The love the fan base has for the team is amazing. With the state of Arkansas not having any pro teams they really pour themselves into the Hogs. It’s a fan base like no other.”
Thomas, 6-4, 240 pounds, of Fort Worth (Texas) Nolan Catholic, was born in Pine Bluff and moved to Texas at 3 years old. He has more than 20 scholarship offers from schools such as Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Arizona, California and Syracuse.
Coach Sam Pittman stressed how much the Razorbacks want him.
“Told me that he needed me,” Thomas said. “That was a pretty special feeling. Said with my size, speed and length that I would be a player that never comes off the field. You hear position coaches at schools say that, but it feels good to see a head coach show you that type of respect.”
He also spoke with former Razorback and current defensive graduate assistant Brandon Lewis.
“Great guy. Felt very real and authentic,” Thomas said. “Good to talk to a coach who has been where you are going.”
National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network rates Thomas a three-star prospect. He was impressed with the strength and conditioning presentation.
“Very knowledgeable staff,” Thomas said. “Being developed further is important to me.”
Pride’s father said they talked to Pittman, defensive coordinator Barry Odom and cornerbacks coach Sam Carter.
“It went really well,” Pride Sr. said. “Today was the first time his mom was available to see the school.”
She was pleased with the virtual visit.
“She loved it,” Pride Sr. said. “She really loved Coach Carter and Coach Pittman.”
Pride, 5-11, 179 pounds, of St. Louis Lutheran North, has more than 30 scholarship offers from schools such as Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Oklahoma, Florida State, Missouri, Ohio State, Oregon and others. Lemming rates him a four-star-plus recruit.
Pride and his son visited Fayetteville last year on Feb. 1.
“It was really good just seeing the facilities and coaches again,” Pride Sr. said.
A recent report indicated the NCAA dead period might be lifted after April 15. If so, Pride Sr. said they will visit again.
“We talked about that as well. Hopefully they don’t keep pushing it back,” he added.
Several other prospects confirmed virtual visits with the Razorbacks on Saturday. Running backs Rashod Dubinion of Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove and Jaylon Glover of Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson said they visited with the coaches – as did defensive back Anthony Brown of Milan, Tenn.
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