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:
Texas OL has his share of Arkansas fans
One of the nation’s top football prospects will spend his Thanksgiving with family in Northwest Arkansas before attending the University of Arkansas’ game against Missouri the next day.
Junior offensive lineman Markis Deal, 6-6, 295 pounds, of Garland (Texas) Naaman Forest, has more than 20 scholarship offers from the University of Arkansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Michigan, Colorado, Michigan State and others.
His mother’s side of the family lives in the Natural State and a large portion are in Northwest Arkansas. He and his parents plan to arrive in the area on Wednesday and leave Sunday morning.
Deal’s aunt, Samantha Mosher, lives in Bentonville and is the most rabid Razorback fan in the family. His uncle and aunt, Jason and Sarah Borg also live in Bentonville, while his grandmother, Joan Casazza, lives in Bella Vista.
“They understand it’s my choice,” Deal said of his college decision. “They just play around with it now. They tell me like we’ll be here for your games.”
ESPN rates Deal a 4-star prospect, the No. 15 offensive tackle and No. 166 overall prospect in the nation for the 2023 class.
He’s looking forward to soaking in Arkansas’ game atmosphere.
“Talk to the coaching staff and maybe talk to some of the players and learn some things and hoping they come out with a big game,” Deal said.
Deal communicates with Coach Sam Pittman, offensive line coach Cody Kennedy and graduate assistant Ryan Yurachek.
“Usually it’s like quick conversations, like how I’m doing?” Deal said. “How they’re doing. Every once in a while we’ll have an in-depth conversation like the plays they run and how they do their offensive schemes and other stuff. Just getting me ready for it.”
Before Pittman and the staff arrived in Fayetteville, the Razorbacks complied a 8-28 overall record and went 1-23 in SEC play. Arkansas won three SEC games last year and are 7-4 after Saturday’s loss at Alabama.
Deal admits to being surprised to see the Hogs beat Texas, Texas A&M and others this season.
“It was a little surprising at first,” Deal said. “I wasn’t expecting to see such a top contending team, but after I realized how good they were. They just get after it.”
His father Michael Deal is the defensive line coach at Naaman Forest and played on the defensive and offensive lines for Texas-El Paso in 1995-98. His mother Nicki played volleyball and basketball for the Miners. His older brother Devean Deal is a freshman defensive lineman at Tulane.
He’s been busy visiting schools this fall and has made trips to Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, TCU and SMU while also attending the Hogs’ 20-10 victory over A&M.
Deal has experienced the storming of the field twice when visiting for A&M’s upset win over Alabama and Baylor’s upset of Oklahoma.
“It was pretty crazy with all the fans being in there and all the players walking around,” Deal said. “Seeing that that’s what you want when you’re playing. All the fans come out. It’s amazing to see that.”
He also plays basketball and had his first game on Tuesday when the Rangers defeated Dallas Adams 84-56. He finished with nine points and several rebounds.
Deal said he usually drops about 15 pounds during basketball season which helps him being able to play both ways in football.
His hardwood teammates aren’t always fond of banging with Deal.
“They hate rebound drills in practice,” Deal said.
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