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:
Linemen focused on weekend
Arkansas offensive line coach Cody Kennedy is shown prior to a game against Alabama on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
University of Arkansas offensive line coach Cody Kennedy will welcome a couple of Class of 2023 line targets for Saturday’s open practice.
Highly recruited Luke Brown and Connor Stroh will be making their second and third trips respectively to Fayetteville this weekend.
Brown, 6-6, 312 pounds of Paris (Tenn.) Henry County visited the Hogs on March 5 and left with a scholarship offer. He currently holds 28 offers from others like Georgia, Auburn Louisville, Ole Miss, Florida State, Tennessee and Mississippi State.
He was impressed that he spent so much time with Coach Sam Pittman and Kennedy despite the Razorbacks hosting numerous other recruits.
“I spent the first hour there one-on-one with Coach Kennedy and Coach Pittman,” Brown said. “Really getting a feel for them and what their plans are for the future of Arkansas. That really stood out to me the most.”
Seeing the fans support the baseball Hogs against Southeastern Louisiana on the day of his visit also stood out.
“Just the whole feel of being up in that area and the amount of support people have for the school,” Brown said.
ESPN rates him a 4-star recruit, the No.18 offensive tackle and No. 219 overall prospect in the nation.
Brown’s team runs about 80% of the time, and seeing how the Hogs led Power 5 schools in rushing last year makes the Hogs a possible fit.
“Arkansas has always traditionally played a physical brand of football,” Brown said. “That’s what we do here at my hometown at my school, and I think I could fit in with what they do just fine.”
Playing with a nasty streak and an edge are essential to success on the offensive line and Brown has that.
“It takes a different type of person to play on the offensive line,” he said. “You can’t want all the fame and all that other stuff. All the flashiness. You get down and do all the dirty work.”
Brown also excels in the classroom with a 3.94 grade-point average which ranks him 35th out of 330 students in his class. He wants to eventually work at his high school when he is done playing.
“I really want to come back here and coach here after I’m done playing because we have a lot of former players here on staff,” Brown said.
He gave a rundown on a possible time frame for his college decision.
“Depending on how these next few days are this weekend and a couple of other visits I already have some officials set for this summer, but I feel like my commitment will be coming sooner rather than later,” Brown said. “Possibly even in May. I think whenever I feel it’s right I’ll know it and that’s when I’ll make my decision.”
Brown has an official visit set for Vanderbilt during the first week of June and Missouri for the last week of June. He might set up a visit to Fayetteville during Saturday’s visit.
“I think I might schedule an official this weekend,” he said. “Who knows? I might not even need the official after what happens this weekend.”
Stroh, 6-7, 355 of Frisco (Texas) Wakeland, visited the Hogs for Arkansas’ 31-28 victory over Mississippi State in November and the Jan. 15 Prospect Day.
He announced an offer from the Hogs a few days later after his last trip to Fayetteville.
“My number one goal is watch the coaching and see the interaction between the players and the players with the coaches,” Stroh said of Saturday’s visit. “Fit is very important to me.”
He has offers from Arkansas, Texas, Auburn, Florida, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Florida State, Baylor, Colorado and others. ESPN rates him a 4-star prospect and the No. 27 offensive tackle in the nation.
He sees the Razorbacks being a possible fit.
“Arkansas is definitely still in my top schools, for sure,” he said. “I like the coaches a lot. I like coaches that get the value of the O-line and they clearly do. I want to be developed and do not mind at all being coached hard — as long as it is fair and they care about me. I feel like they have that down.”
Stroh said he and Kennedy talk or text about every other day.
“Not too invasive but definitely stays in touch and lets me know I am important in their recruiting,” Stroh said.
Arkansas fans also impress.
“They are passionate for sure and they love the school. Nothing wrong about that.”
Both of Stroh’s parents are Texas A&M graduates.
“Texas A&M is definitely in the mix among a few other schools. My parents and other family members graduated from there, and so a lot of people assume it will automatically be A&M for me,” he said. “However, I have my own criteria for my future and my family’s alma mater is not a deciding factor — they will be happy for me no matter where I decide.”
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