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:
Former Florida OL to visit Razorbacks
Florida offensive lineman Josh Braun (78) plays against Vanderbilt in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Former Florida Gators offensive lineman Joshua Braun was committed to University of Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman when he was at Georgia, and the Hogs hope he does the same after visiting Fayetteville this weekend.
Braun, 6-6, 335 pounds, played at Suwannee High School in Live Oak, Fla., and was a consensus 4-star prospect. He was rated as high as the No. 11 offensive tackle in the nation by ESPN for the 2020 class.
He flipped his pledge to Florida and former coach Dan Mullen after Pittman was hired at Arkansas. He announced on Oct. 18 plans to transfer from Gainesville after playing in 11 games as a freshman and 13 games as a sophomore, including seven starts, and in two games this fall.
Braun has received scholarship offers from Penn State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Central Florida, Duke and others after announcing his transfer.
Being a graduate transfer, Braun was able to enter the transfer portal before Dec. 5, the date all other FBS transfers can officially enter the portal.
Braun, his wife Azucena and his parents are expected to arrive in Fayetteville today for the start of his official visit.
“Me and my family are real excited to get up to Arkansas and to see all that it has to offer,” Braun said. “My wife is probably the most excited. My relationship with Coach Pittman started in high school when he recruited me to Georgia. So when he got the [head coaching] job at Arkansas, I flipped to Florida and I sort of been following them ever since. I played Arkansas my freshman year and that game Coach Pittman had covid so he did not travel.”
Braun explained why his wife is eager to visit Fayetteville.
“We’ve heard Arkansas is a beautiful place and she’s a country girl,” Braun said. “So it’s right up her alley. She’s from Suwannee County. She was born and raised north Florida.”
Braun is also familiar with Razorback offensive line coach Cody Kennedy, who was a graduate assistant at Georgia in 2018.
“Coach Kennedy was a GA at Georgia when I was getting recruited,” Braun said. “He’s a great coach. I’m really looking forward to developing the relationship further and just excited to get to know him and get to know the guys this weekend.”
Braun’s brother, Parker, was a first team All-ACC offensive lineman in 2017 and 2018 at Georgia Tech before being a starter at Texas in 2019 as a grad transfer. His brother Trey was also an offensive lineman at Georgia Tech from 2011-15.
Braun’s parents were athletes at Army in the late 1980s — his father Mike was a lineman, while mother Karen was captain for the basketball team.
In addition to the natural beauty, Braun said he sees a lot to like about Arkansas.
“The facilities are top tier in the SEC, which means they’re some of the best facilities in the country,” Braun said. “The fan base, the alumni network that’s in Arkansas is just great and you couldn’t ask for better fans. Woo Pig Sooie is known across the country.”
He also said he believes Arkansas is trending in the right direction and that the opportunity to be a part of the program is enticing.
“I think they’re poised and in a good position to really make a push next year,” Braun said. “As you saw this year, the [SEC] West seems to be open at this point more so than the East, so I think Arkansas has a good chance to fill that void.”
Four of Arkansas’ losses during the 6-6 season were by a total of nine points.
“Arkansas went 6-6 this year, it doesn’t mean they don’t have the capabilities to be good next year,” Braun said. “So the ball bounces a few different ways and Arkansas is sitting at 9-3, maybe 10-2.”
Braun has an undergrad degree in classic studies and is looking to earn a Master’s degree in business administration. He made unofficial visits to Florida State and Central Florida after entering the portal and is looking to officially visit others after his trip to Fayetteville.
“I believe the week after Arkansas I’m visiting FSU and then I have a couple more I’m setting up,” he said.
The Hogs are also expected to host commitments Joey Su’a, an offensive lineman, quarterback Malachi Singleton and tight end Jaden Hamm for official visits this weekend.
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