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:
Transfer TE expected to visit Hogs
North Texas tight end Jake Roberts (87) warms up before an NCAA football game against Southern Miss on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020 in Denton, Texas. Southern Miss won 41-31. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
Arkansas is expected to host tight end transfer Jake Roberts for an official visit on Jan. 4.
Roberts, 6-5 and 250 pounds, announced plans to transfer from North Texas and enter the portal on Dec. 20. He has since received offers from Arkansas, California, Baylor, SMU, Nebraska, Indiana, Oregon State, Rutgers, Tennessee and others.
He was a consensus 3-star prospect in the 2020 class coming out of Norman (Okla.) North High School. He chose the Mean Green over offers from Air Force, Colorado, Eastern Michigan, Memphis, Tulsa and Missouri State.
Roberts is humbled that he has received so many offers since announcing his transfer.
“It’s been crazy," he said. "It’s one of those things, I thought I would get some interest but to have the level I have right now, it’s pretty cool. I didn’t have that coming out of high school. I’m bless to be where I’m at and have to make a really hard decision. I know I’ll make the right one.”
He had 28 catches for 394 yards and 3 touchdowns this season. He had 43 receptions for 542 yards and 3 touchdowns during his career at North Texas.
Because he announced his transfer during the dead period, Roberts will have to wait to travel to schools during the Jan. 4-8 window when transfers can officially visit schools.
“The timeline is so much shorter,” said Roberts, who has two years of eligibility remaining. “Only a couple of weeks timeline now. It’s lot different than it was coming out of high school."
Roberts’ recruitment will be hurried this time around, so now he’s in relationship-building mode.
“I’m just trying to build relationships with these coaches over the phone, and another thing that makes it hard is the inability to visit right,” he said. “If I was able to get on campus, I believe it would make it a little easier but we just have the visit window from the 4th to the 8th is have to try and decide which schools I’m going to see and make a decision based on that.”
He said he’ll likely limit each visit to one day per school.
“I think four or five (visits). With my location, I’m within driving distances to some places like Arkansas and SMU,” Roberts said. “It would be tough. I’m going to try.”
Roberts said he hoped Arkansas would recruit him out of high school during former coach Chad Morris’ time in Fayetteville, but is grateful the Hogs are pursuing him now.
“They’ve shown good interest and I’m very appreciative of it,” Roberts said. “The chance to play SEC football, it’s pretty awesome. To have that offer that’s really what I wanted coming out of high school, and now I have that.”
He is in talks with offensive coordinator Kendal Briles and tight ends coach Morgan Turner, who developed several NFL players while at Stanford.
“His track record speaks for itself in developing tight ends and putting them into the NFL,” Roberts said. “Arkansas is a big offer for me knowing I’m going to get developed.”
His brother Nate Roberts is a highly regarded sophomore tight end with offers from Oklahoma, Baylor, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Missouri and others. He plans to accompany his brother on the trip to Arkansas.
“I want to be surrounded by good people that see my potential and know how to develop me and put me in situations to succeed," he said, "and hopefully make it to the next level."
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