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:
4-star LB ready for another Arkansas visit
ESPN 4-star linebacker Xavier Atkins
University of Arkansas 4-star linebacker target Xavier Atkins visited Fayetteville on March 4 and again Friday and Saturday, and he’s planning to make another trip this summer.
Atkins, who committed to LSU last summer, said Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman, defensive coordinator Travis Williams and the staff made his trip go well.
“The visit, man is just amazing, just talking to Coach Pittman and Coach T Will and the whole staff knows me and the players, it’s just an amazing vibe,” Atkins said. “I love being at Arkansas.”
Atkins, 6-1, 205 pounds, attends Summer Creek High School which is a part of the Humble Independent School District that’s northeast of Houston. He has scholarship offers from Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M, Penn State, Tennessee, Missouri, Miami, TCU, Oklahoma State and others.
He gave more detail on why the vibe during the visit was so good.
“Just Coach T Will and Coach Sam being upfront with everything,” Atkins said. “They let me know coming to Arkansas, I have to compete for a spot. Just handle my business when I come here. Just seeing what goes on behind the scenes just makes me more comfortable coming here.”
Atkins recorded 121 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 3 sacks and 1 interception return for a score as a junior while playing at Jonesboro-Hodge High School in Louisiana. He also had 14 catches for 369 yards and 4 touchdowns while playing receiver.
He also said he and Williams have formed a unique close bond.
“Me and Coach T Will have a bond like father and son,” Atkins said. “He keeps it real with me. He checks up on me. He’s just like somebody you need in your life, like a positive role model. As a coach, he’s played my position, so the bond with me and T Will is real special and different from all the other coaches recruiting me.”
ESPN also rates Atkins a 4-star recruit, the No. 22 outside linebacker and No. 274 overall prospect in the nation for the 2024 class and the No. 6 prospect in Texas.
Atkins said Williams teaches him life lessons on and off the field.
“He’s always telling me being a man, [and] you have to be held reasonable for certain things in life,” Atkins said. “That’s something I don’t hear from other coaches. Coach T Will teaches me things that I need to learn when I do get here, like how to be a man. How to be respectful towards women. How to be on time. Like be presentable.”
He left little doubt that he’ll be back to Arkansas for an official visit.
“Most definitely, I already have a date when I’m coming, June the second,” Atkins said. “I’ll be back here. I love this place.”
He was asked about setting up other official visits.
“I’m really haven’t been thinking about other officials,” he said. “I’ve just been thinking about Arkansas. When they asked me if I wanted to come back and visit, I said, ‘Absolutely.’ Like no doubt about it.”
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