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:
Several transfers expected to visit Arkansas
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 several transfers for official visits over the next few days.
Colleges can host mid-term transfers starting today until Sunday.
“The fourth through the eighth (of January), I’m going to tell you it should and it needs to be anywhere from six to 12 kids on campus,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said Dec. 21.
North Texas tight end transfer Jake Roberts arrived in Fayetteville on Tuesday night and began his visit this morning.
Roberts, 6-5 and 250 pounds, announced plans to transfer from North Texas and enter the transfer portal on Dec. 20. He has received offers from Arkansas, California, Baylor, SMU, Nebraska, Indiana, Oregon State, Rutgers, Tennessee and other schools.
Roberts plans to visit SMU and Baylor after leaving Fayetteville on Thursday.
He was a consensus 3-star prospect in the 2020 class coming out of Norman (Okla.) North High School. Roberts chose the Mean Green over offers from Air Force, Colorado, Eastern Michigan, Memphis, Tulsa and Missouri State.
“It’s been crazy,” he said of the interest he’s received. “It’s one of those things (that) 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 blessed to be where I’m at and have to make a really hard decision. I know I’ll make the right one.”
Roberts 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.
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His brother Nate Roberts is a highly regarded sophomore tight end with offers from Oklahoma, Baylor, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Missouri and other programs.
Oregon transfer receiver Dont’e Thornton, 6-5, 200, is expected to arrive in Fayetteville on Wednesday for a two-day visit. He has made official visits to Miami and Auburn, and is expected to visit Tennessee after Arkansas.
Offensive coordinator Kendal Briles and receivers coach Kenny Guiton helped him make the decision to visit.
“After I talked to Coach Kenny and Coach Kendal, I felt like I had a great opportunity to come in and be an impact player instantly and be the man in the room, so it’s a great opportunity,” Thornton said Monday.
He was a consensus 4-star prospect in 2021 out of Mount Saint Joseph in Baltimore and was rated as high as No. 9 nationally at his position.
Thornton initially chose Oregon over Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Colorado, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and other schools.
He had 17 catches for 366 yards and 1 touchdown for the Ducks in 2022, and caught 26 passes for 542 yards and 3 touchdowns in two seasons at Oregon.
Thornton praised his relationship with Guiton.
“I feel like I can just relate to him as a person outside of football,” he said. “He’s a great dude, and talking to him it didn’t feel like I was talking to a coach. It felt like I was talking to someone I knew.”
Former South Florida linebacker Antonio Grier Jr. is also expected to visit Arkansas.
Grier, 6-1, 223, announced plans to enter the transfer portal in November and said he would transfer to Central Florida on Dec. 12. He is expected to arrive in Fayetteville on Wednesday.
When the Razorbacks hired former UCF defensive coordinator Travis Williams to the same position, Grier announced he signed a grant-in-aid with Arkansas on Dec. 22.
Signing a grant-in-aid is non-binding. He tweeted Jan. 1 that his recruitment is "100% open" and he would make a final decision on Jan. 7.
Grier had 21 tackles in four games this season and suffered a hand injury. He started 12 games and led the Bulls with 92 tackles and 9 tackles for loss in 2021, and contributed 3 sacks, 2 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles.
Grier was named a second-team All-American Athletic Conference performer that year, and he also earned second-team All-AAC honors in 2020 while playing in 8 games and recording 59 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.
Grier, who signed with South Florida in 2018 out of Mays High School in Atlanta, has one season of eligibility remaining.
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Division-II receiver transfer Isaac TeSlaa said he would officially visit Arkansas on Thursday and Friday.
He had 68 receptions for 1,325 yards – 19.5 yards per catch – and 13 touchdowns this season at Hillsdale College in Michigan. He was named the Great Midwest Athletic Conference's top offensive player and team MVP.
TeSlaa, 6-4, 210, was named the Chargers' Outstanding Offensive Back for 2021 after finishing with 45 catches for 698 yards and 7 touchdowns.
He has received offers from Arkansas, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Iowa, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Iowa State, Miami, Wisconsin and other schools since entering the transfer portal on Dec. 1.
TeSlaa made official visits to Iowa and Iowa State in December. He has two years of eligibility left.
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