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:
St. Louis RB values bond with Smith
Arkansas assistant coach Jimmy Smith speaks Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, alongside running back Raheim Sanders during practice at the university practice facility in Fayetteville.
Trust in any relationship is vital, and Arkansas sophomore running back target Jamarion Parker has that with Razorbacks running backs coach Jimmy Smith.
“Me and Coach Smith are real close,” Parker said. “We have real good talks. He’s a guy I’m willing to trust with my college football career.”
Parker, 6-0, 185 pounds, of St. Louis Cardinal Ritter College Prep, has 20 scholarship offers from schools such as Arkansas, Missouri, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Michigan, Oregon, Nebraska, Colorado and Louisville.
Some college coaches might tell prospects what they want to hear, but Smith uses a more upfront approach.
“He keeps everything real,” Parker said. “He doesn’t sugarcoat nothing. … He tells me what I need to work on on my game.”
Parker visited Arkansas last January and received an offer from Smith a few days later.
“Arkansas was the first school I visited, so that’s another reason,” Parker of his like for the Razorbacks.
He plans to visit Smith and Arkansas again Saturday. Parker will be accompanied by his cousin and teammate and Arkansas sophomore defensive back target Antonio Parker, who visited the Razorbacks last Saturday.
Their teammate and sophomore quarterback Carson Boyd will also make the trip. Ole Miss, Boston College, Miami (Ohio) and Iowa State had offered Jamarion Parker prior to Smith extending an offer. Smith wasn’t pleased that the Rebels offered a day before Arkansas.
“He was mad because he said he wanted to be my first SEC offer,” Parker said.
Smith’s ability to evaluate, recruit and develop during his time in Fayetteville makes the running backs room a major strength for the Razorbacks. He calls his group the G.O.O.N. squad — Greatness, On the field, Off the field, No excuses.
Parker has picked up nothing but good vibes from Smith during the recruiting process.
“The first time we talked, we had a real good conversation,” Parker said. “You can know off the vibe someone gives you if you’re going to be close. He was going to be real, like when we had our first conversation. I knew he was going to be real.”
On3.com rates him a 4-star prospect, the No. 5 running back and No. 40 overall prospect in the nation in the 2025 class in its consensus rankings.
Parker has been selected to play in the 2025 Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando, Fla. CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming rates Parker a 4-star-plus prospect.
“He’s one of my 2025 All-Americans,” Lemming said. “He plays for one of the best programs in the state. Jamarion has good size, excellent vision, balance and speed. He can play for anyone.”
Parker ran a sub-11 seconds in the 100-meter dash as a freshman last spring and looks to be capable of clocking a better time by the time he becomes a senior.
The trip to Fayetteville this weekend appears to be his only visit planned for the month, but he is looking to visit other schools this spring.
“In the spring, I’m supposed to go down to Oklahoma and TCU,” Parker said. “I’m going to try to get down to Georgia also.”
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.