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:
First impression has Hogs in Westphal’s top 5
2024 4-star offensive lineman Fletcher Westphal with Arkansas offensive line coach Cody Kennedy (left), Sam Pittman and Westphal's mother.
First impressions in every-day life are important, and offensive lineman Fletcher Westphal’s first impression of Arkansas was a key reason why he listed the Razorbacks in his top five.
Westphal, 6-8, 325 pounds, of Leesburg (Va.) Tuscarora, and his mother Libby visited Fayetteville last April and were able to watch the Razorbacks conduct their last practice of the spring.
He sorted through more than 40 scholarship offers before naming Arkansas, Georgia, Clemson, Auburn and Florida as his top schools Sunday.
“My impression of Arkansas was set on my first visit when I watched the football players arrive for practice at 7:30 a.m.,” said Westphal, who has a 3.71 grade point average. “They were all smiling and joking with each other as they entered the facility. That’s culture. It wasn’t fake, because they didn’t even know I was in the parking lot watching them. It said a lot.”
Westphal’s parents joined him for the South Carolina football game last fall and again for the Red-White scrimmage on April 15.
“This vibe has been consistent each and every visit,” he said of the Razorbacks. “Arkansas has what’s important to me: great coaches, stability, a good quality of life and a top business school.”
All four recruiting services rate Westphal a 4-star recruit, with ESPN rating him the No. 18 offensive tackle and the No. 202 overall prospect in the nation in the 2024 class. He is also rated the No. 4 prospect in Virginia.
Westphal, who has an 84-inch wingspan and wears a size 18 shoe, said he plans to make official visits to his five finalists.
When defensive back Tevis Metcalf verbally committed to Arkansas on April 22, it gave him the chance to again play with his brother and Razorbacks freshman safety TJ Metcalf.
Tevis Metcalf, 5-11, 175 pounds, of Birmingham (Ala.) Parker, and his older brother were teammates last year at Pinion Valley High School before TJ Metcalf reported to Fayetteville in January.
His pledge came after his latest visit to Arkansas for the Red-White scrimmage. He picked the Razorbacks over scholarship offers from Auburn, Colorado and Georgia Tech.
Tevis Metcalf, who transferred to Parker in January, thanked God and his parents’ sacrifices for helping him along the way.
“I chose Arkansas because they have always welcomed me and my family,” Metcalf said. “They have been with us from the time they offered my brother and me. Coach [Sam] Pittman and his staff have a winning attitude along with a winning environment. My brother TJ also speaks about the culture and I want to be a part of it.
“I can see myself getting a quality education while playing football. Arkansas is a great school.”
Arkansas co-defensive coordinator Marcus Woodson and special teams coordinator Scott Fountain headed up his recruitment.
An On3.com 3-star prospect, Tevis Metcalf recorded 4 interceptions, 7 pass breakups and allowed 1 reception as a junior.
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