When there is a big-time defensive tackle inside your own state's borders, it's important to make a big-time impression early.
It seems that Arkansas has done that with Hope sophomore McTelvin Agim (6-3, 250, 4.6), who took in an Arkansas scrimmage about a week ago and has now been on campus four times in the last eight months.
"I've really gotten to know the coaches and seen a lot of great stuff while visiting Fayetteville," Agim said. "Arkansas brings a lot to the table with great facilities, great coaches and great fans.
"I really like (Razorback defensive line) Coach (Rory) Segrest," Agim added. "He is a pretty cool guy and I really like what he is doing with the defensive tackles. I think he is a great coach and he has been in the NFL so he knows what it takes to get there."
Agim got his first offer from Arkansas earlier this year and has since added ones from Clemson, Baylor and Oklahoma with interest from Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Oklahoma State as well.
"That was very exciting for me and I feel very honored that the other schools have come with their offers," Agim said. "The best thing is that I am in no hurry since I am so young. I have almost two years to make a decision so there's no rush."
Agim had 76 tackles this season with 16 sacks and also a whopping six blocked punts as a sophomore during his team's 10-3 season that ended with a 24-21 state semifinal loss to eventual Class 5A champion Morrilton.
"He is a dynamic football player," Hope head coach Jay Turley said earlier this year. "In addition to having a lot of ability, he works very hard and never takes a play off. He has great skills and is just going to have a great career here and on the next level."
Agim was asked what he is looking for in a school.
"To be honest, I am looking for a school that is going in the right direction," Agim said. "A school that may not be there yet, but is improving and you know they are going to get there.
"That's my impression of what Arkansas is doing right now," Agim added. "But really I don't have any favorites right now and all the schools are even. Like I said, it's just so early."
Agim, who got Arkansas' interest when he attended one of its camps last summer, grew up a fan of the Sooners because of where he previously lived.
"I used to live in Corsicanna, Texas, in the second grade and that's when I started liking Oklahoma and I started watching them on TV," Agim said. "I did the same thing with the Razorbacks once I moved to Arkansas in the ninth grade."
Agim first moved to Emmet, Ark., (population 506) and went to school at Blevins and played basketball there before moving on to Hope because Blevins doesn't field a football team.
"I just knew I needed to get somewhere and play football and it's been a great decision for me," Agim said.
Agim and fellow teammate – sophomore offensive lineman KeDarius Rowe (6-3, 325) – give Hope two Division I prospects.
"K.D. doesn't have any offers yet, but there are a lot of teams interested," Agim said. "He's like a brother to me and we are really pushing each other on the field and in the weight room.
"One thing he is also really doing is working hard in the classroom to get his grades up," Agim added. "That's a big thing with him. I think once he does he is going to have a lot of schools offering him."
Turley believes Rowe will see plenty of offers down the line as well.
"Kedarius is a young man that grew from 6-1 to 6-3 during this season and will continue to grow," Turley said. "He plays with a very mean and nasty streak on the offensive line and I think will see a lot of offers as he continues to grow. All the schools are just trying to feel that out right now."
Agim has visited Arkansas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and plans to make to a lot of camps this summer.
"I'll be back at Arkansas for camp and am going to go to Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, too," Agim said. "Just going to go and try to learn as much as I can from all these great coaches."
Arkansas Acquires Agim's Attention
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