Taking Care Of Texas

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawson chats with Fox Sports Next national recruiting analyst Greg Powers, who lives in Texas and knows how important that state will be for success of Arkansas' new head coach.

No matter who the head football coach is at Arkansas next season, he's going to have to have success in Texas to have success in the SEC.

That has been a constant in the success of the Razorback football program and is likely to be the same in the future.

Greg Powers, Fox Sports Next's recruiting analyst for the state of Texas, expects the new guy to be able to mine plenty of that talent.

"The competition is what makes Texas high school football so outstanding," Powers said. "It starts at an early age, they grow up and it and one thing I think that is different than some other states is that it is football 24-7, 365 days a year with 7-on-7, camps and concentration on the one sport instead of playing a lot of different sports. Football is King in Texas and there is no doubt about that.

"The level of play is great," Powers added. "You could take some of the smaller classification teams in Texas and they could go win bigger classifications in states like Oklahoma and Arkansas like 5A and 6A."

Lots of top schools outside of Texas come to the Lone Star State to get talent including Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, LSU, Arkansas and Arizona State to name a few.

"Oklahoma and Texas get a lot of the kids they want in Texas and Oklahoma State and Mike Gundy have done a fantastic job in the state as evidenced by the fact they have around 60 of the 85 scholarship players from the state of Texas," Powers said.

"But Arkansas doesn't have to take a backseat to anyone when it comes to getting talent out of the SEC, especially now that Texas A&M is in the SEC," Powers added. "There is no doubt that bringing the Aggies into the SEC was a positive for Arkansas.

"The reason being that there is such a buzz in Texas about the SEC this year," Powers said. "No longer are kids just talking about the Big 12. The SEC is shiny new toy that everybody wants to be a part of."

Powers said once Arkansas' coaching situation gets settled that he expects the Razorbacks to dive back into the state with a full had of steam.

"Arkansas is getting a lot more buzz because of Texas A&M coming into the league and lots more coverage of the league," Powers said. "I think that has opened far more doors for them in Texas. When the Razorbacks to get their new head coach in place, I expect for recruiting to take off in Texas in large part because of that. I think it will be the best it has ever been for them down there, certainly the best since they have entered the SEC."

He thinks the SEC will especially prosper with younger kids in Texas.

"The younger kids are going to see and learn more about the SEC in the next three years and it is going to be ingrained in their mind like the Big 12 has been for so long," Powers said. "As if the SEC needs any more help to have success."

Out of Arkansas current commitments, only two of the current 16 pledges are from Texas in Frisco Centennial athlete Lamar Jordan (6-0, 180) and Navarro College offensive lineman Mitchell Bell (6-4, 310), who is originally from Texas.

Powers actually lives in Frisco, which gives him a unique opportunity to evaluate nearby talent.

"I can go five to 10 minutes from my front door and see up to 30 different elite Division I prospects a year," Powers said. "I can see all the kids in the Frisco school district, Lewisville Hebron, Salinas, Prosper and Allen and McKinney."

He loves what he has seen from Jordan, whose chose Arkansas over New Mexico, Rice, Air Force, Navy and Texas State – all who were recruiting him as a quarterback.

Jordan has passed for 1,981 yards and 24 touchdowns this season and rushed for 466 yards and eight more scores.

"Arkansas got in there just in time and got him an offer and he jumped right on it," Powers said. "That week before he committed, he's recruiting was beginning to take off. He had six or seven schools stopped by that week that were getting ready to offer. Schools like Oklahoma State, Baylor and Arizona State.

"The thing that is so tough is to project him as a wide receiver because he is playing quarterback all the time," Powers said. "He is electric with the football in his hands. He is very quick. He doesn't get to the top end speed right away, but if he finds a hole, he is gone and you are not going to catch him."

Powers has also seen Hebron sophomore offensive lineman Zach Rogers (6-3, 265).

Rogers got an offer from the Arkansas coaching staff this summer after physically domination older lineman at the Razorback football camp in June.

He also got an offer from Texas Tech soon after Arkansas extended one and is now getting recruiting attention for Oklahoma as well.

"Zach Rogers is a big time offensive lineman, especially to just a sophomore," Powers said. "I got to see him play left tackle twice last year as a freshman and he was as consistent as any offensive line in the state even though he was so young.

"I have seen him again this year and he has not lost anything," Powers said. "he has great technique, no one gets past him and he is going to be a big-time player. That's why so many people are after him right now even though it will be a couple years before he can actually sign with someone."

Rogers, who has been to a pair of Arkansas games this season, is a former teammate of current Razorback defensive end Deatrich Wise, a four-star 2012 prospect who is redshirting this season.

"I love Deatrich Wise, have been high on him since day one and really think he will be playing in the NFL one day," Powers said. "I am glad he got the opportunity to redshirt this season at Arkansas. He is going to make the new Arkansas head coach very happy when he sees what he has with Deatrich and some of those other young defensive players that are redshirting at Arkansas.

"One of the most overlooked attributes about prospects is hand strength," Powers added. "Deatrich has a lot of length and also had very strong hands. Once he gets those locked on to you, it's over."

Zach Rogers

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