The Opening featured several talented Arkansas prospects, including Josh Frazier, Kavin Alexander and commit Bijhon Jackson.
Not among them was North Little Rock running back Juan Day, but he has been recruiting Frazier and Alexander to join him and Jackson as Razorbacks.
"I've been trying to get Frazier to come and then a couple of guys out of state I have tried to check up on by phone," Day said. "Basically some guys in Florida I am trying to work on. (Arkansas quarterback commit) Rafe (Peavey) and I both are doing that. We're both trying to get some players from around the country to come in."
Day, 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, said growing up in Arkansas, it has always been his dream to play for the Razorbacks. He said that's why he decided to commit on Jan. 7, 2013, shortly after Arkansas offered him.
"That's the school that I always wanted to go to," Day said. "When I had the opportunity, I said 'why not?' and decided to commit there and then. And now I have the recruiting process out of the way and it's not really a distraction for me and our team, so I can just focus on playing football again."
When Bret Bielema was introduced as the Arkansas head football coach, he said he planned on "throwing a fence around the state borders" and keeping in-state talent at home. Day said it has been disheartening to see players such as Clemson running back Zac Brooks, Auburn players such as Kiehl Frazier and Kodi Burns, former Notre Dame offensive lineman Bartley Webb and former USC players Damian Williams and Mitch Mustain, who transferred from Arkansas after their freshman season, leave the state. He thinks Bielema has brought the right approach to recruiting talent located in the Natural State, however.
So far, Bielema has gotten pledges from four Arkansas natives, Day, Jackson, tight end Jack Kraus and 2015 quarterback Ty Storey. Jackson and Storey picked the Razorbacks despite each having an offer from Alabama and other Southeastern Conference programs. Day said keeping talent like that at home is vital for the success of the football program in the future.
"It's very important because I remember when I was younger, I wondered a lot why some of the best players in Arkansas would leave the state," Day said. "I couldn't see myself doing that. So I think it's very important to keep that talent in Arkansas and that it will help the program."
Frazier, a defensive tackle at Springdale Har-Ber, has also received offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Texas A&M within the SEC and schools such as Florida State, USC and Notre Dame outside of the league. Day said if Arkansas lands Frazier, it could create a domino effect.
"If Frazier came in, that would us help a lot," Day said. "If a big recruit like Josh Frazier committed, I think he could bring in even more big recruits with him."
Day said the way the football program has evolved in the last few years gives the Razorbacks a chance to appeal to any recruits.
"The facilities are really nice and they're building on that new football operations center and the design is real nice," he said. "And the program is full of really good people that are down to earth and can talk to you about anything. They talk to you about more than football, but just about life in general."
Since committing to the Razorbacks, Day said he has continued to feel confident in his selection as he has continued to build his relationship with Arkansas running back Joel Thomas and gotten to meet some of his future teammates.
"Coach Thomas is really cool," Day said. "We have a really good relationship. I stay in touch with him at least every two weeks or something like that. I can talk about anything with him, pretty much.
"I went to the prospect camp and that was a really good experience. I actually met Alex Collins and he was a really cool dude. And he met my mom and my parents met Coach Thomas and everything."
Day begins recruiting for Arkansas
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