Will Gragg, the brother of former Arkansas tight end Chris Gragg, understands the pressure for him to stay in state.
Gragg, a 4-star, 2015 tight end prospect, attends Pine Bluff high school and said he has been pressured by Arkansas fans to commit to the Razorbacks, but is not surprised by that.
"Oh my gosh. There is tremendous pressure," Gragg said with a laugh. "Sometimes I just delete the Twitter app from my phone. Whenever I go visit other places, like I visited Tuscaloosa, Ala. and Oxford, Miss., the fans didn't really like that too much. But I'm just taking it all in and I'm having fun with it.
"I can see how some recruits could let it rub them away from a place, but like I said, I'm just having fun with it and taking it all in. But I'm just taking it more like a joke. I'm not taking it to heart or anything."
After attending the Alabama-LSU game, Gragg, 6-foot-4, 247 pounds, said he thought the Crimson Tide began to separate itself from the other two schools in his top three, Arkansas and Ole Miss. He still said the Razorbacks have a shot on Sunday, however.
His reasoning for keeping the Razorbacks in his top three was their ability to contend in the next few years.
"I wouldn't consider them in my top three if I didn't believe they could win," he said. "I think as Coach (Bret) Bielema establishes himself as a coach and once they start getting the type of players they need -- and not even the top players, like with Coach (Bobby) Petrino's first class, he had my brother who was a 2-star, Jarius Wright was a 3-star and Joe Adams was a 4-star, players like that -- so once Coach Bielema gets those players he needs for his style of play, there's no doubt in my mind that they will start winning.
"Anytime changes occur like it did at Arkansas, it's going to take some time," Gragg added. "That's going to take a couple years, maybe one or two more, and then he will be able to establish the power running game like he did at Wisconsin. Coming from Coach Petrino's offense, obviously they were predominantly pass. Then with Coach Bielema coming in from the Big Ten, he liked to run the ball, so once he establishes the running game and gets the guys that can win the battle at the line of scrimmage, which he has gotten a couple of them this year, I think the process will speed up and they'll be back to normal."
Although many media members and fans have said Arkansas will not be able to "out-Alabama Alabama," Gragg said he is confident the pro-style running game will be a good fit for Arkansas.
"I think it's the style that you have to establish to win in the SEC," he said. "You look at Alabama and LSU and they win games by winning the battle at the line of scrimmage with their power running game. So at any level of football and in any conference, it's important.
"That style of offense isn't always the most fun to watch and fans don't really like to see you run the ball 30 or 40 times, but it wins games and gets you positive yards."
Gragg added that the style fits his position well, too. Although pass-catching is what makes the tight end position glamorous to fans, he said he takes pride in being physical, which a pro-style offense requires of a tight end.
"From a tight end's perspective, Hunter Henry has done so well because of the play-action pass, which is set up by the run game.
"With those two teams (Alabama and Arkansas), they both use multiple tight ends in games. And that is really appealing because that shows me that I can get on the field a lot earlier and shows me that as a freshman or sophomore, I can be the No. 1 or No. 2 tight end. That really helps, just getting to play. The ball may not come to you every play, but you get experience being out there going up against the Jadeveon Clowneys and the Robert Nkemdiches of the world.
"I'm well-sized at about 245 pounds, so I take tremendous pride in my blocking. So if you can block those two guys, you can block anyone in the country. Almost any tight end can catch the ball, but there really aren't a lot of guys who love to block down, block out and get to the second level, even. So I take tremendous pride in my ability to do it."
Gragg will take two visits in the last two weeks of the college football season. He will be at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock as Arkansas takes on Mississippi State Saturday. For the final week of the season, he will be at the Iron Bowl to watch undefeated Alabama play one-loss Auburn.
"Whenever God tells me it's time to make my decision, I will. But it could be tomorrow or it could be Feb. 6, 2015. I'm just going off of whenever God tells me to be wherever He wants me to be.
"I just kind of take it all as it goes."
Gragg feels pressure from Hogs fans
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