Hogs Charge Into Latest Recruiting Period

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema and his staff hit the telephone, Twitter and Facebook right as the September contact period opened at 12:01 a.m. and heard good news from players such as wideout LaMichael Pettway, one of the nation's top offensive lineman in Jalin Barnett, Hope junior DE sensation McTelvin Agim and highly-coveted Lousiana prep CB Deshawn Raymond.

Arkansas’ recruiting week got underway at 12:01 a.m. Monday morning and got a boost soon afterwards when Nashville wide receiver LaMichael Pettway (6-4, 200) turned his attention toward Fayetteville.

Soon after that Lawton, Okla., star Jalin Barnett (6-4, 305) – the nation’s top offensive guard – scheduled an official visit to see the Razorbacks on the weekend of Sept. 19-21 and big-time Louisiana prep cornerback Deshawn Raymond set his for Oct. 10-12.

That’s on top of North Little Rock wideout K.J. Hill committing to Arkansas last Friday and Dumas tight end Will Gragg setting his decision for Sept. 23 with the Razorbacks expecting good news from that.

“As silly as it is, we’ve had a lot of good things happen in recruiting here in the last seven days,” Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said. “And the response out of Saturday was just overwhelming positive. And I’ll tell you this, we’re greatly improved because we’re a better football team and better coached. But recruiting is helping us in a variety of different ways.”

College football coaches could start calling senior recruits on Monday at 12:01 a.m. and also start sending mail to juniors while also making contact by e-mail or direct messages on Twitter or Facebook.

“I can’t talk, obviously, recruiting too much, but I’ve never been a 12:01 guy,” Bielema said at his Monday press conference “... We had set up in place where I could reach out to a number of prospects that it became legal to start direct messaging them.

“I rolled out of here a little after 1 and I was blown away at the notifications on my phone. I get home and my wife, is a little sleep on the couch, I wake her up, we go in the bedroom and I was kind of sitting over there just going back and forth. And I’m feeling bad. I’m figuring I’m going to get some mom yelling at me. ‘What are you doing tweeting my kid at 1:15?’ But there was a little bit of response.

“Today’s kids are different,” Bielema continued. “… I’m like ok, it’s 1:30 I’m going to bed. I’ve got my alarm set for 5. I wake up and I had messages from kids at like 3:15 in the morning. But I think today’s kid, they get up, maybe they use the restroom, maybe they get a drink of water and they see they’ve got notification on their phone.

“In our day and age, well, depending on where we’re at in this room, you used to have to go over to your in-box and check your email, which means logging onto the computer. And now you just pick up your phone. And it’s just amazing to me the responses from kids.

“… I mean this morning when I came in it was just (getting) started. Kids get rolling at 6, 6:30 in the morning and boom, boom, boom you start hitting them. Even thought it’s Labor Day a lot of them had early practices or something like that. They really appreciated that we were the only ones that reached out to them.

“Now there was a long time between now and signing day, but the response there was a cool. I give a lot of credit to (recruiting coordinator) E.K. Franks, Daniel Bush, my recruiting department.”

Pettway (6-4, 200) de-committed from Ole Miss – a place he had pledged to in May – just a day after tweeting a picture of himself in Razorback gear.

“I just feel like I rushed into a decision and wanted to open things back up and take a longer look at things,” Pettway said. “Arkansas and Ole Miss are the only two teams I am going to look at. I want to take visits to both places and just slow down and make the right decision for me.”

Pettway admitted that North Little Rock wideout K.J. Hill - who committed to Arkansas last Friday – and Dumas tight end Will Gragg (who will announce Sept. 23) had been in his ear lately about all the top Arkansas talent staying home to play together.

Arkansas quarterback pledge Ty Storey of Charleston has also gotten in the act lately.

“K.J. and Will have both been telling me that we need to keep all of us in-state guys need to come to Arkansas and make it happen,” Pettway said. “Here just recently, Ty Storey has been getting in touch with me and basically saying the same thing and how much he would like to have me with the other guys.” If Arkansas gets both Gragg and Pettway, it would mean a clean sweep of the nine in-state kids it has offered in the 2015 class.

Razorback wide receivers coach Michael Smith has let Pettway know he is a priority recruit.

“Man, I love Coach Smith,” Pettway said. “He is as real as it gets. I feel like he can take me and make me the best wide receiver I can be. He knows the game and he also cares about his players. We have a great relationship.

“He has been very clear to me how he wants to get us all up there and how we could just make that offense take off with all the play makers,” Pettway added. “I wanted to get up there soon and talk with them more.”

Pettway noted there really is nothing more that the coaches at Arkansas or Ole Miss can do to influence his decision.

“They have done a great job – both staffs,” Pettway said. “But this now is more about me just feeling comfortable more at one place than the other.”

Pettway and Nashville open their season this week against Hope.

“That’s where (former US President) Bill Clinton was born and they usually have a very good football team,” Pettway said. “We just need to go out and not make mistakes. Our goal here is always to win the state title.”

• • •

Speaking of Hope, Bobcats junior end McTelvin Agim (6-3, 256) was one of the players Arkansas made sure to be in contact with right away.

He has around 10 offers- the first of which was from the Razorbacks – who had Bielema, lead in-state recruiter Barry Lunney and defensive line coach Rory Segrest in touch with him quickly.

“Arkansas were the first to offer and contact me on this day. Means a lot to me & shows me where I stand!! #Respect"

• • •

Barnett has said that his final two are Oklahoma and Arkansas, but that he will take all five of his official visits.

He took an unofficial visit to Arkansas on June 13 and will bring his grandparents on his official visit.

Barnett has over 50 offers and also plans to visit Oklahoma State and Oregon.

• • •

Raymond – who is four-star prospect and standout for Metairie East Jefferson - tweeted out the following on Tuesday night.

“Arkansas making a BIG push! I love it! #WPS I’ll be there OCT 11.”

• • •

Arkansas sent out an offer to Nacogdoches, Texas, junior safety Brandon Jones on Monday as did Texas.

Jones (5-11, 193) already had some 30 offers from Texas A&M, LSU, Notre Dame, Florida State, Baylor and a host of others.

• • •

Some of the other prospects Arkansas was known to have contact on Monday include the following:


Jordan Carmouche, LB, Manvel, Texas

Isaiah Graham, WR, Bastrop, La.


Dontavious Jackson,LB, Houston, Texas, Alief Eisik

Keon Howard, QB, Laurel, Miss.

Jordan Jones, WR, Smackover (Arkansas commit)

Jay Jay McCargo, OL, Arlington, Va., Bishop O’Connell

• Breylin Smith, QB, Conway

Skylar Thompson, QB, Independence, Mo.

• Andraez Willliams, CB, Shreveport, La. Calvary Baptist

Jalin Barnett

McTelvin Agim

DeShawn Raymond

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