Arkansas hopes to continue it recent recruiting surge on Tuesday when Dumas tight end Will Gragg announces his college commitment on what will be his 17th birthday.
Gragg (6-4, 245), the brother of former Arkansas and current Buffalo Bill tight end Chris Gragg, will make the announcement at 10 a.m. at his high school.
He'll do so with good friend and current Arkansas pledge K.J. Hill (6-1, 190) – the outstanding wide receiver from North Little Rock on hand and Razorback head coach Bret Bielema and tight end coach Barry Lunney, Jr.. hoping he becomes the 14th pledge of the class.
“I think he (Hill) wants me just as bad as Coach Lunney and Coach Bielema and Coach Lunney,” Gragg said. “That's pretty hard to go from being friends to a recruiting friends. That is a pretty transition.”
Gragg, who played his sophomore and junior seasons at Pine Bluff, has narrowed his list from some 50 schlolarship offers down to Arkansas, Ole Miss and Alabama, three schools that have recruited him since the ninth grade.
He admits that recruiting process has been an interesting one for him as each school tries to put its best foot forward.
“It's probably just hearing all the different spiels,” Gragg said. “All the coaches call me from their different schools and are messaging me all day and all week, just trying to put their last few tidbits of advice into their recruiting pitch. I think that is the hardest thing since trying to determine who is being real with you and who is giving you the best chance to play and who is just blowing smoke in your face.
“It's kind of hard determined that, but after awhile I think you figure it out and it becomes all good,” Gragg added.
Former Razorback head coach Bobby Petrino offered Gragg the summer before he entered the ninth grade and Bielema was quick to pursue him once he arrived on the scene in December of 2012.
“They have just been saying that I can come in and make an immediate impact and take over the spot where A.J. Derby is playing,” Gragg said. “He is a senior and having an outstanding year along with (sophomore tight end) Hunter (Henry).
“They are just telling me I can get on the field early and that is really want you want to do when you are making a decision,” Gragg added. “You want to go somewhere where you think you can play early. They are just saying the chance is being presented to me if I go out there and work hard. They are just re-emphasizing that. “
Gragg had noted he wanted to see some improvement from an Arkansas team that went 3-9 last season.
“They have improved tremendously – the running game, the passing game, just a different swagger about themselves than they have had the last couple of years,” Gragg said. “They feel confident that they can win. Really the whole state – I can say from my experience – felt like they were a different team with just two quarters of the Auburn game.
“It is clear that you can see the improvement when you see them beat a team like Texas Tech the way that they did,” Gragg added.
One of Arkansas' recruiting pitches to Gragg has been to “Be Arkansas” not just be from Arkansas. It's a motto that Lady Razorback basketball coach Jimmy Dykes came up with and shared with Gragg on a recent visit.
There have been a few top talents that have left the state lately such as Altee Tenpenny and Joshua Frazier to Alabama, Michael Dyer and Kiehl Frazier to Auburn and Bret Smith to Tennessee several years ago.
“The state doesn't just want people to be from Arkansas like the Tenpennys and the Bret Smiths and the Kiehl Fraziers – they want the guys to stay home and build something like they are building now,” Gragg said.
Gragg Prepared To Make His Pledge
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