Arkansas Has Eyes For Houston's Weathersby
When Arkansas heads off to Houston on Friday to continue Texas Bowl practices, there will be a buzz waiting on the Razorbacks when they arrive.
A sold out game against Texas, high school coaches excited about Arkansas coming, current area athletes interested and an opportunity to shine in an area that the Razorback staff wants to recruit hard.
“Obviously there is a certain buzz,” Bielema said. “I was in the Houston area recruiting and a lot of coaches just talked about how they were going to come by. There is a high school social that I think last year they had five or six coaches and I think 50 coaches have responded and are going to be there.
“The excitement both in the fan base and the people we really care a lot about, it should be a great opportunity for our Texas players - the guys that have grown up in the state and now are at Arkansas to have that game and a chance to do that which obviously can only come about during bowl opportunities,” Bielema added.
He also loves the fact that the game is in the NFL’s normal Monday night slot.
“For me, I don’t think it could be any better,” Bielema said. “ It has a great time slot, exposure. “You can have high school coaches and recruits over to your practices, so for us to be live on some Houston kids right now is huge.”
There will indeed be several 2015 and 2016 prospects that are going to stop by practice – including one with an interesting story.
That would be Houston Westfield four-star offensive lineman Toby Weathersby (6-5, 280), who recently de-committed from Texas and is now considering SEC schools Arkansas – who is considered a likely landing spot - LSU and Ole Miss.
“I just couldn’t see myself there anymore,” noted Weathersby – an Under Armour All-American who will officially visit Arkansas Jan. 16-18 - told Scout.com.
He was recently awarded the Greater Houston High School Rotary Club Lombardi Award, which is given to the best Houston area lineman or linebacker.
“He’s a special kid,” Westfield coach Corby Meekins said. “He’s a great guy, who is respectful and a joy to be around off the field. Don’t let it fool you though, on the field he is nasty.”
Scout.com recruiting analyst Greg Powers likes what he sees from Weathersby, regarded as the 10th-best tackle prospect in the country by Scout.com.
“On the field, he shows a lot of what you want to see,” Powers said. “He has a great frame, but the thing I love seeing on tape is his strength. He is easily able to toss folks out of his way. His highlights are fun to watch. He is raw and powerful with upside.”
While the Razorbacks can have prospects on hand at practices, the Arkansas staff can’t talk to them face-to-face because of the current NCAA dead period.
It’s a rule that Bielema would like to get change, but he knows it’s not likely to happen anytime soon.
"Baby steps,” Bielema said. “It's because it's a dead period and we're not supposed to have contact. For instance, like even our guys like Will (Gragg) or guys that have signed FAAs (Financial Aid Agreements)."
Arkansas can’t even talk to Fayetteville stars and future Razorbacks C.J. O’Grady and Dre Greenlaw, who are just down the street.
“We've got a couple of guys here local that they can't even come watch us during bowl practices,” Bielema said. “It kind of blows my mind, but I get it and understand why they do it.
“They've got to make some rules up,” Bielema added. “That one has been in place for a long time. It's probably not going to change because it would be too easy and too much of a recruiting advantage because most schools play bowl games in the south. I could see why there would be a pushback from schools up north."
Toby Weathersby , head coach Coby Meekins and the Wesffield football team celebrate Weathersby getting his Under Armour All-American jersey for the game Jan. 2 in Orlando, Fla.
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