Defensive end Daytrieon Dean arrived on campus for the spring semester, leaving behind a talented Fort Smith (Ark.) Northside defense that now includes Class of 2016 cornerback Kiondre Thomas and four-star linebacker Deontre Hardwick.
After an offseason in the weight room, Falluer, the Grizzlies’ head coach, said he believes Thomas and Hardwick will be even better in 2015.
“I saw them improve across the board,” Falluer said. “They worked extremely hard. Both are bigger and stronger.”
Having the pair of prospects also means it has been an offseason that has seen quite a few college coaches visit the school.
Arkansas, Army, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Navy and TCU are just a few of the schools that came through Falluer’s office door.
“I’m glad they come,” Falluer said. “I’m glad we have the kind of kids that attract those schools.”
Despite the large number of schools coming to see him, Hardwick has only two offers: Arkansas State and Louisiana Tech. He is ranked as the No. 159 overall prospect in the class, but his grades have scared some potential suitors.
“I think there should be a bunch more (offers),” Falluer said. “He’s going to be really close on his grades and that has caused some schools to hold back.
“If there’s a better linebacker in the state, I’d like to see him. He’s very talented and plays like you’d want a kid to play.”
Falluer said Hardwick is doing better in the classroom, but he won’t know for sure how well he’s doing until he finishes up the last two weeks of school.
Thomas’ list includes more schools – Arkansas State, Eastern Illinois, Louisiana Tech, Missouri State and Tulsa – but Falluer thinks it is still growing.
“TCU is very close,” Falluer said. “Some big schools want him to come to camp so they can see him in person. He’ll have several more.”
One school Falluer said he knows both of them hope offers is Arkansas.
In fact, he took six or seven of his players – including Thomas – to Fayetteville to watch one of the Razorbacks’ spring practices last month.
“(Thomas) has been up there several times,” Falluer said. “He loves Arkansas. Nothing would make him happier than going there. He has to do a good job at camp.”
Thomas will attend Arkansas’ June 20 prospect camp.
Northside started its spring practice Monday and, because he’s home during a break before summer workouts start, Dean has been at all three practices.
Falluer said his former defensive end told him that he was glad he enrolled early and that he did well in school during his first semester of college.
While Dean went through spring practice with the Razorbacks and has recovered from shoulder surgery, Falluer said he hopes he’ll redshirt this year.
“I think Arkansas is at a point where they have good players and depth,” Falluer said. “I hope he’s able to redshirt and get an extra year in the weight room.
“But if they need him, he’s a good football player and he’ll give them 100 percent.”
Whether or not Dean plays as a freshman or Thomas and Hardwick come to Arkansas, Falluer – who started his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Ken Hatfield at Arkansas – said he is pleased with the progress the Razorbacks have made under Bret Bielema.
“I think he’s done a great job,” Falluer said. “I like that he’s got a plan and stuck to it. He hasn’t taken any shortcuts and he’s built it from the bottom up.
“We live in a world where people aren’t very patient, but I think it’ll pay off this year and in the future.”