Dudley Dawson

Arkansas will welcome several recruits for unofficial visits on Saturday

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawson writes about the pros and cons when it comes to recruiting when Arkansas has a game in Little Rock. This story is free and courtesy of the NWA Chevy Dealers. Click the banner to learn more.

There is – and probably always will be – a debate about Arkansas playing a home football game away from campus.
Just a few years ago as Arkansas was renegotiating its contract to play in Little Rock until 2018, it even developed the moniker GSD (Great Stadium Debate).
Whether that contract will be extended remains to be seen, but there are certainly some pros and cons when it comes to recruiting.
The biggest positive is that it allows recruits closer to Little Rock to take in a game such as this Saturday’s with Toledo.
Razorback assistant coach Barry Lunney, Jr., notes the location helps some recruits.
“It makes it easier for kids in Louisiana and central and eastern Arkansas to get to the games,” Lunney said. “We have got a handful of kids coming this weekend that are probably glad that it is close as it is.
“Anytime that you can take advantage of that and reach a kid that can’t get to Fayetteville, it is a good thing that they can still get exposed to Razorback football and our fan base and how passionate they are and our product so that’s a good thing.”
Arkansas is expecting to host several prospects on Saturday, including Razorback commits in Pulaski Robinson tailback/receiver T.J. Hammonds, Star City defensive tackle Austin Capps, Smackover wide receiver Jordan Jones, Hope defensive end McTelvin Agim and Madison, Miss. Central tight end Grayson Gunter.
Bastrop, Louisiana wide receiver Isaiah Graham, whose team played at Shiloh Christian Friday night, had planned to take in the game, but has decided to return home and take the ACT.
The SEC allows Arkansas to bring in kids for unofficial visits at both the Little Rock game and when the Razorbacks are the home team in their battle with Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas, as they are this season.
“We are still able to give them tickets,” Lunney said. “It is a little different because it is a home stadium and not a neutral site one. There are some different stipulations.”
One of those differences in a Little Rock game is no official visits are allowed off-campus – something Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema noted on Wednesday’s SEC Teleconference.
“It is a little different in that even though it is a home game for us, the NCAA won’t allow us to have official visits,” Bielema said.
“We can have unofficials so we can have a young man from literally anywhere in the country that wants to come on his own dime.
“He can come an receive tickets and be able to get him down on the field before the game, be able to have his family, be able to have them in the meeting room as we do here, but we just can’t have them on a 48-hour official visit by NCAA rules,” Bielema said.

Bielema wishes that option was available.
“You only have so many of those opportunities,” Bielema said. “You love to bring kids in on official visits for home games and obviously this is one where we can’t do it.
“…We have thrown around the idea with a couple kids that if this was their only free date to bring them into Fayetteville and have them waiting on us to get back from Little Rock and be able to have an official visit.
“But obviously they don’t get to see home game environment and we really feel that is critical, It eliminates one by law, but unfortunately it is a big one because kids sometimes only one bye a year and if this one is it, it just kind of messes everything up.”
Arkansas 2016 commits Jordan Jones, T.J. Hammonds, McTelvin Agim and Austin Capps

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