Arkansas Recruiting Report, 12-13: Commits Staying All In

Arkansas hosted a quartet of commitments this weekend in Madison, Miss., Central tight end Grayson Gunter, Pulaski Robinson athlete T.J. Hammonds, Smackover wide receiver Jordan Jones and Star City defensive tackle Austin Capps.

There have been some Arkansas football fans worried that a late offer from Ole Miss might sway Madison, Miss., Central tight end Grayson Gunter from his pledge to the Razorbacks.

Gunter’s dad Bubba played at Ole Miss and his family has season tickets for the Rebels’ games.

But after completing his official visit on Sunday, the younger Gunter (6-5, 230) made it clear he will be a Razorback.

“My recruitment has been over for awhile now, every since I committed (in June),” Gunter said. “This weekend just even reinforced that more in just being around everyone. I know without a doubt this is where I want to be.”

Gunter was one of four Arkansas commits on hand this weekend along with Smackover wide receiver Jordan Jones, Pulaski Robinson athlete T.J. Hammonds and Star City defensive tackle Austin Capps.

Interestingly his dad took a visit to Arkansas back in 1989 before signing with Ole Miss.

“I think he ended up taking three official visits and it was a lot different now than it was way back whenever he played,” Gunter said.

Gunter had been to Arkansas for unofficial visits, but got to see a more comprehensive look at the program and the campus this weekend.

“This is my first time really spending a lot of time here and seeing everything and it was overall a great experience,” Gunter said. “I thought the Jones Center was very impressive and they showed me all around the living quarters and just showed me a lot of love and it was just very first class.”

Being around his future teammates was one of the high points of the visit.

“I think just getting to be around the guys on the team and asking them questions and just getting to know your future teammates and how stuff works around here,” Gunter said. “That was exciting.”

Freshman tight end/fullback Austin Cantrell was his host for the weekend and he got to see just how much the Razorback staff loves its tight ends.

“They really like the tight ends and that is a big part of why I committed here and that just reinforced that,” Gunter said. “Just watching them use the tight ends and Hunter winning the Mackey Award just shows they produce great tight ends.”

Gunter is rehabbing from a torn labrum that ended his season.

“I am about month-and-a-half out of surgery and two weeks into rehab,” Gunter said. “It is coming along good and I am rehabbing every day and it is coming back slowly.

“I know it is going to be a process and it is coming along.”

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Hammonds got to spend his time with current Arkansas tailback Rawleigh Williams and a lot of food.

"It went well,” Hammonds said. “I enjoyed a lot of things. The food, actually, we ate a lot. We didn't get hungry at all.

"I hung out with Rawleigh the whole time. He's a great player. He just showed me around the campus and everything else. I really enjoyed my visit."

Williams suffered a neck injury during the season and is beginning to get back into the swing of things.

”He's good,” Hammonds said. “He's just taking it in. I asked him if he liked the scar? He said, 'Yeah, I'm living it.' 

“He's going to be back. He's already lifting now. He's lifting and running. I saw him yesterday lifting weights, so he's going to be back."

Hammonds expects to spend some time at both wideout and tailback, part of the 2 1/2 tailbacks that Arkansas coach Bret Bielema wants to sign in the 2016 class.

"I was talking to Coach (Michael) Smith, the wide receivers coach, about that yesterday,” Hammonds said. “He told me that he's trying to see what they want to do.

“Right now, I feel like I'm going to be playing wide receiver and running back -- mostly at running back because they might need help next year because I think Alex (Collins) is leaving."

He is fine with lining up at a lot of different spots.

"I love it because I like doing multiple things,” Hammonds said. “I just can't stay at one position. If I have to, I will, but I like doing multiple positions."

Pulaski Robinson finished the season 9-3 with a 28-27 loss at Pea Ridge in the playoffs ending the year.

"We started off great,” Hammonds said. “It was a good season for everyone. Everyone played good. It was exciting, we thought we were going to get far. 

“Everybody has high expectations for themselves, so we went into the playoffs doing what we do best. We just had a drought and the results weren't what we expected. After that, it just went down south."

• • •

Jones will join a loaded group of wide receivers at Arkansas next season.

He talked to Arkansas offensive coordinator Dan Enos over the weekend and was told he will be used similar to how the Razorbacks used junior Dominique Reed this season.

“I’m excited,” Jones said. “He’s going to out me in some different spots. Some of the things they do with Dominique are some of the things I think I’ll be able to do. He and I have similar skill sets. It’s going to be exciting.”

He was not surprised how the Arkansas offense exploded for over 3,000 yards passing this season after being a run-oriented one the past two seasons.

“I knew it was coming I was just trying to tell everyone to just chill out and wait and wait for the right time for them to air it out,” Jones said. “When you can run for three hundred why pass. The objective is to win.”

His official visit came on the heels of a home visit with Smith earlier this week. 

“That’s my dude I love him,” Jones said of Smith. “That’s one of the reasons I committed he and I click, we bonded. He bonds with his players. He can get serious but he can also play around and joke with us. That’s why we all love him.”

Jones brought a whole host of family members on the trip with him.

“That’s my support system,” Jones said. “I love them and I wouldn’t do anything without them.”

Jones got the opportunity to hang out with the other three committed players on official visits this weekend as well as current Arkansas wideout Jared Cornelius.

"It was great, a great weekend, I got to meet Grayson and got to hang out with Austin a guy I’ve never really hung out with,” Jones said. “ I know T.J., me and him are pretty cool. It was great weekend. We did a lot of fun stuff. Hung out with Jared and ate a lot. I like that so it was great.”


T.J. Hammonds

Jordan Jones


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