Myke Tavarres had never been to the state of Arkansas before this week, but had an offer to play for the Razorbacks.
After his visit to the University of Arkansas, the Razorbacks have a much better chance to land the junior college linebacker.
Tavarres, an outside linebacker at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed, Calif., said his visit was crucial in making Arkansas a contender in his final decision.
"Part of the reason I wasn't comfortable committing to Arkansas was that I had never been, but being able to take a trip to Fayetteville and see how the staff does everything will play a big part in my decision now," he said.
Tavarres said he met the whole coaching staff, but talked mostly with linebackers coach Taver Johnson, Kris Cinkovich and John L. Smith and was encouraged in his meetings with the staff.
"The way they spoke to me was great," Tavarres said. "They didn't speak to me like I was on a recruiting trip. They spoke to me like they really just loved talking to me and made me feel welcome while I was there.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Sophomore said he also got the chance to hang out with senior linebackers Matt Marshall and Alonzo Highsmith and fullback Kiero Small and they were able to share some advice with him about his upcoming decision.
"They were all really open about how they feel and how they handled it, but they told me not to rush into anything and take my time when it comes to choosing the school I want to go to," Tavarres said.
The trip to Arkansas gave Tavarres a good idea of what playing for the Razorbacks would look like, but said he still considers Arizona as his other top choice.
"I loved the coaching staff at Arizona and was intrigued that Rich Rodriguez brought his whole entire staff from West Virginia back together now," Tavarres said. "I'm also more familiar with the Pac-12 being from California and having that familiarity and being a little closer to home would be nice to have."
Even though he is more familiar with the Pac-12, the California native said he is glad to have an offer to play in the SEC.
"I love the fact that the SEC is the top conference in the country and it has players that are the best of the best and is the highest level of competition in college football," Tavarres said.
Tavarres said he had originally hoped to make a decision on August 1, but the deadlock between Arizona and Arkansas may cause him to take more time, just as he had been advised by fellow former junior college players, Highsmith and Small.
Tavarres includes Arkansas in final two
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