In­side

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - THE RE­CRUIT­ING GUY

BEAVER­TON, Ore. — Tackle Devon­tae Dobbs was the only ju­nior of­fen­sive line­man at The Open­ing, and he was grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity.

Of­ten­times high-pro­file prospects have a sense of en­ti­tle­ment while at­tend­ing a pres­ti­gious event such as The Open­ing, where 166 of the top play­ers in the na­tion com­peted for three days at Nike Head­quar­ters. Dobbs was the op­po­site of those play­ers.

“It’s a true bless­ing,” Dobbs said. “This is the best ex­pe­ri­ence I’ve ever had build­ing re­la­tion­ships with the top play­ers in the coun­try.”

He cred­its the way he was raised for be­ing so ap­pre­cia­tive of at­tend­ing The Open­ing.

“That’s just where I came from and the way I was raised just to be hum­ble,” said Dobbs, who has a 29.8-inch ver­ti­cal jump. “When you get some­thing, it doesn’t mean you have to flash it. You never have to brag; you never have to show it off. Just keep it to your­self, keep your head down and keep push­ing.”

Dobbs, 6-5, 290 pounds of Belleville, Mich., has schol­ar­ship of­fers from schools such as Michi­gan, Ohio State, Alabama, UCLA, LSU, Auburn, Penn State, Ore­gon and nu­mer­ous oth­ers. He re­ceived an of­fer from Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville Coach Bret Bielema dur­ing an April 5 visit to cam­pus with some team­mates.

He con­nected with of­fense line coach Kurt An­der­son dur­ing the trip.

“It went pretty good,” Dobbs said. “The O-line coach was pretty laid-back, he was pretty chill. He’s a per­son you could re­ally con­nect with.”

Dobbs re­mains in­ter­ested in the Hogs and wants to re­turn to Fayet­teville.

“The in­ter­est level is pretty high,” Dobbs said. “They’re al­ways send­ing me let­ters show­ing me they’re in­ter­ested in me. I want to get back there as soon as pos­si­ble.”

The Hogs’ fa­cil­i­ties caught Dobbs off guard.

“Yeah, the fa­cil­i­ties were pretty nice, and I wasn’t ex­pect­ing that,” Dobbs said. “They had a real good weight room.”

Dobbs felt a good vibe with the Ra­zor­back coach­ing staff be­cause of Michi­gan ties. Of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dan Enos played and coached at Michi­gan State along with be­ing the head coach of Cen­tral Michi­gan. An­der­son played and coached at Michi­gan and Eastern Michi­gan.

“The way they wel­come,” Dobbs said. “A whole lot of the coaches are from Michi­gan and some played at Cen­tral Michi­gan and some played at Michi­gan and Michi­gan State. I feel like that’s a good back­ground they have.”

He em­braced the chance to learn from sev­eral of the NFL play­ers work­ing at The Open­ing, which ended Mon­day.

“I want to take some stuff back home,” he said. “I want to bet­ter my whole of­fen­sive line and the team.”

SCRATCH­ING SUR­FACE

Arkansas Ra­zor­backs of­fen­sive line tar­get Cur­tis Dun­lap Jr. is ESPN’s No. 2 rated cen­ter and No. 121 over­all prospect.

Dun­lap, 6-5, 363, of IMG Academy in Braden­ton, Fla., has more than 40 schol­ar­ship of­fers, but he an­nounced a top five of Arkansas, Florida, Ok­la­homa, Ge­or­gia and Michi­gan on March 26.

ESPN re­cruit­ing co­or­di­na­tor Craig Haubert is im­pressed with Dun­lap’s de­sire to get bet­ter.

“Dun­lap is an in­ter­est­ing guy,” Haubert said. “He’s still com­ing along. He’s re­ally worked hard to make sure the size he car­ries is the right size. He’s not just a big body. You’re start­ing to see this time over the last year that he’s mak­ing strides to do that. I think one thing in talk­ing to him is he wants to

get bet­ter.”

Dun­lap, who plans to visit all five of his fi­nal­ists and make a de­ci­sion in Oc­to­ber, is plan­ning to en­roll in Jan­uary at his school of choice. Haubert be­lieves Dun­lap has a higher ceil­ing than many oth­ers at his po­si­tion.

“I think when you look at some of the best cen­ters in the coun­try, would you in­clude him in that group?” Haubert said. “Yes, but he’s a lit­tle bit fur­ther along than some of those guys, but also with that comes some more up­side.”

Email Richard Daven­port at rdav­en­port@arkansason­line.com

RICHARD DAVEN­PORT

Dun­lap

Dobbs

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