Tray­lor plays big role on RB sign­ing

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - The Second Page - RICHARD DAVEN­PORT Read Richard Daven­port’s RE­CRUIT­ING BLOG whole­hogsports.com/re­cruit­ing/

The Univer­sity of Arkansas had to fend off Ole Miss to sign run­ning back A’Mon­tae Spivey, and the Ra­zor­backs were able to do so in large part be­cause of as­so­ciate head coach and run­ning backs coach Jeff Tray­lor. Spivey, 6-1, 207 pounds, 4.4 sec­onds in the 40-yard dash, of Phenix City (Ala.) Cen­tral, com­mit­ted to the Ra­zor­backs on Aug. 6 over LSU, Pur­due, Cincin­nati and oth­ers, Ole Miss came in late with a schol­ar­ship of­fer on Nov. 18, and Spivey even­tu­ally took an of­fi­cial visit to Ox­ford, Miss., on Jan. 25-27. De­spite the trip, he signed with the Hogs on Wed­nes­day. Cen­tral run­ning backs coach Keith Wicker cred­its Tray­lor for land­ing Spivey. “Coach Tray­lor did an un­be­liev­able job,” Wicker said. Wicker was so im­pressed that he made sure to let Arkansas Coach Chad Mor­ris know his thoughts when Mor­ris, Tray­lor and of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Joe Crad­dock vis­ited the school on Feb.1. “I even told Coach Mor­ris you need to give him a raise be­cause you knew he was on [the] up-andup,” Wicker said. “You knew he was truth­ful.” Wicker has a rep­u­ta­tion as a straight shooter and Spivey no­ticed the same with Tray­lor. “A’Mon­tae even said coach re­minded him of me, he’s a truth teller,” Wicker said.”He didn’t feed him a line of this and that.” Spivey had 74 car­ries for 994 yards and 14 touch­downs as a ju­nior. As a se­nior, he rushed 178 times for 1,338 yards and 19 touch­downs to lead the Red Devils to 14-0 record and the Class 7A state cham­pi­onship. Tray­lor vis­ited the school when­ever he could do so within NCAA re­cruit­ing guide­lines. “My mom lives in Ben­tonville, Arkansas, and I know how far that is,” Wicker said. “I prom­ise you I saw him more than I saw any coaches that lived closer. I saw him at the state cham­pi­onship game and a game in At­lanta. We played in the Cam New­ton clas­sic. He was there.” Wicker also praised Mor­ris and Crad­dock’s ef­forts in re­cruit­ing Spivey. “He went there be­cause they showed they wanted him,” Wicker said. “They didn’t have to have him, but they wanted him and if he came there they would make him bet­ter.” He’s fol­lowed Mor­ris’ stops at Clem­son and SMU prior to his hir­ing at Arkansas. “I know he came from Dabo Swin­ney and I see so much of him,” Wicker said. “Just an easy go­ing, I’m not higher than you, down-toearth. Just re­lates well to kids or teenagers.” Wicker sees Mor­ris get­ting the job done in Fayet­teville. “I know what Coach Mor­ris did at Clem­son and how they turned it around and how he did SMU,” Wicker said.”I be­lieve in him.” Wicker said Arkansas is get­ting a tal­ented run­ning back with a high foot­ball IQ. “He’s al­ways been blessed with speed, but now he’s un­der­stand­ing how the of­fen­sive line blocks and where the crack is com­ing from where a kick-out block is com­ing from,” Wicker said. “He shows so much pa­tience.” Spivey can plant his foot and ac­cel­er­ate with­out break­ing stride. “He doesn’t have to slow down to make cuts,” Wicker said. “I al­ways com­pare him to Shaun Alexan­der that played at Alabama. He was a 4.7 guy, but he made his cuts at 4.7, too.” Wicker said Spivey’s com­bi­na­tion of speed and vi­sion sep­a­rates him from oth­ers. One ex­am­ple came against Thomp­son in the state ti­tle game. “They have eight D-I play­ers on the team, three of them go­ing to Alabama,” Wicker said. “We called a play to the left and he sticks his foot in the ground and he out runs ev­ery­body back to the right.” Cen­tral is tra­di­tion­ally loaded with tal­ent and has sev­eral tal­ented un­der­class­men Arkansas and oth­ers are re­cruit­ing and have ex­tended schol­ar­ships to. Ap­prox­i­mately 40 Di­vi­sion-I schools vis­ited Cen­tral in the last three weeks of the con­tact pe­riod that ended Feb.2. “Ev­ery SEC school and ev­ery SEC head coach has been in our of­fice the last two weeks be­fore the dead pe­riod,” Wicker said. Wicker said he be­lieves the Hogs could ben­e­fit hav­ing signed Spivey. “I tell A’Mon­tae go there and do good and be a pipe­line for these other kids,” Wicker said. “Show them you can go away.” There’s a chance Wicker and oth­ers on Cen­tral’s coach­ing staff make their way to Fayet­teville dur­ing spring prac­tice. “They’ve of­fered an in­vi­ta­tion for our whole staff to come out and spend the week of spring train­ing with them and pick their brains and watch prac­tice,” Wicker said. Email Richard Daven­port at rdav­en­[email protected]­line.com

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.