Tight end U.? Gragg adds name to Razorbacks' list

Dumas tight end Will Gragg runs a play during a scrimmage Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014 in Carlisle.
Dumas tight end Will Gragg runs a play during a scrimmage Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014 in Carlisle.

DUMAS -- Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema landed another top instate prospect Tuesday when Dumas tight end Will Gragg orally committed to the Razorbacks.

Gragg chose Arkansas over scholarship offers from reportedly 40 other schools, including Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, Texas and Oregon. He is rated the No. 7 tight end and No. 214 overall prospect in the nation by ESPN.

Arkansas commitment list

2015 CLASS

PLAYER, SCHOOL;POS.;HT;WT;40

Jamario Bell, Junction City;DE/TE;6-6; 247; 4.7

Austin Cantrell, Roland, Okla.; TE;6-3 1/2;245;4.58

Daytrieon Dean, Fort Smith Northside; DE;6-3;255;4.89

Hjalte Froholdt, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG;DE;6-5;290

Will Gragg, Dumas;TE;6-4;247;4.8

K.J. Hill, North Little Rock;WR;6-1;192;4.42

Colton Jackson, Conway;OL;6-6;304;5.3

Blake Johnson, Los Alamitos, Calif.;P;6-1;190;—

Jeremiah Ledbetter, Hutchinson (Kan.) CC;DE;6-4;270;4.72

C.J. O’Grady, Fayetteville;TE;6-4;230;4.8

Zach Rogers, Carrollton (Texas) Hebron;OL;6-3;295;5.09

Deon Stewart, Highland;WR;6-1;163;4.48

Ty Storey, Charleston;QB;6-3;210; 4.92

Rawleigh Williams;Dallas Bishop Lynch;RB;5-10;198;4.51

"After much deliberation, I have decided to roll with the Hogs," Gragg said. "When I talked it over with my family, I prayed about it, and Coach B is just doing a great job with the tight ends with Hunter Henry and those guys. And you have talent like we do in the class of 2015 in the state of Arkansas, it is hard to pass up being with those guys and going up on the Hill."

Gragg, 6-4, 247 pounds, 4.8 seconds in the 40 yard dash, is the third tight end prospect from the class of 2015 to orally commit to the Razorbacks, joining Fayetteville's C.J. O'Grady and Austin Cantrell of Roland, Okla. He said he plans to enroll in January.

Gragg has 18 receptions for 187 yards and 2 touchdowns in 3 games this season. He said he liked the fact that Bielema runs two-tight end sets frequently.

"None of the other schools I was considering ran the tight ends like he does," Gragg said.

Arkansas has received commitments from eight of the nine in-state prospects it has offered. The only one who hasn't, Nashville receiver La'Michael Pettway, orally committed to Ole Miss but recently reopened his recruiting in late May.

Pettway visited Arkansas on Sept. 6 for the Razorbacks' game against Nicholls State and lists Arkansas and Ole Miss as his favorites.

Gragg is following in the footsteps of his older brother Chris, who played for the Razorbacks (2008-2012) and is currently playing in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills.

"It's a big day for [Will], a big day for his family, it's a big day for the state of Arkansas," Dumas Coach Mark Courtney said. "Will is a great kid, football player on the field and off the field. He's got a very good work ethic in the classroom as well as on the field.

"I think it's a big win for the state of Arkansas for him to stay in state."

Gragg said Henry's production as a freshman last season, when Henry was named a freshman All-American, was a plus.

" With him catching a ton of balls and making a lot of plays, I thought I could do the same," Gragg said.

Gragg had 29 receptions for 312 yards and 5 touchdowns as a junior at Pine Bluff before transferring during the offseason to Dumas. Courtney said he and Gragg talked about recruiting and Gragg's options.

"I try not to influence a kid to go anywhere, but I try and be as honest as I can," Courtney said. "If you're an Arkansas kid and if you want to retire in Arkansas and be an Arkansas guy, you need to go to Arkansas. I told him Alabama is a great program, but when it's all said and done do you want to live in Alabama the rest of your life? You want to live in Mississippi the rest of your life?"

Gragg will join his friend, highly recruited receiver K.J. Hill of North Little Rock, at Arkansas. Both visited Fayetteville on Aug. 16 and said they were impressed by the reception they received. In addition to talking with the football staff, the players also visited with Mike Anderson, the men's basketball coach, and Jimmy Dykes, the women's basketball coach.

Gragg and Hill had visited Alabama earlier in August, but Gragg said on the way back they realized Tuscaloosa wasn't the right fit for them. The visit to Arkansas convinced both that Arkansas was where they needed to be.

"We were walking on Maple [Avenue]," Gragg said. "We were just thinking, 'Dang, I think this is the place.' "

Gragg said he still plans to take official visits to Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU, Mississippi State and Texas. Oral commitments are nonbinding.

Gragg is Arkansas' 14th commitment for the 2015 class.

Sports on 09/24/2014