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story.lead_photo.caption Ty'Kieast Crawford

In the midst of a busy sports weekend in Fayetteville, something big happened Sunday that kind of flew under the radar.

For all the great recruiting work done by Arkansas football coach Chad Morris and his staff since they've arrived, they somewhat quietly added their highest-ranked player to this point after his official visit.

Carthage, Texas, offensive lineman Ty'Kieast Crawford (6-5, 320 pounds) is regarded as the 71st-best player nationally overall and the 10th-best offensive line prospect, according to 247 Sports.

Crawford is a tackle prospect with a great motor that projects to potentially being a three-year player in college before jumping to the NFL.

It was the fourth time since last November that Crawford made a trip to Fayetteville, and there was one constant theme.

"Same thing that I liked the other time -- it's like family," Crawford said. "They treated me like family once again. That's the main thing I like about it."

Crawford, who had been privately committed for more than a month, publicly announced his pledge to the Razorbacks over Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Missouri, USC, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas Tech, Colorado, Houston and others.

Crawford became Arkansas' first offensive line pledge and its sixth overall commitment of the 2020 class on the same day that Crockett tight end Allen Horace (6-6, 242) became the fourth Texan to commit to the class.

Crawford arrives at the point of impact with violent contact on his mind and is also athletic enough to get to the second level and take down linebackers and even secondary guys.

Crawford also has a big personality, the type that can capture fans and national media's attention with his outgoing manner and propensity to offer up great quotes.

"I'm just here to have fun and get things done," Crawford said. "I love the game. How can you not when you get to do this? I love going out and trying to dominate and have fun doing it."

Crawford, who committed to Baylor in the summer of 2018 before more elite schools came calling, entered his Arkansas official visit with no plan to go public with his decision.

He wanted to keep it private until after the 2019 season, but Morris and Razorbacks offensive line coach Dustin Fry pushed for him to get his pledge out to help Arkansas land other top prospects as it headed into the April 15-May 31 spring evaluation period.

The Texas roots of Morris and Arkansas running backs coach Jeff Traylor were a factor. Traylor heads up the Razorbacks' recruiting efforts in East Texas.

"Coach Traylor is from the 903; Coach Morris is from the 903," Crawford said of his home area code. "So it's family. When I visit, I am leaving family to come back to family, so it is like home."

It appears Arkansas won't have to worry about Alabama making a another push to get Crawford, who was not all that impressed with his visit to Tuscaloosa, Ala.

"It was alright, but to me it's not the hype that everybody was talking about," Crawford said. "I was expecting it to be, but it really wasn't."

The addition of Crawford could also be a plus in landing Carthage athlete Keontay Dixon (6-0, 173), who took an official visit to Arkansas a week before his teammate.

Dixon caught 73 passes for 1,184 yards and 9 touchdowns, and rushed for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns as a junior.

"Ty'Kieast is in my ear sometimes," Dixon said. "He talks about what it would be like if we joined them."

Sports on 04/18/2019

Print Headline: Hogs quietly recruit highly rated player

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