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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas coach Chad Morris speaks to his players as they come off the field against LSU Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, during the second quarter of play at Razorback Stadium. Visit to see more photographs from the game. - Photo by Andy Shupe

Junior linebacker Martavius French has the University of Arkansas at the top of list because of his relationship with coach Chad Morris and special assistant Sean Tuohy.

Sept.1 marked the first day that college coaches could contact junior prospects via text or social media, and since that day Morris and Tuohy have made quite an impression on French.

"It's something that's been going on since September 1st," French said. "Coach Morris checks on me almost every two days. Even SJ, he checks on me. They're my number one choice right now."

French 6-2, 236 pounds, 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Memphis Whitehaven narrowed his list of schools down to Arkansas, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU, Oklahoma, Florida and Purdue on Tuesday.

He doesn't plan to make a commitment anytime soon, but if he did, the Hogs are in good shape.

"If I had to commit, it would be Arkansas because they're showing a lot of love," French said. "I feel like it's home and I can have a chance to play there."

ESPN rates him a 3-star prospect, the No. 17 outside linebacker and No. 263 overall prospect in the nation for the 2020 class. French recorded 135 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles and 2 recovered fumbles while leading the Tigers to a 11-4 record and a state runner-up finish in Class 6A.

He visited Arkansas in the spring of 2017 and again for the Alabama game on Oct. 6.

"I like the fans, I loved the football game," French said. "I loved the atmosphere. Even though they were down against Alabama the fans were still rooting them on. They wanted to show they were still there for them even though they were down. I loved the support."

The Hogs also are recruiting French's teammate and linebacker Bryson Eason. French said Morris is always working on them to visit Arkansas.

"Coach Morris we always talk about him tying to get us down there," French said. "He'll text us to have a good morning and a good day. He wished us Merry Christmas."

The plans are to get back to Fayetteville.

"Most likely it will be the spring," French said.

He said he feels like a member of the team when talking to Tuohy.

"We just have regular conversations like we're already a part of the Arkansas program," French said.

Arkansas always has ESPN Fan Hall of Famer Canaan Sandy in its favor. He and his mother Ginger attended two Whitehaven games this past season to support French and Eason.

"Canaan is a cool guy," French said. "He's been there for me too. He's the first college fan to come see me. That's a lot of love and support from Canaan."

He plans to visit his other finalists and other schools that extend a scholarship offer in the future.

"I believe I'll try and visit the other seven schools," French said. "My recruitment is still open so other schools can offer me I'll try and be interested him them too because I'm interested in any school that gives me the opportunity to go there."

French is looking to make his college decision this summer.

"I have a lot of schools, but I feel likeI should commit by my birthday and that's in July on the 23rd," French said.

E-mail Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline,com

Sports on 01/11/2019

Print Headline: UA pair connect with Memphis LB


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