The University of Arkansas is one of the top schools for a highly regarded Florida 4-star junior offensive lineman.
Roderick Kearney, 6-4, 285 pounds, of Orange Park High School said he is in steady communication with Coach Sam Pittman and offensive line coach Cody Kennedy.
"They've been keeping up with me," Kearney said. "I like the way they've been keeping in contact. That makes me feel real good. I talk to them a lot. Checking up on me before the game. Make sure they text me."
Kearney has more than 15 scholarship offers from schools like Arkansas, Auburn, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Miami, Florida, Oregon, Ole Miss, South Carolina and others.
While the offensive line coach at Arkansas in 2013-15, Pittman had a track record of luring highly recruited out-of-state offensive linemen to Fayetteville, like Denver Kirkland, Dan Skipper, Reeve Koehler, Frank Ragnow, Brian Wallace and Jalen Merrick.
Kennedy was an offensive lineman for Southeastern Louisiana and has been coaching the line on the college level since 2012.
"I feel like O-linemen have a connection," Kearney said. " The head coach is a big O-line dude so he kind gets O-linemen. That's a good O-line school too."
He appreciates Kennedy being upfront with him while also liking how the Hogs' rushing attack has been successful this season.
"He's real, he lets you know what it is on the spot," Kearney said. "I just like the way he's real with me. He's coached a lot of good O-linemen. Their running game is crazy over there so I'm sure he's doing a good job with those dudes."
National recruiting analysts Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network rates Kearney a 4-star prospect.
"He is part of my Jacksonville area group that I'm supposed to visit in January," Lemming said. "He is outstanding and has all the tools to play tackle or guard at the next level. Long arms, quick feet and excellent body control and technique."
Kearney is looking forward to making a trip to Northwest Arkansas.
"Oh yeah, I'll definitely be down there," Kearney said. "I don't know when, but I'll definitely try and get down."
He has impressive numbers in the weight room with a 345-pound bench press, 455 squat and a 285 power clean. He grew up hoping to be a Division I prospect.
"It's real big time for me," Kearney said. "I get a chance to make a big impression on people around me. People who look up to me. I always wanted to be in this situation. Maybe make it to the league one day."
Kearney, who's one of four team captains for the Raiders, hopes to inspire others trying to reach their goals.
"Maybe me making it, they'll take it as inspiration and they can make it too," he said.
He takes being a team leader seriously.
"I try to uplift my team and make other people leaders," Kearney said. "Maybe one day they can follow in my footsteps."
Kearney has a 3.5 grade-point average and is considering sports medicine as his major in college. He likes the Arkansas facilities.
"I've never been there, but I've seen it on TV and I've seen it on a couple of videos they've sent me," he said. "Their stadium is nice, too. They have one of the nicest stadiums I've seen so far. I've been doing my home work on their facilities and the school."
Email Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org
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