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July 12, 2004

UA's Vaughn making another push in Tallahassee

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Arkansas' Chris Vaughn is trying to utilize his ties to the Tallahassee (Fla.) area and is recruiting that area for the Razorbacks.

In the past, Arkansas tried to recruit various areas in the Sunshine State with just minimal success, but now Vaughn is concentrating all his efforts to just the Tallahassee area. It appears that Arkansas is recruiting around 10 athletes in or around Tallahassee. Among that group is Tallahassee FAMU wide receiver Javares Knight (6-foot-3 1/2, 190 pounds, 4.5 in the 40) who has strong family ties to Arkansas.

His cousin, wide receiver Boo Williams, was a former standout at Godby High School in Tallahassee before heading to Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College and then Arkansas. Williams is now a standout tight end with the New Orleans Saints.

"Boo has told me I need to do what he did and trust the coaches and sign with Arkansas," Knight said Sunday night. "He told me Coach [Houston] Nutt is a great coach and I should go there. He said he had a really good relationship with the coaches at Arkansas."

As a junior, Knight caught 24 passes for 540 yards and 7 touchdowns. In addition to the Razorbacks, Knight is also considering Clemson, Florida, Iowa State, Louisville, East Carolina and UCF.

"I'm still open, but Arkansas is making themselves the leader by recruiting me the hardest right now," Knight said. "Coach Vaughn is like an older brother to me. I call him and we talk just like I do with my older brother. We seemed to really click when we talked in May."

From Knight's school, Arkansas is also among the schools showing interest in athlete David Gibson (6-foot-2, 180 pounds, 4.4). As a junior, Gibson rushed 40 times for 450 yards, completed 12 passes for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns, caught 8 passes for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns and had 45 tackles with 1 interception and 8 tackles for loss on defense.

In the past, several Florida athletes have noted the distance from home was a factor when they chose another school over Arkansas. Not Knight, he is willing to go out of state if that is the best fit for him.

"Distance won't be a factor with me," Knight said. "I want to go where I can play by my sophomore year. I don't have to play right away, but I want a chance to play at least my second year."

Arkansas is also trying to get into the mix for Monticello Jefferson County quarterback Carlton Hill (6-foot-2 1/2, 202 pounds, 4.46). Hill has Miami (Fla.) really high on his list after earning MVP honors at their camp recently, but Vaughn and the Razorbacks are still trying to get a visit.

As a junior, Hill rushed 31 times for 596 yards and 9 touchdowns while also completing 139 of 280 passes for 1,627 yards, 21 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. Miami, Purdue, Michigan State and others are in the mix for this speedster who was the Class A 200-meter champ with a time of 22.14. Hill is considering attending the Seniors Camp at Arkansas.

"He's phenomenal," Jefferson County Coach Jeff Schaum told Rivals.com. "When you have an opportunity to walk in with a kid like that throwing the trigger for you it makes it pretty good....The quarterback coach at Purdue, who used to be at Marshall when Byron Leftwich was there, said he is a combination of Leftwich and [Michael] Vick."

At Godby, Williams' alma mater, the Razorbacks, Auburn, North Carolina and others recruiting tailback Roy Upchurch (6-foot, 186 pounds, 4.53).

As a junior, Upchurch rushed for 856 yards and 8 touchdowns on 142 carries while also catching 17 passes for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns. Upchurch transferred from FAMU after his sophomore season or he would still be teammates with Knight and Gibson. Auburn, North Carolina and Louisville have offered him and Arkansas is among the many schools writing him letters.

At Tallahassee Lincoln, Arkansas is recruiting a pair of standouts in tight end Travis Ferrer (6-foot-5, 230 pounds, 4.7) and defensive end Kerry Bonds (6-foot-3, 232 pounds, 4.6). Ferrer has a 3.3 GPA and has scored an 1100 on the SAT.

Ferrer said he has verbal offers from Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee as well as Louisville, South Florid and UCF.

Bonds has offers from Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, South Carolina, Louisville, Tulane and Marshall. Arkansas is among the others writing. Arkansas, Florida State and Clemson could be close to offering scholarships. Bonds has a 3.23 GPA and was close to passing the ACT on his first attempt.

Arkansas is also in the mix for a trio of players at Rickards High School in Tallahassee. Running backMichael Smith (5-foot-8, 175 pounds, 4.32), defensive end Jonathan Holsten (6-foot-5, 245 pounds, 4.67), and defensive back Kent Richardson (6-foot, 190 pounds, 4.4) are all being highly recruited by various SEC and ACC schools.

Smith rushed for 1,413 yards and 20 touchdowns in only 8 games as a junior. Arkansas, Auburn, Northwestern, Purdue and West Virginia have all offered Smith.

Holsten was considered a sleeper, but now several SEC schools are beginning to try and make a serious run at him. Richardson is a versatile athlete.

Arkansas is also taking a long look at East Gadsden defensive end Eric Cato (6-foot-3, 225 pounds, 4.8). Cato is considered open at this time.

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