FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas is still moving a player or two around to have enough depth at tight end for the 2021 season, but thanks to some recruiting that issue will be solved in coming years.
The Razorbacks have commitments from Clarendon’s Dax Courtney and Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County’s Tyrus Washington for the Class of 2022. And thanks to an outstanding end to this week Arkansas has landed Ashdown’s Shamar Easter and Eudora (Kan.) High School’s Jaden Hamm. All four were highly recruited and had a long list of national offers. Courtney and Washington are rated three-star recruits while both Hamm and Easter are four-stars.
Cody Kennedy was hired to coach tight ends when the Hogs had a vacancy following the 2020 season. However when Brad Davis opted to leave for LSU then Kennedy moved to the offensive line. Sam Pittman then hired Dowell Loggains, a former Razorback, to coach the tight ends.
Loggains has been an offensive coordinator for four NFL teams and a quarterback coach for another. He also has interviewed for two NFL head coaching jobs. Kennedy kept the transition smooth from Jon Cooper to himself and then when Loggains came on board.
Courtney committed while Cooper was the coach. Courtney quick took a great liking to Kennedy and now with Loggains. Washington committed to Arkansas on July 7, Easter this past Friday and then Hamm on Saturday night. Loggains talked earlier this week about how recruiting was going for him.
“I think the NFL experience helps a lot because I know it’s where all these guys want to play,” Loggains said. “I think any time you can sell something you passionately believe in, it makes it tremendously easier. Two things we have to sell here that I believe in, that’s the University of Arkansas and Sam Pittman. When you can sell those two things and it’s coming from the heart, kids feel that. You can’t bs an 18-year-old kid or a 16 to 17-year-old kid. They know who’s real and who’s not. It’s easy for me to do that and I enjoy it because I’m selling something I really believe in.”
Hudson Henry is a redshirt sophomore who is playing for Loggains now. He talked about how he found out Loggains would be his new coach.
“It’s actually kind of funny how Coach Pittman told us that he was going to be our new tight ends coach.” Henry said. “We were sitting in a team meeting. Coach Brad Davis, he had just gone to LSU. So we’re sitting in there, and he says, ‘I love bringing in alumni in here to talk to you guys.’ He said, ‘I’m going to bring up Dowell Loggains. He’s been coaching in the NFL for a long time.’
“I’m just kind of sitting back in my chair going, ‘Oh, OK. This guy is pretty cool, I guess. He played for the Hogs.’ He’s giving this big, ol’ speech, and Coach Pittman was like, ‘You guys just talked to your new tight ends coach.’ We were all like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Because he’d just given his resume. He’d been an OC for a long, long time. He’s really tenured in the NFL and he has a lot of experience, He’s worked with a lot of guys. He’s a quarterback. He’s worked with quarterbacks. The transition to tight end, that’s just been amazing for him.”
Blake Kern also talked about what it’s like to have Loggains coaching the tight ends.
“Coach Loggains, he brings an asset to the room of seeing the whole picture on any given play throughout practice,” Kern said. “He teaches us the grand scheme of the picture instead of just seeing it through a straw. He calls out every single thing and makes us think about things that we wouldn’t traditionally as tight ends.
“That just gives us a better understanding of what’s going on in the whole play and the big picture. As football players, you’ve got to see the whole picture in order to be successful. And that’s what he does a great job of. And he brings it down to a level where everybody in the room can understand it. That’s just how he’s taught. Every coach has their own teaching style. The coaches we’ve had have progressed us in certain areas, and I think that he’s kind of put another layer on top of that board of what our coaches through now have taught us. So pretty cool to see, and pretty cool to learn from him.”
Arkansas signed Little Rock Parkview tight end Erin Outley in the Class of 2021. Arkansas had John Mackey Award winners in both 2010 (D.J. Williams) and 2015 (Hunter Henry) and with the way recruiting is going at that position now a third recipient wouldn’t be surprising.