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Recruits optimistic about Morris

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Photographs by Ben Goff

Bentonville West receiver Jadon Jackson (1) scores a touchdown during the second quarter of a game against Bentonville on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in Bentonville.

The news of Chad Morris officially being hired as Arkansas' new head football coach Wednesday was received warmly by Razorback commitments and other prospects.

Linebacker commitment Bumper Pool, who pledged to the Hogs in November of 2016, was recruited by Morris at SMU and received his second scholarship offer from the Mustangs. He's excited about Morris as his future coach.

"The way he runs his program is about as professional as any program in the country," Pool said. "When I went to the SMU camp and took a visit to see what they do, they're men of great character. They're men that work hard. They do the little things right.

"Their offense is explosive, and they're going to make sure they don't make mistakes. It's an exciting team to be a part of. I'm really looking forward to it."

Pool, 6-2, 220 pounds, 4.79 seconds in the 40-yard dash, wanted to sign with the Hogs on Dec. 20, the first day of the early signing period that runs until Dec. 22. Now that he knows Morris is the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville coach, he plans to follow through on that plan.

"I wanted to kind of wait to see who the new coach was," Pool said, "and with Coach Morris at Arkansas, I'm 100 percent on board."

About an hour and 20 minutes after Arkansas announced Morris as the head coach, receiver Tommy Bush reported receiving a scholarship offer from the Hogs.

Bush, 6-5, 187, 4.47 of Schertz (Texas) Clemens has more than 40 scholarship offers from schools such as Texas, Southern Cal, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Florida State, Baylor, Alabama and others. He said there's a chance he might make an official visit to Fayetteville because of his fondness of Morris and his staff.

"There is a chance since we were talking with Coach Morris early on with SMU," Bush said. "We visited there and really enjoyed the coaches and how they were going to use me in the offense."

ESPN rates Bush a four-star prospect, the No. 9 receiver and No. 64 overall prospect. He saw that Morris is well liked by his players during a visit to SMU.

"He's a coach that you can see he cares about his players," Bush said. "As I walked with him at SMU, every player stopped and laughed it up with him. The offense and receiver [Courtland] Sutton's numbers kind of speak for themselves. I believe he will do great things at Arkansas."

Offensive line commitment Luke Jones, 6-5, 290, of Pulaski Academy was disappointed to see former coach Bret Bielema dismissed, but he is looking forward to talking to Morris.

"I hated seeing Coach B go, but I'm excited about Coach Morris coming in," said Jones, who plans to officially visit Notre Dame this weekend. "I'm looking forward to getting in contact with him. I hear he runs an outstanding offense."

The Dallas Morning News reported SMU offensive line coach Dustin Fry will join Morris in Fayetteville. Jones said Fry contacted him Wednesday and wants to set up an in-home visit as well as an official visit Dec. 15.

Vanderbilt linebacker commitment Alston Orji, 6-2, 230, 4.7 seconds of Rockwall, Texas, remains solid to the Commodores, but he definitely has respect for Morris, who offered him a scholarship while at SMU.

"Great guy, great coach and even better men," Orji said.

Orji is friends with numerous Dallas-Fort Worth prospects, including Pool. He believes Pool and others from the metroplex will be in good hands with Morris in Fayetteville.

"My guys headed to Fayetteville are in luck," Orji said. "I have no doubt they'll see success in their time in Fayetteville."

Bentonville junior receiver Jadon Jackson, 6-1, 180, has offers from Arkansas, Arizona State, Memphis, Missouri and Tulsa, along with interest from Alabama, Notre Dame, Penn State and others. He's not too familiar with Morris.

"There isn't much I know about Coach Morris, but I hear he's a great guy and a good coach," Jackson said.

Email Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports on 12/07/2017

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