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Hogs extend offer to land legacy

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Photographs by Andy Shupe

Arkansas coach Chad Morris speaks to reporters Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, in Fayetteville.

Joe T. Robinson junior defensive end Zach Williams has a chance to follow in his father's footsteps and become an Arkansas Razorback after receiving a scholarship offer from Coach Chad Morris on Sunday.

He and numerous other recruits visited Fayetteville for the staff's first prospect day.

His father, Rickey, played at Little Rock Parkview before lettering four years at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville from 1984-1987 and being named All Southwest Conference as a senior.

Zach Williams, 6-4, 215 pounds, 4.65 seconds on the 40-yard dash, learned about the offer during a meeting with Morris in his office along with defensive coordinator John Chavis and defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell.

"He was happy," Williams said of his father. "He probably knew it was coming."

The chance to play at the school his father starred at is enticing to Williams.

"It would be very emotional," Williams said. "I guess because ever since I was little the first thing I heard about was the Razorbacks. So coming to the point they finally offered, it's something special and I think in the future I might accept the offer."

Williams is the sixth in-state junior to receive an offer from the Hogs. The class is considered one of the better ones in the state recently, and the Razorbacks coaches let Williams know how important the class is to the program.

"They said they wanted to keep the best athletes in Arkansas, and I need to do my homework to see if I would like it," Williams said.

He used his outstanding burst off the line, speed and motor to record 65 tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 3 recovered fumbles and 1 forced fumble this season. He also has offers from Massachusetts, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe and Texas State while drawing interest from Florida, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU, Iowa State and others.

Williams was uncertain whether the Hogs would extend an offer, but he was grateful when Morris told him.

"Folks were telling me I was going to get an offer, but you can never be sure so I was like I'll believe it when I see it," Williams said. "I was grateful and thankful. The head coach came and talked to me and I felt special."

The elder Williams is thrilled his son has a chance to be a Razorback.

"Any father would want that," Rickey Williams said. "When you come to a program when you're 18 years old, you never think about having kids and that they raise up to the level of competitiveness that they can play at this level. It's a true blessing."

After spending time with Morris, Chavis and Caldwell, Rickey Williams was impressed.

"I think they're very real to their craft and true to their word and very honest with their opinion, and they were very upfront," Rickey Williams said. "Coach Morris, I can see why he's successful just the way he energizes folks. When we walked into his office he just lit up the room. Coach John Chavis was absolutely incredible. I don't think I met a more genuine person. Coach Steve Caldwell is also a dynamic guy."

Zach Williams said he'll take his time while making his college decision, but he will compare other schools to what he experienced Sunday.

"That will be in the back of my mind to each school I go to," Williams said.

The Razorbacks coaches preached priorities to Williams.

"They said you have to make sure you focus on your faith, family and education first, and then you can think about football," he said.

Email Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports on 02/13/2018

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