Photographs by Andy Shupe
Arkansas offensive line coach Dustin Fry directs his players Saturday, March 10, 2018, during practice at the university practice field in Fayetteville.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Tony Buford, the father of offensive line recruit Jack Buford, felt like he and his wife and son were visiting family during their official visit to Arkansas on May 4-6.
"I thought the trip from start to finish was top-notch," Tony Buford said. "I liked everything about it. The trip in itself seemed more like visiting family versus being a recruiting visit."
The elder Buford was impressed with Coach Chad Morris and his staff.
"I thought Coach Morris and his entire staff did an awesome job of being very informative and receptive, and I think they pretty much felt the same way," Buford said. "They said we were one of the best families they ever hosted in their entire recruiting process. That was pretty cool as well."
Jack Buford, 6-5, 325 pounds, of St. Louis Lutheran North has more than 30 scholarship offers from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Oklahoma, Missouri, Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia and others. CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming rates Buford a four-star recruit.
Prospects and their families are fed well during all-expense-paid official visits. About an hour after their flight landed in Northwest Arkansas, Tony said they were treated to a delicious meal provided by a local barbecue restaurant.
"They had an enormous spread that was very, very, very good," he said.
The Jerry and Gene Jones Family Student Athlete Success Center is one of the nation's top facilities.
"I thought the academic center was phenomenal, and then their approach to it," Tony said. "That entire staff was awesome as well, and we really felt comfortable with the visit and the trip."
Tony, who played linebacker at Tulsa and one season with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1987, wasn't surprised by the Hogs' athletic facilities.
"Jack and my wife were sure definitely impressed," he said. "I just know that Arkansas is a top program as far as facilities and backing from the various ... obviously Wal-Mart, Jones, and J.B. Hunt and Tyson. Basically the facilities were outstanding and Jack was really impressed with them."
The academic and recruiting staff at Arkansas highlighted the trip for Angela Buford. She also liked Morris' focus on faith.
"The one comment she made about Coach Morris was that, 'If you ever stop coaching, you definitely have a future in being a pastor, a minster,' " Tony said of his wife. "So she liked the spiritual side he definitely stresses and the things they do as far as community service. Giving back. She was most impressed with those things."
The Bufords have made several unofficial visits to schools, but the trip to Fayetteville was their first of five expected official visits. Tony compared the Arkansas visit with the other trips.
"If I could dissect that as far as that's concerned, even though it was the first official visit, so at the same time I would put it right at the top regardless of whether it was unofficial or official," he said. "Just the synergy between us and the staff was outstanding."
He would feel comfortable seeing his son play for offensive line coach Dustin Fry.
"Coach Fry is a great guy, great guy," Buford said. "A lot of energy. Fun to engage with. I was very impressed with Coach Fry. Even though he's a younger coach, his experience in the NFL and his entire playing career at Clemson, all those things were outstanding."
Tony said he and his wife would be on board if Jack wanted to attend Arkansas.
Email Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports on 05/15/2018
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