Two-sport athlete puts Razorbacks on his map

Posted: February 4, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

An Arkansas Razorback helmet at Chad Morris introductory press conference Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

The nation's top-rated junior cornerback prospect Maurice Hampton is looking to visit the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville football and baseball programs this spring.

Coach Chad Morris and defensive coordinator John Chavis visited his school recently to check on the two-sport star.

"It was cool for the head coach and the new defensive coordinator coming by my school last week," Hampton said. "I look forward to going and visiting in Fayetteville and seeing what they have to offer."

Hampton, 5-11, 190 pounds, 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Memphis University High School committed to LSU in July of 2016, but that hasn't stopped schools such as Arkansas, Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Florida and others from extending offers to him.

He hopes to attend spring practice for the Hogs and a baseball game this spring.

Cornerbacks coach Mark Smith has been in steady contact with Hampton in hopes of getting him to Fayetteville for a visit.

"He texts me every other day since he got the job, and the new head coach might hit me up once or twice a week," Hampton said.

ESPN rates him the No. 1 cornerback and the No. 21 overall prospect for the 2019 class. Perfect Game rates Hampton the No. 8 outfielder and No. 29 overall baseball prospect in the 2019 class nationally and the No. 1 prospect in Tennessee.

Hampton has a 3.3 grade-point average while taking all honors classes at a school that's known for high academic standards. He could be a high round draft pick in the 2019 Major League Baseball summer draft, and the money might be too hard to turn down.

"That's definitely an option. It depends how well I play this summer," Hampton said. "This summer is going to be huge for me; I have a lot of big events I have to go to. It just depends on the summer and if somebody thinks I'm worth a lot of money and it's too much to turn down."

If he does attend college, LSU will be tough to beat out.

"I grew up an LSU fan and I have family in Louisiana so that's always been my dream school, but I'm keeping my options open," Hampton said. "I'll take all five of my official visits. For me, it's the feel of the program and coaches, the quality of education I'm going to get."

Hampton knows Razorbacks freshman running back Chase Hayden and his father Aaron. Hayden signed with the Hogs out of Collierville (Tenn.) St. George's.

"Chase and I are real cool," Hampton said. "We both grew up in Memphis so we pretty much all know each other.

"I know he loves Arkansas. He's looking forward to starting a new relationship with the new coaches. I'll get with him and see how he feels about them."

RB target

Arkansas Coach Chad Morris and his staff have been aggressive in extending offers to junior and sophomore prospects. Darwin Barlow, one of the top junior running back prospects in Texas, received one of them.

"I'm very blessed and honored to receive this offer," Barlow said. "I mean, I watched the Razorbacks for years on TV and I liked their style of play. I am very interested in getting to know the coaches."

Barlow, 5-11, 195, of Newton, Texas, received his offer from the Hogs on Jan. 25 and has others from schools such as TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Missouri, SMU and others. He's familiar with former Razorbacks cornerback D.J. Dean, who's also from Newton.

He and Dean plan to discuss the Hogs.

"We haven't really talked about it yet, but he was gonna hit me up soon about it when he gets the chance," Barlow said.

The Hogs also have offered junior cornerback Tamauzia Brown and sophomore defensive end James Sylvester at the school. Barlow, Brown and Sylvester plan to visit Arkansas in three weeks. Junior athlete Joshua Foster received an offer from the Razorbacks Saturday night and might also make the trip in February.

Running backs coach Jeff Traylor recruits east Texas and is leading the efforts to get Barlow and his teammates to Fayetteville.

"It's pretty good. It's getting better as we talk," Barlow said of his relationship with Traylor. "But when the time comes for me to be able to talk to him a lot, he said it would be better."

Email Richard Davenport atrdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports on 02/04/2018