Memphis lineman ready to look at UA

Posted: September 16, 2018 at 3:15 a.m.

Arkansas football helmets sit atop storage bins during a game against Mississippi State on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Fayetteville.

Despite his recent commitment to Tennessee, offensive lineman Melvin McBride said he still plans to officially visit the University of Arkansas.

He'll probably take the visit Oct. 6 for the Arkansas-Alabama game, in large part because of his relationship with Razorbacks Coach Chad Morris and offensive line coach Dustin Fry.

"We're still very close. We have a close relationship," McBride said. "Like I told them, until signing day anything could change. They said they're still highly interested in me and they still want me to be a Razorback, so I told them things could change."

McBride, 6-4, 318 pounds, of Memphis Whitehaven, is a former basketball player, and the switch in sports has helped him accumulate 18 scholarship offers, including ones from Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisville, South Carolina, Florida and others.

He also plans to officially visit Tennessee and others.

"Probably South Carolina, Louisville, maybe might get to Florida," McBride said.

McBride, who has a 350-pound bench press, a 600-pound squat and a 305-pound power clean, said he likes how the Arkansas coaches make him feel at home.

"Like very genuine and stuff like that," McBride said. "I have to show them love. I really haven't had a chance to see what they're about. Like Coach Morris said, he wants me to get down there so they can show me what they're all about. Like Tennessee, I've been to Tennessee three times so I know everything about it."

He also said it's more than football with the Razorbacks coaching staff.

"They seem like they care more about the player more than just ... they seem like more like family," McBride said. "I talked to Chase Hayden on the phone. They seem really genuine and feel like a family down there."

Growing boy

Arkansas offensive line commitment Brady Latham of Jenks, Okla., didn't look like a major college prospect two years ago as a sophomore, but hard word and a lot of eating has transformed him into just that.

"He weighed 214 pounds as a sophomore that spring and just has continued to work hard and finally started to grow into his frame, especially this past offseason," Jenks Coach Keith Riggs said.

Latham, 6-5, 290 pounds, picked the Razorbacks over offers from Utah State, New Mexico, Missouri State and others on Sept. 4. He played his junior season at around 245 pounds.

"He's playing at about 285 now, all good weight," Riggs said. "Through the increased weight, he's also gotten faster and improved his footwork and agility. He's added all that weight and has become a better athlete."

Riggs said he believes Latham has a big upside and will only get better.

"He has high ceiling," Riggs said. "When you play left tackle in high school, your technique has to be different at 235 pounds vs. 285. I think he's still learning to play at that heavier weight. I think he's going to grow some more."

Latham's story is similar to his father, Bob, who was an All-Big 8 center for Oklahoma in 1987-1988. Bob, a former teammate of Little Rock native Keith Jackson, arrived at Oklahoma weighing 215 pounds out of high school.

"He comes from a good football background," Riggs said of the younger Latham.

The outgoing and personable Latham is seldom seen without his signature smile even in the most trying circumstances.

"Brady always has a smile on his face," Riggs said. "No matter what the circumstances are, he's always smiling. We give him a hard time because media takes pictures and they want you to do a serious football look, and he can't hardly do it. He can't help but to smile."

"I think he has a 3.9 GPA and is just a joy to be around. Those are the type of guys you love to coach because he's such a hard worker and does everything you ask."

Email Richard Davenport at

rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

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Sports on 09/16/2018