Arkansas received some terrific news on the recruiting trail this week when it received a commitment from four-star athlete B.J. Hanspard.
“My decision was based on me, first and foremost,” Hanspard told GN. “There were things down at Arkansas that I felt great about on my first visit. I wanted to go ahead and commit, but my parents told me to hold off and stay patient and we will come down there with you and see everything that you see.
“As soon as my family and I arrived on the campus, we were bombarded with love. It made the visit more than successful. It was a phenomenal visit. I wanted to be around that family bond and that family atmosphere. I love the coaches; they are a truly great staff.”
Hanspard (6 feet 0, 170 pounds), from DeSoto (Texas) High, is among the top-25 athletes in the country and is a top-300 prospect nationally.
He is the son of former Texas Tech All-America running back Byron Hanspard, who won the Doak Walker Award and was named the Big 12 offensive player of the year for the Red Raiders in 1996.
Despite his family history, Hanspard said there was no pressure to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“They were more worried about me and where I fit in and feel most comfortable … than they were about Texas Tech,” Hanspard said. “. . . I didn’t feel as if I was needed (at Tech).
“I didn’t want to try and live under my father’s shadow and have everyone try to compare me to him. I want to make my own way and build my own legacy. I want people to know my name and not have to mention his name. I want to make my own path and create my own legacy.”
Hanspard says his father was important in his recruitment.
“He always guided me and he was always right there through the entire process,” he said. “He answered questions that I wasn’t sure about and always made sure that I had clarity in what I needed to know. He played the biggest part in my recruiting process.”
Hanspard says one of the main reasons he committed to Arkansas was the family atmosphere he saw in Fayetteville.
“Coach (Bret) Bielema loves to teach that family atmosphere of ‘take care of family and look out for family,’ ” Hanspard Jr. said. “The coaches there love to pull greatness out of you and will not accept mediocre from you. That definitely stood out to me tremendously over the other 15 schools that I had offer me.”
Hanspard, who plans on playing cornerback at Arkansas, says he has both strengths and weaknesses.
“One thing I would say is a strength of mine is my speed and my agility,” he said. “I know how to break off the ball pretty well and I know how to catch up to a ball. I also think I have great recovery speed.
“One thing I do want to improve on is my tackling in the open field. I want to improve on that more than anything. This was my first year playing corner, so the corner spot is new to me, so I’m trying to improve my craft there so I can be successful in the future.”
With his commitment this week, Hanspard says his recruitment is over.
“I’m shutting it down at this point,” he said. “I’m not going to commit and then come back a month or two later and decommit. I don’t want to be that kind of man.
“If I say I’m going to be committed to this school, then I’m going to be committed to that school and I’m not going to turn my back on them just because I get other offers. I’m going to be a man of my word.”
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreenGN)
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