FAYETTEVILLE — On Wednesday, Bentonville West’s Jonas Higson made it official as he accepted a preferred walk-on offer from the University of Arkansas.
He inked with the Hogs on Wednesday. Higson, 6-2, 220, is a very versatile recruit who played all over the field on both sides of the ball for Bentonville West. At Arkansas he will be a tight end. Thursday night, Higson talked about why he chose the Razorbacks.
“I’ve pretty much lived in Arkansas my entire life,” Higson said. “I moved here when I was three. Ever since then I’ve grown up pretty much watching the Hogs. Going down there on Saturdays watching their games. It has always been something I’ve really thought about and always been a dream and getting to run out of the snout and playing in front of 60,000-plus people on Saturdays. What made me really choose it is not only the lifelong dream of playing for Arkansas, but how amazing the coaching staff is, the facilities and especially the fan base. The fan base here is unreal.”
As a senior in nine games, Higson rushed 24 times for 115 yards and three touchdowns while also catching 20 passes for 327 yards and three more touchdowns. On defense, Higson had 59 tackles, including 39 solo, four sacks, two interceptions and four pass breakups. He talked about how it came about he will be a tight end for the Razorbacks.
“Our football team doesn’t run a true tight end,” Higson said. “But what our coaches have done is use me in a few different ways. Using me in the slot, playing at fullback and playing at running back as well. I think what the tight end’s coach at Arkansas (Jon Cooper) saw from that is I’m able to be versatile. I would be good playing in the tight end spot because I’ve shown I can get down and block defensive linemen, outside linebackers and I can also go out and catch a pass as well as do a lot of things out of the backfield.”
Higson is still building a relationship with Cooper, but likes what he has seen thus far.
“I think he’s amazing,” Higson said. “I’ve only got to speak with him in person twice, but I think he’s a real down-to-earth guy. I think his coaching style is amazing. I think it works really well with how I like to play. He came from UCF and they have a really good program. I think he’s gonna come in here and be successful really, really quick. I think he’s gonna do a great job of developing his players.”
Sam Pittman said on Wednesday the team wants five tight ends on scholarship. They currently have three so the path for a walk on to get on the field may be there this fall. Higson talked about that.
“I think the opportunity is there,” Higson said. “I think the opportunity for me is amazing. That’s another reason I chose Arkansas. I had full scholarship offers from a couple D-I schools. Those were at linebacker, but the opportunity playing at Arkansas will really open doors for throughout life. When Coach Cooper and I talked when he came out to my school he said there’s only three tight ends in his meeting room right now and that to me is huge. I have a chance to come in and get reps really quick and prove myself.”
Higson turned down scholarship offers at Lamar, Southwest Baptist, Arkansas Tech, Southwestern Oklahoma State, Northeastern State, East Central University and Air Force to attend Arkansas.
He talked about both his strengths and weaknesses on the football field.
“To me what I think my strengths are is being so versatile and it has really been good to me the last four years of high school because I’ve played many different positions on both sides of the ball and even on special teams,” Higson said. “I think that says a lot about me and what I can do for a football team. It’s not just by one position so me gives a lot of opportunity to play and gives me a better chance of getting playing time. I’m willing to do whatever the coach needs me to do to help the team out. I’m ready to take on whatever my role needs to be to help the team win and I think that’s some of my biggest strengths.
“Some of my biggest weaknesses could be to play tight end especially at the University of Arkansas and the SEC I would need to get a little bit bigger. Put on some more weight while also maintaining speed.”