The University of Arkansas football program has had its share of changes over the past few months.
But Bolivar High School’s Rafe Peavey said one thing has never changed during all the tumult.
“They never wavered on me with their commitment,” Peavey said Monday.
So, the rising junior quarterback made a commitment of his own, verbally agreeing to join coach John L. Smith’s squad in a couple of seasons.
Peavey made the pledge Monday morning after a weekend visit to Fayetteville.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound quarterback was also recruited by Boston College, Connecticut, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Florida, UCLA and West Virginia, according to his Rivals page.
Peavey said he received “seven or eight” scholarship offers from Division I programs.
Former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino was fired in April, and Smith was hired as his replacement later that month.
Peavey threw for 1,734 yards last fall for coach Lance Roweton’s Liberators, who finished 9-2 and won the Central Ozark Conference Small Division for the ninth straight season.
He threw 20 touchdown passes and was intercepted five times.
“I thought it might be three or four games into the season before he settled in,” Roweton said. “A lot of sophomores have a hard time speeding up with varsity play, but from day one, Rafe was fine.”
Roweton said Peavey, also a baseball player at Bolivar, has gotten stronger and faster since the season ended in November.
He went to Fayetteville on Thursday and spent time with the coaching staff.
“The facilities are probably the best in the country,” Peavey said. “I feel like I can compete at Arkansas. It’s like an NFL fan base, everyone there really cares about Arkansas football. It’s pretty neat.”
This fall, Peavey will be without star wide receiver Darnell Walker, who has graduated and will play this season at the University of Tulsa.
Running back Kolby Follis will return as Peavey’s most prolific weapon, but Roweton said Bolivar has a list of other skill-position players that will complement the signal caller.
Peavey’s older brother, Kolton, plays at the University of South Alabama. He redshirted this past fall.
Their father, Jack Peavey, served as head football coach at Southwest Baptist University in 2005 and ’06 and is now assistant athletic director for new sports implementation and football operations at Oklahoma Baptist University.
Peavey is the second Southeastern Conference recent area football recruit, as Hillcrest High School’s Dorial Green-Beckham is joining the Missouri program this year.