Bolivar’s Rafe Peavey made his commitment public last June to coach John L. Smith and the University of Arkansas football program.
And while a lot has changed since then, Peavey is still an Arkansas commit. However, as his senior year as a Liberator nears, the quarterback continues to be courted by other schools, including national powerhouses Southern Cal and Ohio State.
Peavey said Tuesday he’s still an Arkansas commit to new coach Bret Bielema’s program. But in the non-binding and ever-changing world of verbal commitments and college football recruiting, he said it would be a mistake not to explore options.
Especially when those options, according to his father Jack Peavey, include invitations to campuses this summer in Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio, to meet with coaches Lane Kiffin and Urban Meyer — giants in the college football landscape.
“I kind of feel like it’d be stupid to not talk to Ohio State and USC when they come in,” Rafe Peavey said. “It doesn’t happen to a lot of kids, and it’s a blessing, so I’m going to take the opportunity.”
Rafe and Jack Peavey are set to talk on the phone tonight to the USC coaching staff, perhaps to schedule a visit to the West Coast and meet with Kiffin and his staff.
College football head coaches are not allowed to travel to visit recruits until their senior year. However, recruits can pay their own way to visit coaches on their own campuses.
Nearly 30 schools have now offered Peavey a scholarship, Jack Peavey said, including Missouri, Kansas State, UCLA and Iowa. Jack Peavey said it’s been indicated to him that USC and Ohio State would offer the quarterback a scholarship after he meets the head coaches.
Peavey stacked up well in regional Elite 11 quarterback camps in Dallas and Chicago, according to various national recruiting websites, although he was not chosen for the national finals of the annual high school quarterback competition.
“I’ve had three or four coaches tell me that, in a combine setting, Rafe is the best kid they’ve seen in the country,” Bolivar coach Lance Roweton said.
Peavey was a standout for Bolivar last year in his second season as the starter for the Liberators, who finished 9-3 and lost in the Class 4 district final. He was adept at taking care of the ball, throwing just three interceptions against 18 touchdown passes.
But Peavey’s showings at camps throughout the country have brightened his star since the Arkansas commitment last summer.
Rivals.com lists Peavey as the No. 132 prospect nationally for the Class of 2014, and rates him as the fourth-best, dual-threat quarterback nationally in his class.
Jack Peavey, a former National Football League offensive lineman who was Southwest Baptist University’s head football coach in 2005 and ’06, has seen all sides of the recruiting game.
“It’s an interesting and long process,” said Jack Peavey, now the assistant athletic director at Oklahoma Baptist University. “I think all along Rafe has wanted to protect himself and make sure that everyone’s word is good.
“You only get one chance, but Rafe has a lot of good choices.”
Peavey’s commitment to Arkansas is non-binding until he signs a letter of intent, which cannot be signed until February of next year.
Jack Peavey said Bielema has told Rafe Peavey that his scholarship offer is still valid, and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has personally traveled to Bolivar to reaffirm that promise.
Jack Peavey said Rafe should make his intentions more rock solid soon, perhaps as early as this summer. His description of the next step indicated Mizzou and Iowa could be serious contenders for Peavey, as he named coaches Gary Pinkel of Missouri and Kirk Ferentz of Iowa.
“He can’t let people hang around, and people are trying to hang around,” Jack Peavey said. “If it’s Arkansas, then Rafe needs to declare that loud and clear. But the thing Rafe needs to do now is at some point he needs to meet with coach Chaney, coach Bielema, coach Pinkel and coach Ferentz, and tell them what’s going on.”