Four-Star D-Lineman Checks Out Arkansas


FAYETTEVILLE — Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett Class of 2023 four-star defensive tackle Kayden McDonald got to see what the University of Arkansas has to offer on Saturday.

McDonald, 6-3, 315, has several ties to the state of Arkansas. He still has several relatives in Mineral Springs, where his mom is from and elsewhere in the state. His father was a basketball standout at Saratoga High School. He talked about how the visit went on Saturday.

“They welcomed me with open arms,’ McDonald said. “The whole staff I went into Coach (Sam) Pittman’s office and he was telling me how real it is. He recruited heavily out of my school when he was at Georgia. A lot of the staff is from Georgia.  From the start to the end of the day I had a really good time. I had a great time it felt like a family atmosphere. Coach Pittman is one of the best coaches in college football. I was blown away by the facilities.”

 McDonald talked about the highlight of the visit.

“He (Pittman) made time for everybody,” McDonald said. “He’s happy, everybody is happy. They just keep it real with me. If you want to get me you have to recruit my mom too. Arkansas is hometown and I felt the hometown love. I’m blown away by this experience. I’m blown away I had a great time It’s a blessing.”

McDonald said he got to spend a lot of time talking to Pittman during the visit.

“I talked to him in his office when we were eating,” McDonald said. “Pretty much all day. It was a blessing. Coach Pittman is one of the greatest coaches. I want to go to a stable college where coaches won’t leave every year. He said he’s staying here forever until he retires. Coach Pittman kept it real.”

Jimmy Smith got the ball rolling as far as offering McDonald. He turned it over to Deke Adams when the new defensive line coach got on campus. McDonald is impressed with Adams.

“They showed me what it’s about,” McDonald said. “They kept it real with me. They showed real interest in me. Like they need me to compete. Coach Pittman was telling me you come here and compete you could probably be a freshman starter.”

McDonald and his mom and some family arrived in Fayetteville on Friday. He celebrated his birthday while in Fayetteville. On Friday night when they went out to eat the fans were already encouraging him to be a Razorback.

“This is the first time being in Fayetteville and the whole town,” McDonald said. “When I went to the restaurant everybody showed love. It was crazy I had a great time. It was unbelievable. They were saying commit, commit. It was a great feeling.”

Did the visit help the Razorbacks?

“Definitely considering Arkansas, it’s the hometown,” McDonald said. “I definitely want to get back up here for a game to see how the atmosphere is. The way the treat me on an unofficial was amazing and I love it.”

Now McDonald will get a chance to see some other schools and compare them to Arkansas.

“I’m going Auburn next week and the following week I’m going to Oklahoma and during spring break I’m visiting Florida,” McDonald said.

As a junior, McDonald dominated anyone who lined up in front of him. He had 95 tackles, 62 for loss and 20 sacks. As one would expect, McDonald has over 30 scholarship offers including basically all the national powers.

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