By Otis Kirk
Arkansas is on the verge of its best football recruiting class in recent memory.
Chad Morris watched as his first team at Arkansas struggled on the field, but there has been a lot of success on the recruiting trail. The early signing period is Dec. 19-21.
Rivals.com rates the class No. 11 in the nation. That is fifth in the SEC. Rivals has, in order, Alabama, Texas A&M, Georgia and LSU ranked 1-4 nationally. ESPN places the Hogs No. 16 which is eighth in the SEC. They have Alabama (1), Texas A&M (2), Georgia (4), LSU (6), Auburn (12), Ole Miss (14) and Tennessee (15).
The Razorbacks currently have 23 public commitments which leaves six spots available. There’s a pair of prospects who have told the Hogs they are coming as well, but haven’t gone public.
Arkansas hosted three uncommitted prospects for official visits this past weekend along with four who had previously committed. The uncommitted prospects were all three junior college players. East Mississippi Community College linebacker Sci Martin, 6-4, 230, may have summed it up best when asked if there is a chance he makes a commitment to the Hogs?
“Yeah, hell yeah,” Martin said. “Yes there is.”
Martin is an interesting prospect. He was in the Class of 2016 out of New Orleans (La.) McDonogh 35 and signed with LSU. He played a season at LSU and then this season at the junior college. He finished with 36 tackles, 6.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.
Oklahoma and Kansas are the competition for Martin. Les Miles is using his Louisiana ties to try and make his mark in that state on the recruiting trail. Martin told Hogville.net and Pig Trail Nation he will be enrolling at his new school in January.
Arkansas could have a tremendous week by Wednesday. Iowa Central College offensive tackle Myron Cunningham, 6-6, 300, will choose between the Hogs and Oklahoma on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, Lackawanna (Pa.) Community College offensive tackle Chibueze Nwanna, 6-8, 320, will announce his decision between the Razorbacks and Maryland. Arkansas hosted both this past weekend and sources indicate they expect both to choose the Hogs. Both are also midterm enrollees.
Some other recruiting developments are Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson safety Myles Brooks, 6-2, 190, who committed to the Hogs on July 28, will sign on Feb. 6 with the Razorbacks.
Harvey (La.) West Jefferson cornerback Gregory Brooks, 5-10, 178, who is committed to Mississippi State and visited there this past weekend, will announce his final decision on Dec. 19. He will sign with the Bulldogs or Arkansas on that day. Kansas State and Kansas also are trying to still make a run at Brooks.
Arkansas secondary coach Mark Smith continues to work the D-FW Metroplex extremely hard. He will see the Mansfield Legacy pair of defensive linemen Enoch Jackson, 6-0, 290, and Taurean Carter, 6-4, 253, tonight. Both are pledged to the Hogs. On Wednesday, Smith will then see safety Jalen Catalon, 5-9, 180. He is also from Mansfield Legacy and is expected to make his commitment in January and then sign in February. He is considering the Hogs, Texas, TCU and Oklahoma. Arkansas hopes to add him to the other two for a nice haul from that school.
The Razorbacks continue to pursue Dodge City (Kan.) Community College linebacker Lakia Henry, 6-1, 225, who is committed to Tennessee. John Chavis is heading the recruiting efforts for him and Martin. This season, Henry finished with 77 tackles, including 50 unassisted, three tackles for loss and one fumble recovery. Henry took an official visit to Arkansas the Nov. 10-12 weekend for the LSU game. He told Hogville.net and Pig Trail Nation at that time he won’t sign early instead inking in February. He isn’t a midterm recruit.
The Hogs continue to keep a close eye on the graduate transfer quarterback market and who might be available. Some more are expected to become available following the bowl games. Clemson grad transfer Kelly Bryant chose Missouri on Dec. 4.
Former Denton (Texas) Guyer four-star quarterback Shawn Robinson, 6-2, 225, announced Sunday he’s leaving TCU. But Robinson wouldn’t be a graduate transfer so he would have to sit out a season. He does have a redshirt available and then would have two years to play at his new school. Arkansas probably isn’t interested in pursuing a quarterback who wouldn’t be eligible for the 2019 season.
The name of Kansas State grad transfer Alex Delton, 6-0, 205, has been tossed around by some knowing the Hogs are interesting in a quarterback. Delton played in 20 games at Kansas State completing 96 of 171 passes for 1,202 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. He also rushed 213 times for 868 yards and 11 scores. But would the former Hays (Kan.) three-star be an upgrade over what the Hogs currently have? That is the type answer Morris, Joe Craddock and his staff would have to decide.
In the Cactus Bowl following the 2017 season, Delton was named the Offensive MVP when he came off the bench to complete 7 of 10 passes for 52 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 158 yards and three more touchdowns against UCLA.