By Otis Kirk
Arkansas coach Chad Morris is recruiting like has never been seen at Arkansas. He is getting four-star recruits at a similar clip to most of the other SEC schools.
That is something that many, myself included, didn’t think could be done at Arkansas. And to think he’s doing that after a 2-10 season makes it even more impressive.
The traditional National Signing Day is Feb. 6 and Arkansas has a chance to add to an already impressive haul. Arkansas signed 22 prospects early counting SMU grad transfer quarterback Ben Hicks. They have commitments from five more prospects they hope to sign on Feb. 6.
In addition, they are on two more linebackers and if they get that pair then Morris has assembled possibly the best class in recent memory….at least on paper and that is all any class can be judged on at this point.
Arkansas is still having to recruit two of the commitments hard as well as the two linebackers. Arkansas has coaches seeing Dodge City (Kan.) Community College linebacker Lakia Henry today. On Thursday, they will see Dyersburg (Tenn.) linebacker Chris Russell. Henry will officially visit Texas this weekend while Russell will be at Tennessee. So this is the last face-to-face contact the Hogs can have with this pair.
Morris and some assistants will see Phenix City (Ala.) Central running back A’Montae Spivey on Friday. Spivey is committed to the Hogs, but took an official visit to Ole Miss last weekend. The Hogs are trying to hang onto Spivey since he’s the only running back in this class.
The other prospect is Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman cornerback Adonis Otey. He is committed to the Hogs, but visited USC last weekend and will be at Ole Miss this weekend. Mark Smith will see Otey on Wednesday.
Morris also expects to add Warren wide receiver Treylon Burks, Pulaski Academy tight end Hudson Henry and Mansfield (Tenn.) Legacy safety Jalen Catalon on Feb. 6. All three are four-star recruits and are considered solid commitments to the Hogs. The three are considered by many among the best in the nation at their respective positions.
The class signed early includes two quarterbacks, three wide receivers, six offensive linemen, seven defensive linemen, a linebacker and three defensive backs.
Most of the recruits in the class are kids the Hogs went up against the big boys of college football for and got their share. It’s not just Morris. He has a staff that works as hard at recruiting as he does and have set “the best” as the bar at Arkansas.
Some fans understandably have some questions about Arkansas Football following last season, but there was one way to fix it and that is to recruit at a high level. Morris and his staff are doing that by all accounts.
And when one writes the one way to fix it is recruit at high level some take that as a shot at the players who were there last year. That isn’t the case here at all. Three of the players Bret Bielema inherited from Bobby Petrino and John L. Smith will be in the Super Bowl on Sunday. Quarterback Brandon Allen is with the Los Angeles Rams while Deatrich Wise Jr. and Trey Flowers are with New England Patriots. Darius Philon is with the Los Angeles Chargers. Other talented players were on that team, but they went 0-8 in the SEC in 2013.
Morris, just like Bielema or any other coach, needs time to get his type players in. That isn’t a knock at anyone just a commonsense statement.
Time will tell what Morris and his staff can do with those players on the field, but they are certainly acing the test to this point as far as recruiting.