By Otis Kirk
Arkansas has 24 commitments for the Class of 2019.
They plan to sign 29 in this class so they are still actively recruiting some targets. Expect the final scholarships to be allotted to offensive linemen, defensive backs and possibly an older quarterback and also maybe a linebacker.
Arkansas’ fans are watching the team struggle this season, but the problems haven’t hurt recruiting. The Hogs are still enjoying a very good recruiting class which is a credit to Chad Morris and his staff. It’s also a credit to the players they are recruiting in that they see a vision for the program and not just judging it on 11 games.
The obvious question is who will be the other five they sign? This is assuming that all 24 they have committed remain pledged to the Hogs.
The older quarterback starts with Clemson grad transfer Kelly Bryant. He has Auburn, Mississippi State, Missouri and North Carolina on his list along with the Hogs. He canceled Miami this weekend to take an official to Auburn. But despite what may be written elsewhere on non-Arkansas sites, the Razorbacks are very much in the running for Bryant.
Auburn has junior quarterback Jarrett Stidham and it would be interesting to see what he would do if Bryant did choose the Tigers. Would Bryant go there if he knew Stidham was staying, would Stidham stay there if Bryant enrolled at midterm and then would Stidham choose to go to NFL a year early? Stidham has also been to Baylor in addition to Auburn and might not want to go to a third school. But then again he hasn’t had the type season that one would want before entering the NFL Draft.
I think it’s very likely that Arkansas adds an older quarterback in this class. If they can get Bryant obviously that is where it all starts. If not then it would depend on the transfer market and well as junior college. They aren’t gonna sign one just to be signing, but if they feel they can get one who can help them win games in 2019 they will add him.
Stidham is close to Morris as is Bryant, but many have speculated the offense used by Gus Malzahn isn’t the one that fits Stidham the best. If that is the case would Arkansas’ offense be that much different fit for him?
In the world of quarterbacks transferring at the drop of a pin it’s highly likely the Hogs find one. But they won’t likely be interested in one who isn’t a graduate transfer or junior college. They would need him to be eligible to play in 2019, not redshirt due to transfer rules.
But any speculation about what Arkansas will do for a quarterback to go with KJ Jefferson has to be put on hold until Bryant’s decision on Dec. 4. That is Morris’ birthday and that may or may not be a coincidence he’s announcing on that day.
As far as the offensive line, the Hogs really need to sign five. They have three in the fold. They have Jenks (Okla.) High’s Brady Latham, Tyler (Texas) Robert E. Lee’s Beaux Limmer and Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab’s Dylan Rathcke. Arkansas picked up a very nice preferred walk-on from Searcy’s Andrew Vest.
The Hogs are seeking Lackawanna (Pa.) Community College’s Chibueze Nwanna and Iowa Central’s Myron Cunningham. They will both visit Arkansas on Dec. 7-9 weekend. Arkansas is also trying to add Shiloh Christian offensive lineman Logan Kallesen as a preferred walk-on. Cunningham was at Oklahoma this past weekend.
Took an official visit to The University of Oklahoma this past weekend and it was one of the best moments of my life. Grateful to be given an opportunity. Thank you to all the people involved. #OUDNA#BoomerSooner@OU_CoachB @LincolnRiley pic.twitter.com/fJgh2JEZgv— Myron Cunningham (@CunninghamMyron) November 19, 2018
In the secondary, the Hogs are seeking Mansfield (Texas) Legacy safety Jalen Catalon and Harvey (La.) West Jefferson cornerback Gregory Brooks Jr. Both have officially visited Arkansas. Catalon said he will decide in January between the Hogs, Texas, TCU and Oklahoma. Brooks said he will decide on Dec. 19, first day of early signing period, between the Hogs, Kansas State and Mississippi State. He is still committed to Mississippi State. Catalon has two teammates on the defensive line, Enoch Jackson and Taurean Carter, who are committed to the Razorbacks.
In the secondary, Arkansas currently has commitments from New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr cornerback Devin Bush, Pflugerville (Texas) safety Myles Brooks, Rison cornerback Malik Chavis and Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman cornerback Adonis Otey. Arkansas is trying to add Cabot defensive back Zhane Harper as a preferred walk-on as well.
At linebacker, Arkansas has a commitment from Richmond (Texas) Fort Bend Travis’ Zach Zimos. The Hogs could use another one in this class and have some possibilities, but will the numbers allow it? If the Hogs do sign a linebacker in this class to go with Zimos the possibilities right now are Dodge City (Kan.) Community College’s Lakia Henry and Dyersburg (Tenn.) High’s Chris Russell. Henry has taken an official visit to Arkansas, but remains committed to Tennessee. However, he isn’t signing early so the Hogs still remain in the hunt.
The Hogs only have 29 scholarships and could use basically double that amount, but NCAA rules allow a school to sign 25 per year as well as count back any unused ones from previous year. Arkansas had four they didn’t use in 2018. They also have to stay within the NCAA’s overall limit of 85 on scholarship each year.
The early signing day as noted starts on Dec. 19 and goes for three days. After Dec. 21, the next time a prospect can sign is Feb. 6 when the late signing period begins.