By Otis Kirk
Arkansas signed 20 prospects on Wednesday and now has nine spots left for the Class of 2019.
Chad Morris and the staff will continue to recruit to finish out the class beginning Feb. 6 with the late signing period. Morris was asked Wednesday if it was still possible to add another recruit in the early period which runs from Dec. 19-21?
“There is,” Morris said. “Yeah, there is. They have a three-day window here that they could.”
Arkansas currently has seven public commitments who didn’t sign early for various reasons. Pulaski Academy tight end Hudson Henry, Warren wide receiver Treylon Burks, Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson safety Myles Brooks, New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr cornerback Devin Bush, Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove defensive end Dante Walker, Phenix City (Ala.) Central running back A’Montae Spivey and Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman cornerback Adonis Otey are all slated to sign late.
“You know, we had some guys that chose to wait until February,” Morris said. “A lot of it had to do with the school already being let out for Christmas, and they wanted to have a celebration. Remember, these kids grew up at a time where they saw there was just really one signing day and now we’ve gone to two.
“Some of these guys still want to experience that with their whole school and everybody comes out. I’m great with that. I understand that and I respect that. I respect the process that they want to go through. Again, it goes back to the relationships with them.”
In addition to the seven public commitments, Arkansas is known to be recruiting at least three other prospects plus also searching for an older quarterback who fits their scheme. Mansfield (Texas) Legacy safety Jalen Catalon, Dodge City (Kan.) Community College linebacker Lakia Henry and Dyersburg (Tenn.) linebacker Chris Russell are known targets of Arkansas.
Catalon is looking at the Hogs, Texas, TCU and Oklahoma. Henry is committed to Tennessee, but seriously considering the Razorbacks as well as looking at others. Russell is committed to Memphis, but is still considering Arkansas, Tennessee, Auburn and maybe others.
Morris talked about the needs for the class beginning in the late signing period in February.
“I definitely feel that we’ll sign a linebacker or two,” Morris said. “I think we’ll sign a couple more DB’s, the potential to sign a few more there. Potential big-time rush end, could be if he’s out there. Have to address the running back, tight end, a wide receiver and as we talked earlier about a quarterback.
“There are still needs at every position Just because we’ve signed this one class, we’ve got a lot of work to do, as I mentioned earlier, to finish this deal and get them through the finish line on February 6. So, we still have a lot of needs and we’re going to address a lot of areas there.”
Of course the committed players and the three known targets could fill the remainder of the needs in addition to a quarterback. Morris isn’t allowed per NCAA rules to discuss anyone not signed.
Of the 20 players signed on Wednesday, five are from Texas. Morris was firm in Arkansas isn’t finished in the Lone Star State.
“No, not done this year,” Morris said. “As we talked about, we have to use the relationships that we’ve had and that I have. All the coaches. Coach (Jeff) Traylor being a high school coach there, Mark Smith being a high school coach there, that’s a part of our footprint. It will be each and every year.
“When you go back, and I said this when I first got the job, when you look at the success of Razorback football back when it was at the pinnacle of its time, it had a great mixture. Obviously you won the state of Arkansas with your players, you had players from Memphis, Tulsa and you really had a good mixture of guys from the state of Texas. Now add that in with some Louisiana and Missouri, then you build your roster off of it. Texas is a major area for us outside of our entire state.”
Arkansas also added Searcy offensive lineman Andrew Vest on Wednesday.
Vest, 6-6, 305, had several scholarship offers, but chose to be a Razorback. He will enroll at midterm.