FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Assuming Arkansas takes care of business with its non-conference games, a win over Ole Miss on Sept. 7 could propel the Razorbacks to an outstanding recruiting class.
The Razorbacks were 2-10 in Chad Morris’ first season, but look to be much improved this year. The buy-in factor from the players is completely different than last year and the Hogs added a very good recruiting class in 2019.
The Hogs are still on some very talented recruits for 2020 and some, maybe all, of the ones not committed are watching to see if Arkansas is improved this season.
That’s where the Ole Miss and non-conference games come into play. Arkansas opens by hosting Portland State, going to Ole Miss, hosting Colorado State and then San Jose State comes to town.
If by chance the Hogs could start 4-0 then expect some positive signs from recruiting start to materialize. That doesn’t mean this staff can’t manage a good class even if they lose to Ole Miss, it’s stating that if they start 4-0 it will be great for momentum and ease some concerns with fans, recruits and everyone about progress being made in second year. It would make things easier and positive as far as recruiting.
Arkansas will have a non-conference game later in the season against Western Kentucky. All the non-conference games are in Fayetteville. Following the Texas A&M game on Sept. 28 the Razorbacks will have two weeks to recruit and prepare for the Kentucky game.
Kentucky lost a lot of key players from last year’s team and is a winnable game for Arkansas. Like Ole Miss, though, it’s a road game.
Arkansas has targeted the Auburn game on Oct. 19, one week after going to Kentucky, and the Mississippi State game on Nov. 2 as key recruiting weekends for official visitors.
Arkansas currently has 14 commitments for the Class of 2020. They are still recruiting at several positions, but with a strong emphasis on defense to finish out the class.
There’s still some offensive players they want including such as Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul Episcopal’s Brady Ward and Athens (Texas) High School’s Garrett Hayes, both on the offensive line. They would go with Carthage (Texas) High School’s Ty’kieast Crawford who is already committed. Hayes has already used his official visit to Arkansas and expect Ward to come for the Auburn game.
Arkansas is still recruiting Memphis (Tenn.) Central’s Darin Turner as both a wide receiver and athlete. Turner is very high on both the Hogs and Alabama.
Inside the state, they are still trying to secure a commitment from Bryant outside linebacker Catrell Wallace. He has the Hogs, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Virginia high on his list. The Razorbacks were the first to offer.
On Friday, Sept. 6, Memphis Whitehaven will be at North Little Rock. This will be a chance for Hog fans to not only see linebacker Martavius French play, but also see his sidekick Bryson Eason, who is looking hard at Arkansas and Tennessee among others. Getting Eason and Wallace to go with French and Knoxville (Tenn.) West’s Drew Francis would allow the Hogs to really feel good about the linebackers in the Class of 2020.
Arkansas is certainly placing an emphasis on adding some defensive backs in this class. They currently have a commitment from New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr’s Jamie Vance. They would love to add 4-5 cornerbacks and 1-2 safeties in this class. Carthage’s Kelvontay Dixon is committed and could play running back, wide receiver or defensive back.
Highland (Kan.) Community College cornerback Brian George is the best in junior college. The Hogs are in his top 10, but they still have a lot of work to do to get an official visit and then commitment. He attended the spring game in April. Highland has a couple of bye weeks in its schedule, but only one would fit the Hogs to get an in-season official visit. That would be on Sept. 14 when Colorado State comes to Fayetteville because his other is Oct. 12 when the Razorbacks are at Kentucky.
Arkansas isn’t wanting to load up during the season on official visits because the time the coaches have to spend with prospects is limited as opposed to the spring and then following the season. It might be good to get George in even on Sept. 14 if possible because he may not wait until after the season to make a decision.
Iowa Western Community College defensive end-outside linebacker Fitzroy Gardner is open to visiting Arkansas on Sept. 14. The Hogs have offered along with Mississippi State, Houston and others. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Gardner is originally from Florida and has followed the Razorbacks since junior high. They open the season on Thursday night at home when they host Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.
Recruiting is something Morris and the staff places a high priority in doing and expect this to be another good class. A few wins along the way could make it an even better one.
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