By Kevin McPherson

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman and his coaching staff landed their first pledge in the class of 2024 when highly regarded Texas native Jalen Shelley committed to the Razorbacks on Monday.

Shelley (6-8 combo forward, Link Academy in Springfield, Mo., via Frisco, Texas, Rivals national No. 35 / 4-star prospect) chose the Hoop Hogs over Louisville, Ohio State, LSU, Texas A&M, Houston, Colorado, and Marquette.

He took an official visit to Arkansas over the weekend (Sept. 8-10) before publicly committing to the Razorbacks a day after departing campus.

“My visit ended well!” said Shelley, who had breakfast with Arkansas’ coaching staff on Sunday before departing.

“(The Hogs’) basketball practice is very fast-paced which requires players to be in great shape to get through it, which I think will be good for me,” said Shelley, who attended Arkansas’ practice on Saturday morning at the performance center across the street from Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville before he attended the Football Hogs’ game against Kent State on Saturday afternoon at Razorback Stadium.

The Razorbacks pulled away from the Golden Flashes in the second half for a 28-6 home-opening win in front of 72,173 fans.

“Football game had a great atmosphere,” he said.

In support of Shelley’s thoughts on his visit, a source echoed the prospect’s assessment that it had “gone well.” 

During a near-20-minute zoom interview with Pig Trail Nation and Hogville on Monday, Sept. 4 — linked at the top of the page — Shelley effectively signaled an upcoming commitment to Arkansas as he went in-depth regarding his basketball journey and recruitment.

“Right now they (Hog fans) support me heavy,” Shelley said during the interview. “And I’m not committed yet, but I just can’t imagine how it will be when I actually am in the program committed and all.”

His OV to Arkansas came nearly a year after taking an unofficial visit there when he attended the Football Hogs’ game vs. Missouri State where his older brother, Jason Shelley, was the starting quarterback.

Shelley becomes Arkansas’ third high school pledge from the state of Texas in the last three recruiting cycles (Anthony Black of Duncanville and Jordan Walsh of DeSoto both signed with Arkansas in the 2022 class).

Shelley had previously visited Louisville and had at least two visits planned to Ohio State and Colorado before pledging to Musselman’s Razorbacks.

A versatile 3/4-combo forward, Shelley was effective as a primary ball-handler and initiator on offense while playing at Prestonwood Chrisitan Academy, but he said he’ll transition to more of a 3/4-combo forward role in his senior season at Link Academy.