FRISCO, Texas — Arkansas already has one 4-star linebacker from the Dallas area committed in the 2018 recruiting class. The Razorbacks are continuing their push for another.
Rockwall High School’s Alston Orji has been among Arkansas recruiting priorities for almost a year. The Hogs became his first offer last April. He remained in regular contact with the Razorbacks ever since.
“I got on a call with the whole coaching staff awhile back,” Orji recently told SEC Country. “I got to talk to them about things and find out how interested they were in me.”
Orji (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) now has offers from 15 schools, including LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, TCU and Texas A&M. He visited Fayetteville for the Razorbacks win over Florida last November. He also attended the Hogs loss to Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas, last season.
“I’m going to try and make another visit (to Arkansas) soon,” Orji said. “I want to see the academic facilities and get some one-on-one time with the defensive staff.
“Arkansas has a spectacular atmosphere. Great coaching. Coach (Bret Bielema) has been outstanding in the way he’s recruited me. I like talking to him. A lot of genuine conversation. There was no real facade put on. He was being himself.”
Making Arkansas friends
During his visit to the campus, Orji spent time building relationships with two current Arkansas commits in the recruiting class — 4-star linebacker Bumper Pool and 4-star quarterback Connor Noland. The commits teamed up to assist in recruiting Orji and other top prospects in the class. Pool attends Lovejoy High School, 25 miles north of Rockwall.
Orji’s younger brother, Anfernee, made the trip to Arkansas last November as well. An outside linebacker recruit in the 2019 class, Anfernee (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) also received his first offer from the Razorbacks. Could the brothers potentially team up at Arkansas?
“It’d be nice to go to the same school, but we do realize that we may have different aspirations because we are different people,” Alston Orji said. “We might end up going to separate schools or the same school. If that happens, it would be more coincidence then something we planned.”
Listed as an inside linebacker prospect, Orji likely projects to play outside linebacker at the next level. Because he is an exceptional pass rusher, an outside spot would seem especially probable in the Hogs’ 3-4 system. Like Arkansas, Rockwall is switching to a 3-4 defense next season.
“That actually really works out, because (Arkansas) will get to see what I can do in a defense that they’re going to be running themselves,” Orji said.