Arkansas’ 2018 recruiting class has grown to nine commitments following a successful past seven days.
The Hogs have secured the pledge of three players since last Sunday — offensive lineman Noah Gatlin and defensive linemen Emmit Gooden and Isaiah Nichols. They’ve also emerged as a top candidate for a handful of other prospects in the class.
Arkansas is projected to have a small signing class overall. The Razorbacks will lose only 12 scholarship seniors following the 2017 season. They also have two blueshirts from the 2017 class who likely will be placed on scholarship after the fall semester. Those players essentially will count toward the 2018 group.
Considering these numbers, it’s possible Arkansas has just five or so spots left to fill in the class. So, here’s a look at five players who could be the next to commit:
Thurman Geathers, 3-star DE, North Cobb (Kennesaw, Ga.)
The Hogs will find out about Geathers very soon. The Atlanta-area prospect has the Fourth of July set as the date for his commitment announcement.
Listed as a defensive end recruit, Geathers (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) likely fits into Arkansas’ 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker. An outstanding pass rusher, he had 77 tackles and 15 sacks as a junior last season.
Geathers visited Arkansas in early June. He followed that with trips to Indiana, Louisville and North Carolina State. Expect one of those four schools to be his choice on Independence Day.
Jalynn Strickland, 3-star OL, Ware County (Waycross, Ga.)
Arkansas will be looking forward to a lot more than just fireworks on July 4 as Strickland also expects to announce his decision that day.
Strickland (6-6, 305) visited Fayetteville earlier this month and came away impressed. He called it the best visit he’s taken. He previously made trips to Duke, Florida, Georgia and Georgia Tech with a visit to North Carolina State still possible in the future.
It seems likely the Hogs secure his commitment July 4 as he lacks offers from most of the other schools he’s interested in.
Luke Jones, 3-star OL, Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.)
Jones received an offer from Arkansas after impressing coaches at the Trench Hogs camp last Sunday. The offer immediately puts the Hogs among his top contenders along with Arizona State, Iowa State, Missouri and Virginia.
There was a push from the coaching staff to secure his commitment in the days immediately following the offer. The idea was to have him, Gatlin and Nichols announce their pledges hours apart to create some hype around the class. However, Jones (6-6, 290) decided to hold off for the time being.
That doesn’t mean the Hogs shouldn’t still be considered his favorite. He’s grown up cheering for the Razorbacks and his older brother attends the school. Expect Jones to potentially announce a commitment to Arkansas at some point during the next two months.
Nicholas Fulwider, 3-star DL, Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.)
There is one spot left on the defensive line in this class. Fulwider (6-7, 245) appears to be the Hogs’ top priority to fill it. At his size, he could be a monster defensive end in the Hogs’ 3-4 scheme with some added weight.
Fulwider, who has more than 25 offers, has been busy recently making trips to several of his top choices. He visited Arkansas last Monday, then went to Purdue, Indiana and Vanderbilt. A few days before his trip to Fayetteville, he was at Tennessee.
A decision doesn’t appear to be imminent, but it may have to be if Fulwider wants to be a Razorback. Once a third defensive lineman commits, it’s highly unlikely Arkansas brings in a fourth.
LaDarrius Bishop, 3-star CB, Ashdown (Ark.)
The window to commit may have already closed for Bishop. Arkansas has two cornerbacks and a safety committed. There’s been some discussion of the Hogs taking just three defensive backs in the class after signing six in 2017.
Bishop (6-0, 205) fully understands the situation. He’s taken an educated approach to his recruitment. He’s often asking coaches to give him the details on their number of players at defensive back and what they can do to help him as a player, among other things.
The impression is he wants to be a Razorback but will take his time with the recruiting process. Regardless, he’ll likely need to commit sooner rather than later for any chance at joining the Hogs’ 2018 class.