Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook. In this edition, we discuss recruiting efforts of defensive line coach John Scott Jr. in Georgia.
Arkansas D-line coach John Scott Jr. locked on recruiting Georgia
When Arkansas hired John Scott Jr. as its defensive line coach in February, he immediately assumed the role of trying to give the Razorbacks a stronger recruiting foothold in Georgia.
More broadly, his primary recruiting territory is Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. But the heavy focus is on the Peach State. The Hogs have offered 23 Georgia natives in the 2018 class, second only to the 30 offered from Texas. Many of the offers have come in the past couple months with Scott vigorously scouring the area for talent.
Once he’s found a player the Razorbacks want, an offer is often just the very beginning of a tough challenge selling the Hogs to such recruits. Often of the most difficult tasks is getting those prospects to visit Fayetteville, which is easily more than 600 miles from anywhere in Georgia.
“There are some battles getting those kids out of Georgia,” Scott told SEC Country earlier this week. “They pass so many schools in the SEC and ACC to come out here. But I’ve had four kids who we’ve offered drive out from Georgia.”
Convincing four Georgia natives to make the drive his first four months on the job is a great start for Scott. Now, the challenge becomes securing a commitment from the area.
Scott is at least in familiar territory. He recruited Georgia regularly while previously coaching the defensive line at Texas Tech (2013-14) and Western Carolina (2008). He also made many connections in the state during a three-year stint coaching the defensive line and special teams at Georgia Southern.
“Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve recruited the Atlanta area,” Scott said. “I know the coaches there in Georgia. They remember me. It’s boom, like I never left.”
The caliber of athlete he’s pursuing now is obviously different than his days at Georgia Southern or Western Carolina. But to Scott, it’s all the same. His approach centers on relationships and consistently fair treatment of recruits.
“The three years I was at Georgia Southern, we signed quite a few kids out of the Atlanta area to come down,” Scott said. “They were good players. We got walk-ons from there. When you establish relationships like that, those are big. You treat everybody the same. You treat them fair. I think that’s just part of being a good humble person anyway. You just treat everybody like you’d want to be treated or have your son treated.”
The top Georgia targets
So who could be the first Georgia pledge secured by Scott? Here’s a look three of the most likely possibilities in the 2018 class. All of these players have visited campus within the last month. Rankings according to 247Sports.
- Jalynn Strickland, 3-star offensive lineman, Ware County (Waycross): With Strickland’s commitment date set for July 4, Arkansas is firmly among the leaders to land him. His recruitment has been a combined effort by Scott and offensive line coach Kurt Anderson. Maryland, Minnesota and North Carolina State are some of the other top choices for the 6-foot-6, 310-pound tackle.
- Thurman Geathers, 3-star outside linebacker, North Cobb (Kennesaw): The Fourth of July could be a great day for the Hogs in Georgia as Geathers is also set to announce his commitment on Independence Day. Listed as a weakside defensive end, Geathers (6-3, 217) would best fit the Hogs’ 3-4 scheme at outside linebacker. Indiana, Louisville and Maryland are also high on his list of suitors.
- Nicholas Fulwider, 3-star defensive lineman, Sandy Creek (Tyrone): Fulwider’s visit to Fayetteville earlier this week went so well the Razorbacks are firmly one of his top choices. Securing his commitment in the near future would almost certainly complete the Hogs’ 2018 defensive line group after receiving two commitments earlier this week. Arkansas will have to beat out Duke, Georgia Tech, Louisville, North Carolina and several others to get him.
A prime recruiting state
Need evidence that efforts in Georgia are worth it as opposed to focusing more in California, Florida, Texas and other recruiting hotbeds?
Well, Peach State natives accounted for 27 NFL draft picks in April. That’s more than any other state. The 2018 class features five 5-star recruits from Georgia according to 247Sports’ composite rankings, tied with Florida for the most from any state.
The Hogs have four Georgia natives on their current roster — Britto Tutt, Dee Walker, Korey Hernandez and T.J Smith. Getting that number near double digits could benefit Arkansas greatly in years to come. It appears Scott is just the man for the job.
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