Join us daily at SEC Country for “Trent’s Trough” as Arkansas beat writer Trent Shadid provides the latest recruiting news.
Is Arkansas at risk to lose top in-state commit?
Reports recently have surfaced linking Arkansas 4-star safety commit Montaric Brown to official visits elsewhere. Those visits are expected to be at Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, with one to Arkansas in between later this month.
However, sources have told SEC Country the highly coveted Ashdown (Ark.) High School prospect hasn’t decided if he’ll take the visits to the Sooner State. Brown (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) is in San Antonio going through practices for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He is set to play for the East team on Saturday (1 p.m. ET, NBC) inside the Alamodome.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema has a no-visit rule for commits. The rule typically means players who have committed to the Hogs will be considered uncommitted if they take visits elsewhere.
Exceptions regularly are made for a few prospects in each class. Coaches often say it’s for players who express a desire to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel with their family. There’s some truth to that, but how talented the player is obviously plays into providing that opportunity. This is, after all, still a business.
Take 4-star JUCO tight end signee Jeremy Patton, for instance. He took visits to Utah and Southern Cal after he committed to Arkansas last summer. Those visits were described as a chance for Patton and his family to take some free trips. Official visits are paid for by the school.
But it’s also hard to ignore the fact that he’s the No. 1 JUCO tight end in the class. Because Patton is such a highly sought talent, the Hogs almost certainly wouldn’t have written him off regardless of any prior agreement on other visits.
The same likely can be said of Brown, the Hogs’ highest-rated in-state commit. He committed in late July and scrapped potential plans to officially visit his other finalists: Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Oklahoma State.
Brown has seemingly been all about the Razorbacks ever since. A recent surge from the Sooners and consistency from the Cowboys suddenly has the Hogs scrambling to fend off the neighboring programs.
Whether Brown takes those visits or not, don’t expect Arkansas to pull its offer.
If Brown takes those visits, SEC Country has learned Oklahoma likely would be the last just days before National Signing Day.
The Sooners are riding a wave of momentum after winning the Big 12, handily defeating Auburn in the Sugar Bowl and a 2017 class ranked No. 6 nationally.
They’ll also likely enter next season among the favorites to make the College Football Playoff. Having a program with so much positivity surrounding it getting the last impression with Brown is undoubtedly a worrisome possibility for Arkansas.
Expect the Hogs to do whatever they can to further solidify his commitment and prevent a trip to Norman.
Cowboys still in the mix
Oklahoma State also may be a serious threat. Obviously, any school a recruit takes an official visit to now is probably in consideration.
The Cowboys, coming off a 10-win season, have been in the mix for Brown all along. They were a somewhat-surprising finalist when he committed. Oklahoma State doesn’t often recruit the state, with only one scholarship player on its roster from Arkansas. Yet the program obviously has made a strong impression on Brown.
The fact Oklahoma State is apparently still on Brown’s mind makes it a serious threat to Arkansas. Again, expect the Hogs to breathe easy only if he doesn’t take a trip to Stillwater later this month.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.