Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook. In this edition, we discuss a defensive tackle commit, talent at a Little Rock high school and more.
DT Emmit Gooden still firmly committed to Arkansas
UPDATE: Gooden announced Wednesday morning he will visit Oklahoma this weekend. It is unclear if that will results in his de-commitment. Arkansas has a no-visit policy for its commits, meaning a visit elsewhere typically means a de-commitment. However, there are sometimes exceptions made. It is unlikely Gooden would be an exception to that rule. It’s still possible he cancels the trip and remains committed.
Arkansas 2018 defensive tackle commit Emmit Gooden remains a top target of college football heavyweights Alabama and Oklahoma. For now, the Razorbacks are still managing to fend off both programs.
Gooden, a sophomore at Independence (Kan.) Community College, has been committed to the Hogs since June. Coaches with the Crimson Tide and the Sooners, who are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the latest polls, have continued to regularly contact Gooden with hopes of flipping his pledge.
Arkansas defensive line coach John Scott Jr. was in Independence on Monday to check in on his top commit. Gooden is the No. 9 overall junior college prospect in the 2018 class, according to the 247Sports composite.
Alabama currently does not have a defensive tackle committed in its 2018 class. Oklahoma has one committed: Tulsa (Okla.) Union’s Jordan Kelley, who the Hogs also recruited. But the Sooners have another spot available and view Gooden as their top choice. The Razorbacks will hope both programs fill spots at the position quickly to alleviate some of the pressure and concern about holding on to him.
Arkansas’ chances are strengthened by the relationships Gooden has within the program. He’s become close with Scott and coach Bret Bielema. He considers sophomore defensive end McTelvin “Sosa” Agim a good friend. The two first met as top defensive line recruits in the 2016 class when Gooden was a standout at Haywood High School in Brownsville, Tenn. Those relationships make a late flip seem less likely, so keeping him committed for now is key.
Last Saturday, Gooden had 9 tackles for Independence in an upset of defending NJCAA national champion Garden City (Kan.) Community College. Independence’s 2017 season is being documented by the popular Netflix series Last Chance U. So, however the rest of his recruitment ends, Arkansas fans should get an inside look at how it all played out when the show releases next summer.
Barry Lunney Jr. checks in on Robinson’s many talented prospects
Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. was in Little Rock, Ark., on Monday to see several recruits in the area. The Hogs’ primary in-state recruiter is particularly interested in the talent at Joe T. Robinson High School.
The Razorbacks have made a habit of recruiting the talent-rich program. They’ve signed three players from Robinson in the past two classes — T.J. Hammonds (WR/RB), Koilan Jackson (WR) and David Porter (DE).
Here’s the breakdown of the next wave of talent coming out of Robinson. The Razorbacks have shown at least some level of interest in each player:
- Nathan Page, 2018 ATH: Based on talent alone, Page was one of Arkansas’ top targets as either a wide receiver or defensive back early in the evaluation process for 2018 recruits. He’s since dealt with injuries and there’s been a looming uncertainty if he’ll qualify academically to play at the FBS level. If an unexpected scholarship spot frees up and Page gets on track to qualify, there’s a chance Arkansas still offers. He’s the best player on the roster at Robinson with loads of talent.
- Caezar Warren, 2018 LB: A lack of size (5-foot-10, 210 pounds) has left Warren as one of the more overlooked recruits in the state for the 2018 class. He has some experience playing running back, but linebacker is where he’s really excelled as a senior. In two games this season, he has 32 tackles, including a 21-tackle performance in the season opener. Realistically, he’s an ideal candidate for a preferred walk-on spot with the Hogs.
- Zach Williams, 2019 LB: Williams, who visited Arkansas last Saturday, has all the ideal measurables for an outside linebacker at the next level — 6-4, 220 pounds, 4.63-second 40-yard dash, 36-inch vertical and 82-inch wingspan. Those numbers are off the charts. As they begin to translate on the field, the major offers are likely to start rolling in. He also has great bloodlines. His father, Rickey, played linebacker for Arkansas (1984-87) and ranks No. 8 on the school’s career tackles list.
- Elliott Harris, 2019 DL/OL: Harris has the size (6-4, 320) to play either defensive tackle or offensive line at the FBS level. It’s why schools such as Arkansas and Texas A&M have shown interest. Expect the Hogs to continue keeping tabs on him and potentially offer next spring or summer.
- Zaytron Waits, 2019 RB: Robinson’s starting running backs have moved on to the FBS level each of the past two seasons. First, it was Hammonds, followed by Myles Fells (Navy) last year. Waits looks to be next in line. He’s relatively unknown as a recruit now, but that should change once film of his junior season makes the rounds. He has a good build (6-0, 210) with above-average speed for a running back. His ability was evident on a 66-yard touchdown run last Friday.
2019 WR target Jadon Jackson makes one-handed catch in triple coverage
Arkansas 2019 wide receiver target Jadon Jackson is going to make many highlight-reel plays over the next two seasons at Bentonville (Ark.) West. The one he made last Friday is his best yet and sets a benchmark that will be tough to top.
Playing against rival Bentonville (Ark.), the speedy wideout was running a post route toward the end zone through bracketed double coverage when the ball was thrown his way. A third defender came into the play as Jackson leaped to make a one-handed touchdown grab and leave the three defensive backs wondering what just happened. Here’s the video:
— MaxPreps (@MaxPreps) September 12, 2017
This is exactly why Jackson, who Arkansas has already offered, is a must-get recruit for the Hogs in the 2019 class.
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