Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook. In this edition, we discuss the importance of the upcoming weekend and more.
Arkansas finally has SEC home game to bring recruits to campus
Arkansas’ matchup with Auburn this Saturday will be the Razorbacks’ first SEC home game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in 343 days. The Hogs are the last SEC team to host a conference foe on campus this season.
Finally playing a conference game in front of the home crowd will be a welcome experience. Not just for the current team but also the recruiting staff. SEC home games are vital to showing visiting recruits your game-day experience at its finest.
“You get guys to come and see our environment, come see these great fans we have here,” said wide receivers coach Michael Smith. “If we play well and do the things we’re capable of doing, the recruits also get to see us play big-time football. That’s the thing that’s attractive about being in the SEC and being at the University of Arkansas is that you get to be in these big-time games.”
As Smith alluded to, watching a win would be the best experience Arkansas could provide its visitors. And defeating No. 21 Auburn as a 14.5-point underdog would be about as good as it gets for a home game.
For example, the Hogs’ win over then-No. 11 Florida in Fayetteville last November was huge for recruiting. The visitors on that day included current starting cornerback Kamren Curl, and 4-star commits Bumper Pool and Byron Hanspard II. None of those players were pledged to Arkansas until after that game.
Time will tell if the Auburn game can provide the same type of recruiting boost.
DT commit Emmit Gooden among expected visitors
So, who are some of the top recruits who will be on campus for the game Saturday?
Well, among the most important will be defensive line commit Emmit Gooden. His Independence (Kan.) Community College team has the weekend off. He’s expected to be one of several 2018 commits on hand, but none are more important to the Hogs’ immediate future. Gooden would almost certainly be projected to start right away in 2018 if Arkansas can hang on to his commitment.
But there have been many questions surrounding his pledge with fans concerned he’ll eventually head elsewhere. He visited Oklahoma in September and had a “de-committed” post appear on his Twitter account last week. The trip to Oklahoma was explained as nothing more than tagging along with a friend. As for the tweet, Gooden told SEC Country his account was hacked. Through it all, he remains pledged to the Hogs and is excited about his upcoming trip.
Gooden is a 3-star prospect and the No. 12 overall junior college recruit in the 2018 class, according to 247Sports.
Arkansas would ‘love’ to have RB Drew Winn
Pea Ridge (Ark.) 2018 running back Drew Winn is putting together an incredible season on the Natural State’s high school scene.
Through seven games this season, Winn has rushed for 1,359 yards and 20 touchdowns. He’s averaging 9.2 yards per carry and 194 yards per game.
Despite the big-time stats, Winn (6-foot, 180 pounds) isn’t a major recruit. He’s currently unrated by the recruiting sites. His offers are from Howard, an FCS school, and several Division II programs.
But he also has Arkansas’ attention, likely as a potential preferred walk-on candidate. He attended the Hogs’ win against New Mexico State on Sept. 30 as a recruiting visitor, with tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. serving as his primary contact.
“Coach Lunney said that they would love to have me,” Winn recently told Andrew Hutchinson of Hawgs247. “And they wouldn’t know if they’d have any scholarships left over because their recruiting class is so small, but they’d love to have me there.”
Hutchinson’s report also states Winn is a “big Arkansas fan” who has lived his entire life in Pea Ridge, less than an hour north of the Hogs’ campus. At this point, he’s unsure if he would rather walk on at Arkansas or sign with one of the programs that has offered him a scholarship.
Miss a previous edition? Find every SEC Country daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook right here.