Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook. This time, we discuss the coaching staff working ahead and a future tight end target.
Small 2018 class allows coaches to get ahead
Arkansas will lose just 12 scholarship seniors after the 2017 season as things stand now. As a result, the Razorbacks won’t be signing a big 2018 class.
Two 2017 blueshirts — outside linebacker Hayden Henry and offensive lineman Ty Clary — will count towards the 2018 class and further trim the number signed. Even with other departures likely between now and then, it’s difficult to envision a situation where Arkansas is able to sign many more than 15 recruits in the class.
One area this can be beneficial is allowing the coaching staff to work ahead towards 2019, which expects to be a much-bigger class. The Hogs already have four 2018 commits. Two of those — quarterback Connor Noland and tight end Luke Ford — are at positions the Hogs will almost certainly sign just one player.
“It might allow you to work ahead a little bit more by knowing we’re going to have a small class,” tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. recently told SEC Country.
“Like at certain positions, if you get a commitment early, you can kind of start looking towards the next season or whatnot. So sure, that’s helpful in that regard.”
Lunney is saying now that Ford is firmly committed, he can begin earlier evaluation of 2019 tight ends. The same can be said for offensive coordinator Dan Enos’ evaluation of quarterbacks. Evidence suggests the early work at those positions for 2019 is already paying off. At the very least, the Hogs have been able to clearly identify their top targets at each spot.
With that in mind, here’s five current top targets in the 2019 class:
- Treylon Burks, 4-star WR, Warren (Ark.): With Lunney leading the way, the Hogs identified Burks as a potential talent early and offered him while he was still a freshman. He is a must-get recruit for Arkansas’ 2019 group.
- Brian Williams, 4-star DB, Bishop Dunne (Dallas): Williams has attended nearly every Arkansas game over the past two seasons in support of his brother, starting running back Rawleigh Williams III. The family connection and familiarity with the program make the Hogs a legitimate contender. Currently the No. 3 overall prospect in the class, Brian would be one of Arkansas’ most highly-touted signees ever.
- Grant Gunnell, 4-star QB, St. Pius X (Houston): With Noland solidly committed, the Hogs shifted full focus at the quarterback spot to Gunnell months ago. He recently visited Fayetteville and was essentially told he’s among the most-valued targets in the class. Several members of his family are Arkansas graduates. Among them is his grandpa, Jim Price, who played on the 1964 national title team.
- Hudson Henry, TE, Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.): The younger brother of Hayden and former star tight end Hunter, Henry should be the Hogs’ to lose. They recently became his first FBS offer with Stanford joining the mix since.
- Darius Thomas, OL, Jonesboro (Ark.): Thomas also recently visited the school and took in a spring practice. Like Burks, he’s a player the Razorbacks view as a must-sign target. Letting such talented in-state players slip away would be a major disappointment. The competition to land Thomas will be stout. Arkansas is accompanied by Auburn, Georgia and LSU on his offer list with many more expected.
Boomer impressed with usage of TEs
Collinsville (Okla.) tight end Grayson Boomer has also emerged as one of the top 2019 targets for the Hogs.
Boomer (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) is a 4-star prospect and a top-50 recruit in the class according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. He visited Fayetteville for practice last Saturday, coming with Gunnell and 2019 wide receiver Jalen Curry. Boomer and Curry both received offers from the Hogs during the visit.
Following the trip, Boomer told Rivals he sees the Razorbacks’ usage of tight ends is “off the chain” compared to other programs. That, and being Collinsville being just 120 miles from campus, has the Hogs in serious contention at the moment.
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