Trent Shadid/SEC Country
Arkansas has 11 commitments in its 2018 recruiting class.

Arkansas football: August to-do list on the recruiting trail

Trent Shadid

Arkansas’ 2018 recruiting class is still more than four months from signing the majority of its commitments.

Even with so many days remaining, the Razorbacks are nearly finished with the class. At least from the standpoint of finding new prospects to fill it. With 11 players pledge to its class, Arkansas’ main recruiting focus during the 2017 season will be on keeping them committed. More on that later.

Each month until the December signing period, SEC Country will outline the three most important items on the Hogs’ recruiting to-do list for the coming weeks. Here’s what is on the agenda for August.

Get another LB

Arkansas has inside linebacker Bumper Pool firmly committed. He’s a 4-star recruit and the Hogs’ highest rated pledge in the class according to the 247Sports composite. His plan is to sign in December and enroll for the spring 2018 semester.

All is well with Pool, but the Razorbacks need another linebacker in this class. Preferably one more suited to play outside in their 3-4 scheme.

The top, and most likely, option is Maureese Wren. The 3-star prospect from Horn High School in Mesquite, Texas, is set to announce his decision Wednesday. He visited Arkansas’ campus last week and the Hogs are in serious contention with Baylor and Colorado.

If Wren pledges elsewhere Wednesday, expect the Razorbacks to move quickly on some other possibilities. Other top options include DaShaun White and Rosendo Luis. Both already have an offer, but the odds seem long they commit to the Hogs.

Stay in contention for elite TE

The Razorbacks are at least on the radar for two top options at tight end — Luke Ford and Glenn Beal. They need to keep it that way throughout this month in hopes of being among the final choices when a decision date is eventually set.

Ford, the No. 59 overall prospect in the class, committed to Arkansas in March and de-committed three months later. He remains in regular contact with coach Bret Bielema, and has insisted the Hogs remain a serious option. The odds do seem long considering schools like Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State and Texas are among other top options. But all the Razorbacks can hope for at this point is to remain in contention until the end and hope Ford comes back to his original decision.

As for Beal, he visited campus last week and was blown away by Arkansas. He’s the top tight end from Louisiana in the class, making LSU the perceived favorite. The Hogs have something the Tigers, and every other FBS school, do not — two Mackey Award winners. Ford remains the top choice, but remaining a serious for Beal gives Arkansas some promising potential options.

Keep the committed locked in

All the available scholarship spots in Arkansas’ 2018 class are nearly reserved. There are 11 players committed and two blueshirts from the 2017 class who are expected to be placed on scholarship following the 2017 fall semester. Those players will essentially count towards the 2018 class.

That puts the Razorbacks at 13 spots filled with the current expectation to sign 16 total. The remaining spots are believed to be reserved for an outside linebacker, offensive lineman and the best recruit they can get.

So, one of the main tasks the rest of this cycle is going to be keeping players committed. It’s always a point of emphasis for the staff regardless. They often say they recruit committed players just as hard as the uncommitted. Whether that’s true or not, evidence suggests the Razorbacks have done a great job of keeping prospects locked in once they commit. Ford was just the seventh player to de-commit in the past five recruiting classes. That’s well below the SEC average over the same period. Alabama, for instance, had nine in the 2017 class alone.