Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook. In this edition, we discuss a new commit from Georgia and how close the 2018 class is to completion.
Arkansas gets first Georgia commit in John Scott Jr. era
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema hired John Scott Jr. as the Razorbacks new defensive line coach nearly six months ago. The move, in part, was made with hopes of bolstering recruiting efforts in Georgia and the Carolinas. The Peach State, though, has by far been the more significant priority.
Scott’s persistent efforts on the recruiting trail have now paid off with a commitment. Tuesday, the Hogs landed their first Georgia pledge since his hiring — defensive lineman John Mincey (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) from Clinch County High School in Homerville, Ga.
Mincey, who is a 3-star recruit according to 247Sports composite ratings, committed while visiting campus. He was the fifth Georgia recruit to visit Fayetteville since Scott was hired.
“There are some battles getting those kids out of Georgia,” Scott told SEC Country last month. “They pass so many schools in the SEC and ACC to come out here.
“But everywhere I’ve been, I’ve recruited [Georgia]. I know the coaches there in Georgia. They remember me. It’s boom, like I never left.”
As Scott eluded to, just convincing players from the Peach State to visit Arkansas can be a difficult task. Everywhere in Georgia is at least 600 miles from Fayetteville. In Mincey’s case, Homerville is 940 miles from the Razorbacks’ campus.
But once they’re on campus, the challenge of persuading them to attend college so far from home often presents a much greater obstacle. There had been no breakthrough on that front until Mincey. Now that he has his first commitment, the hope will be he establishes a pipeline similar to what wide receivers coach Michael Smith has done in Louisiana. The Hogs have signed 13 Lousiana natives since 2014, when Smith took over the primary recruiter in the state.
Arkansas currently has four Georgia natives on its roster — Britto Tutt, Dee Walker, Korey Hernandez and T.J Smith. Seeing that number rise to near double digits could greatly benefit the Razorbacks. Scott is being looked to as the man to get that done. Now that he has his first, only time will tell if this is beginning of something great for the Hogs.
Finished on the defensive line with class near complete
Speaking of Mincey’s pledge, every available defensive line spot in the 2018 class has now been spoken for. The plan has been for Arkansas to sign three players within the unit. Mincey joins Emmit Gooden, a junior college prospect, and Isaiah Nichols as defensive line pledges in the class.
Obviously, this likely means the Razorbacks won’t be getting 3-star target Nicholas Fulwider. He has Arkansas among his top six choices and recently stated he plans to make an official visit to Fayetteville in the fall. Things can still change quickly and open up other spots, but as of now there seemingly isn’t one available for Fulwider.
The class as a whole is also very near to being complete. Arkansas will have 13 scholarships spots freed up when the current seniors are out of eligibility. An additional scholarship recently opened after 2017 defensive line signee Melvin Johnson officially failed to qualify. So, there are 14 scholarships definitely available for the 2018 group. Because of inevitable offseason departures, the Hogs will typically plan to sign two or three more than what’s projected to be available.
This means the Razorbacks are currently planning to sign roughly 16 players in the 2018 class. Mincey is the 11th commitment in the group. It’s also expected 2017 blueshirts Ty Clary (OL) and Hayden Henry (OLB) will be placed on scholarship after the fall semester and essentially count towards this cycle.
As a result, there are just three spots left to be filled. An outside linebacker and third offensive lineman are clearly two of the remaining priorities. The final spot is likely to be a wild card, leaving the door open late in the process for a top recruit at any position or a late offer to someone the Hogs know they can get.
OLB target Maureese Wren visiting Wednesday
Maureese Wren is currently the top priority at that remaining outside linebacker spot in the 2018 class. Ideally for the Razorbacks, he’ll take it off the market soon.
A 3-star recruit from Horn High School in Mesquite, Texas, the 6-4, 215-pound Wren is set to visit Arkansas on Wednesday. He has said he plans to wait until Sept. 27, his birthday, to announce a commitment.
However, there’s little doubt the Hogs will push to lock him as soon as possible while pitching the idea that spot may not be available when late September rolls around.
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