Welcome to the weekly Arkansas football and recruiting mailbag.
Arkansas reporter Trent Shadid sorts through questions asked by Razorbacks fans. This time, we take a look at Arkansas’ current top target, what position is a top priority, which incoming freshman could make a big impact and more.
Which incoming freshman will have the biggest impact this season?
Without question, running back Dewvah Whaley — or so the Razorbacks hope. The 4-star recruit and third-ranked running back in the 2016 class is expected to see significant playing time with standout Alex Collins gone to the NFL.
No other running back on the roster possess talent equal to Whaley. His bruising style and exceptional ability to run between the tackles should make him a perfect fit for the Razorbacks’ style of play.
Defensive end McTelvin Agim also is a good candidate to contribute right away. Agim was the only 5-star prospect in the Razorbacks’ 2016 recruiting class and enrolled for the spring semester. But unlike Whaley, Arkansas should be fine if Agim doesn’t contribute immediately. Defensive end is one of the deepest positions on the roster with upperclassmen Deatrich Wise Jr., JaMichael Winston and Tevin Beanum returning.
- T.J. Hammonds, RB: If Whaley and the other running backs struggle, look for Hammonds to get a chance at immediate playing time. Recruited as a 4-star athlete, Hammonds is now working at running back for the Razorbacks. He’s an underrated talent in the 2016 class with a high level of ability and upside.
- Cole Kelley, QB: In the event that Austin Allen struggles, don’t be shocked if the Razorbacks consider turning to the freshman at quarterback. At 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, he already has the size and arm strength to play in the SEC.
Who is currently the Razorbacks’ top target?
It’s got to be defensive back Montaric Brown, the state’s top 2017 prospect from Ashdown, Ark. He’s planning to announce his commitment at the end of July with Alabama and Arkansas believed to be the top contenders. It would a major blow to the Razorbacks’ 2017 class to miss out on the state’s top prospect, especially if he chooses a SEC rival.
Landing Brown couldgive the Razorbacks the inside track to a pair of his highly-regarded Ashdown teammates in 2018 — quarterback Jaden Hill and wide receiver LaDarius Bishop.
What’s the greatest positional need in the 2017 class?
Arkansas signed just one cornerback in the 2016 class, junior college transfer Britto Tutt, and he was a late addition. The Razorbacks have made up for the lack of corners with three — Jordan Curtis, Jarquez McClellion and Korey Hernandez — already committed in the 2017 class.
Wide receiver has been a position of emphasis in the class with four key contributors exhausting their eligibility after this season. The Razorbacks have three receivers committed — Jonathan Nance, Koilan Jackson and Maleek Barkley — with athlete commits Devion Warren and Jarrod Barnes likely to join the program as receivers.
Who is the top talent committed in the 2017 class?
Landing the commitment of Jeremy Patton, the top junior college tight end in the class from Arizona Western, has been the biggest win for the Razorbacks to this point in the 2017 class. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound 4-star prospect chose Arkansas over Alabama, Auburn and Louisville.
Anytime the Razorbacks get the better of the Crimson Tide on the recruiting trail, it’s obviously a big victory. Patton has the ideal skill set for a key position in Arkansas’ offense, and could step in immediately with standout Jeremy Sprinkle gone after this season.
Has Arkansas identified any top targets for the Class of 2018?
The current focus of the 2018 class centers around landing a quarterback and the Razorbacks have some impressive options showing early interest.
Allan Walters, a 4-star prospect from Paramus (N.J.) Catholic, is expected to visit Arkansas on Aug. 1 according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Richard Davenport. Along with Arkansas, Walters has offers from seven other SEC schools, including Alabama and Mississippi. He is the No. 10 pro-style quarterback prospect in the class.
Arkansas has another quarterback target much closer to Fayetteville in Greenwood (Ark.) two-sport star Connor Noland. A 4-star prospect, Noland is the No. 11 pro-style quarterback in the class with offers from 11 FBS programs. Noland is also the top 2018 baseball prospect in the state and recently told SEC Country he has interest in playing both sports in college.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.