Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook. In this edition, we discuss a new addition to the 2018 class, recruiting activity Wednesday and more.
Possibilities are many for LaDarrius Bishop at Arkansas
Arkansas coach Chad Morris explained some of his top recruiting priorities at his introductory press conference last week. Among them was pursuing one of the most important elements it takes to compete in the SEC.
“You better have some speed,” Morris said. “You either have speed or you’re chasing speed, and you don’t want to be chasing speed. Our priority is to make sure to have speed that can compete at this level and in this league.”
Speed is exactly what Morris went after when he immediately made Ashdown (Ark.) cornerback LaDarrius Bishop one of his top recruiting priorities.
Bishop has been timed running a 40-yard dash in under 4.4 seconds on several occasions. He ran a 4.35 during a camp at Mississippi State last summer. That was in large part why the Bulldogs made him their top priority at cornerback and eventually landed his commitment.
His pledge to Mississippi State began to dissolve after coach Dan Mullen left for Florida and the staff started to fall apart. It left Bishop looking at some other options, and they were aplenty. Alabama, Florida, Michigan, UCLA and TCU all at least inquired about him since Mullen’s departure in late November.
But it was Morris who came in and showed Bishop how much the Hogs needed the in-state talent. And they need him because of that speed.
The possibilities for what he might be able to do at Arkansas are many. While he has all the tools to be a top-notch corner, it’s hard not to want him to have the ball in his hands at times. It’s expected he’ll start out focused on playing cornerback, with the ability to potentially play offense or return kicks.
Regardless of what Bishop does at Arkansas, he’s clearly just the type of recruit Morris wants. And if the new Hogs coach can land more players with that type of speed, expect him to build a winning program in Fayetteville.
Arkansas coaches check in on offensive line targets
Members of Arkansas’ coaching staff, including Morris, were busy pursuing 2018 offensive linemen Wednesday.
The Hogs’ crew headed out to Council Bluffs, Iowa, in the morning for a visit with tackle commit Noah Banks. A 3-star prospect, Banks committed to the previous staff and has remained a soft pledge to the Hogs during the transition. He recently completed his junior college career at Iowa Western and plans to enroll at his future school for the 2018 spring semester. He visited Auburn last weekend with trips planned to Texas and Florida in the near future.
After the trip to Iowa, Morris and Co. headed to Little Rock for a visit with tackle commit Luke Jones. Also a 3-star pledge, Jones took an official visit to Notre Dame last weekend. The Fighting Irish remain the greatest threat to potentially swaying him away from Arkansas.
Members of the coaching staff already had an in-home visit with Noah Gatlin, another in-state offensive line commit, earlier this week.
Commits Connor Noland, Sean Michael Flanagan earn top in-state awards
Arkansas commits Connor Noland and Sean Michael Flanagan were honored as recipients of 2017 Farm Bureau Insurance Awards presented by Hootens earlier this week.
Noland, a quarterback from Greenwood (Ark.), received the award for the top Class 7A/6A offensive player in Arkansas. Flanagan received the same honor at the Class 3A level for his play as a wide receiver at Charleston (Ark.) this past season.
Arkansas defensive end commit Isaiah Nichols was one of three finalists for Class 7A/6A defensive player of the year. That award went to North Little Rock’s Zavion Moore.
Noland, Flanagan and Nichols are all expected to sign with Arkansas next Wednesday.
ICYMI: RB Jeremy Gibson off Arkansas’ commitment list
Arkansas lost the commitment of running back Jeremy Gibson on Tuesday afternoon. He made the announcement via Twitter. It was a decision that was presumably made easy because of a change in direction under the new staff.
Gibson was recruited by the previous coaching staff under Bret Bielema. He committed last June following a visit to campus. Morris’ group was not actively recruiting Gibson.
From Riverside Academy in Reserve, La., Gibson was out with a knee injury for much of his senior season. He officially visited Arkansas in early November and had knee surgery shortly after.
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