Arkansas’ 2018 recruiting class has nine commitments and only a handful of spots left to fill as the 2017 season approaches.
Currently, it appears the Razorbacks likely will sign around 15 players in the class. They have just 12 scholarship seniors on the current roster and two blueshirts from the 2017 class who will receive scholarships between now and the 2018 spring semester.
Here’s SEC Country’s projection of what the class will look like after National Signing Day.
Connor Noland, 4-star, Greenwood (Ark.)
Noland is as firmly committed as a recruit can be. A two-sport standout, the right-hander also plans to pitch for the Razorbacks.
Though Noland hasn’t wavered on his commitment since pledging last July, other top programs have inquired about his availability. He’s told them all he has no interest. Professional baseball is the biggest threat that would keep him from coming to Fayetteville. He likely will be taken in the 2018 MLB Draft but has said it will take a significant amount of money for him to turn down college.
Gerry Bohanon Jr., 4-star, Earle (Ark.)
The longer Bohanon’s recruitment drags out, the more Arkansas’ chances of getting him seem to increase. He has listed the Hogs with Baylor, Georgia, Louisville, Mississippi State and Ole Miss as his top choices.
Mississippi State was at one point believed to be his favorite, but 4-star quarterback Jaylen Mayden has since committed to the Bulldogs. That undoubtedly helped the Hogs, considering their greatest disadvantage was already having a quarterback committed. If Bohanon’s other top choices gain a quarterback pledge before he’s ready to commit, that likely pushes him further towards Arkansas. The Razorbacks are definitely willing to sign two quarterbacks in the class.
Running back (1)
Jeremy Gibson, 3-star, Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.)
Gibson made his commitment to Arkansas following a visit to the campus in early June. He’s become very close with wide receivers coach Michael Smith — the primary recruiter in Louisiana — and running backs coach Reggie Mitchell. His recruitment has been shut down since he pledged to the Hogs.
Tight end (1)
Dante Lang, 3-star, Boca Raton (Fla.)
This is going out on a limb because Arkansas would have to shift its focus with Lang to bring him in as a tight end. The Hogs have offered him, but as a defensive lineman. But that position group is near complete, and tight end is now open after 4-star Luke Ford de-committed last month.
Lang’s offers suggest he can play defensive line or tight end at a high level. He likes the Razorbacks coaching staff, particularly assistant Vernon Hargreaves, so if they want him at tight end, they’ll have a great chance.
Florida, which is pursuing Lang as a tight end, is clearly one of the other top options. The Hogs hold an advantage over the Gators based on Arkansas’ recent development of tight ends.
Offensive line (3)
Noah Gatlin, 3-star, Jonesboro (Ark.)
Arkansas offered Gatlin on June 18 and he committed three days later. It was clear he was waiting for an offer from the flagship school in his state to end his recruitment. Barring something drastic, it’s extremely unlikely Gatlin backs out.
Luke Jones, 3-star, Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.)
Jones received an offer the same day as Gatlin, when both were on campus for Arkansas’ Trench Hogs camp. The coaching staff pushed to have Jones committed within a few days as well, though he has opted to wait. Even though he hasn’t yet joined Gatlin as a commit, the Razorbacks are the favorite.
Princeton Pines, 3-star, University Lab (Baton Rouge, La.)
Pines visited Arkansas last fall and received an offer from the Hogs in May. His interest level is high, but the same can be said about LSU and Mississippi State. However, the Bulldogs already have two offensive linemen committed with only one scholarship senior departing from the unit after the 2017 season. The Tigers haven’t yet offered and it seems unlikely they will with three offensive linemen already pledged to their class. So that leaves Arkansas in an advantageous spot to revamp its efforts with Pines.
The Hogs have other offensive linemen higher on their priority list (Curtis Dunlap, Penei Sewell, Jerome Carvin), but it’s hard to envision Arkansas landing any of those players considering the competition.
Defensive line (3)
Emmit Gooden, 3-star, Independence (Kan.) Community College
Gooden enjoys the recruiting process. He’s open and candid about all schools pushing to land his commitment. Because of that, some have wondered if he may be swayed away from Arkansas. He put those rumors to rest recently when he reaffirmed his commitment via Twitter. A close friends of Arkansas defensive lineman McTelvin “Sosa” Agim, it would be a surprise if Gooden spurned the Hogs at this point.
Isaiah Nichols, 3-star, Springdale (Ark.)
Like Gatlin, Nichols was offered at the Trench Hogs camp and committed just days later. Arkansas is his dream school, and he jumped at the opportunity to join.
Nicholas Fulwider, 3-star, Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.)
Currently, it appears Arkansas isn’t the top choice for Fulwider. However, he expects to visit Fayetteville before the end of the month, around the same time he expects to announce his commitment decision. And if he can’t make the trip, he likely will push back his commitment date.
That’s an indication he really wants to get anther look at Arkansas after already visiting earlier this summer. This coaching staff is becoming notorious for closing the deal on visits. Maybe the Hogs can do it again with Fulwider.
Inside linebacker (1)
Bumper Pool, 4-star, Lovejoy (Lucas, Texas)
Pool has deep family ties to the Razorbacks, the school he grew up rooting for and dreaming of playing for one day. He’s on track to graduate high school in December and enroll for the 2018 spring semester. He’ll likely be the Hogs’ highest-ranked signee and will have a chance to play right away.
Outside linebacker (1)
Maureese Wren, 3-star, Horn (Mesquite, Texas)
Wren is expected to visit Arkansas soon, at which point the Razorbacks likely will push to lock in his commitment.
Sean Michael Flanagan, 3-star, Charleston (Ark.)
Flanagan committed to Arkansas the same day he received an offer in early June. The Natural State native always has wanted to be a Hog and now has his opportunity. There’s almost no chance he backtracks on that decision. His position could change, though, as he’s equally capable of playing wide receiver.
Byron Hanspard II, 4-star, DeSoto (Texas)
Along with Noland and Pool, Hanspard is one of the Razorbacks’ most secure pledges. He’s been committed since mid-March, and had Arkansas as his top choice for four mouths prior to that.
Tanner McCalister, 3-star, Heath (Rockwall, Texas)
McCalister was quick to jump on board as it became clear his opportunity may be gone if he waited too long. His pledge in June likely filled the Hogs’ final open spot in the defensive backfield.