Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook. In this edition, we discuss offensive line recruiting, the current scholarship count and a bump in rating for a top in-state target.
Arkansas’ 2019 OL progress allowing for advanced work on 2020
Across the board, Arkansas’ 2019 class is slightly behind on commitments compared to the rest of the SEC. That’s not true of every position group, though.
The Razorbacks’ offensive line class is in good shape. Two of Arkansas’ three commits are offensive linemen, and five of the six official visitors to campus this spring have been offensive linemen. The Hogs still have some work to do, as they’re projected to sign as many as five offensive linemen in the group. But the two commitments — Beaux Limmer and Joseph Stone — appear to be unwavering in their decision. And the final remaining spots are essentially spoken for if all goes according to plan.
With things settling into place for 2019, Arkansas is already putting in significant effort recruiting the position group for 2020.
The Hogs offered 2020 offensive lineman Ray Curry Jr. last week. He’s a high-end 3-star recruit, according to the 247Sports composite. His offer list includes Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M and several other Power 5 schools.
Curry (6-foot-6, 315 pounds) attends White Station High School in Memphis, Tenn., and is one of four 2020 offensive linemen from Memphis with an Arkansas offer. He’s joined on that list by three 4-star prospects — Omari Thomas (6-5, 280), Marcus Henderson (6-5, 300) and Chris Morris (6-4, 270). Thomas and Morris visited Fayetteville in February.
Arkansas isn’t only going after the top 2020 Memphis offensive linemen, either. The Hogs have offered five others rated among the top 100 overall recruits in the class. That list includes 5-star tackle Andrew Raym from Broken Arrow (Okla.) and 4-star tackle Chad Lindberg from Clear Creek (League City, Texas). Both prospects visited Fayetteville in the spring.
These efforts to improve the offensive front are much-needed. Arkansas had one of the worst offensive lines in the SEC each of the past two season. The decline in play from the unit was a significant factor in the downfall of the Bret Bielema era. The silver lining for the Hogs’ future is the new staff is clearly putting in an immense amount of effort to rebuild things in the offensive trenches.
Scholarship count update
Arkansas defensive lineman Jake Hall is set to leave the Hogs program as a graduate transfer, heading to SMU. His departure finally gets the Razorbacks where they need to be in terms of scholarship numbers for next season.
The Hogs began spring practice in March projected to have 90 scholarship players for the 2018 season. That projection included the 76 seemingly on campus at the time and 14 signees set to arrive in the summer. That number had to come down, though, as it was five more than the 85-scholarship limit for FBS programs.
Since then, coach Chad Morris stated early in the spring that linebacker Josh Paul and tight end Jack Kraus were no longer with the program. Tight end Will Gragg and safety Reid Miller departed as graduate transfers shortly after spring practices. Defensive back Korey Hernandez also announced transfer intentions.
That brought Arkansas down to 85 scholarship players with the status of defensive back Kevin Richardson pending. Richardson was granted a sixth year with the program last week. Not long after that development, Hall’s departure became known.
This puts the Razorbacks exactly where they need to be and prevents any upcoming issues with the signees set to arrive this summer. It also means Arkansas will very likely be right at the 85-player limit for next season, so the expectation that the Hogs will have 20 to 22 signees in the 2019 class is right on track.
In-state target Zach Williams receives bump in rating
Arkansas 2019 defensive end target Zach Williams is finally getting some of the recruiting ratings love he likely deserves.
The Joe T. Robinson (Little Rock, Ark.) prospect was recently moved up from a 3- to a 4-star prospect by 247Sports. He is a 3-star recruit by Rivals, and comes to a 4-star overall by the 247Sports composite.
Williams (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) is among Arkansas’ most important targets in the 2019 class. The Hogs are considered the favorite to land his pledge, but his offer list is making his decision-making process increasingly difficult. He’s added Alabama, Florida, Georgia, TCU, Tennessee, Texas and several other Power 5 schools to his offer list in recent months.
No program seems to be recruiting him harder than the Hogs, though. Arkansas’ staff even sent him a congratulatory message via Twitter following his elevated rating.
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