Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook. In this edition, we discuss two top targets from the Magnolia State.
Arkansas’ top 2019 QB priority: K.J. Jefferson
The offense Arkansas is implementing this spring and the offense in the junior season highlight film for 2019 quarterback K.J. Jefferson have a lot of similarities. There is read-option runs, plays run exclusively in the shotgun and there’s a high propensity for big plays.
There is one noticeable difference between Jefferson’s film and Morris’ offense, though. That being there is no current quarterback at Arkansas with Jefferson’s set of skills.
Jefferson (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) is a 247Sports composite 3-star prospect from North Panola High School in Sardis, Miss. He made his first visit to Arkansas last week, which is not expected to be his last.
He’s equally capable of burning a defense with his arm or legs. As a junior, he passed for 3,028 yards and 39 touchdowns. He also ran for 1,395 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Morris and offensive coordinator Joe Craddock have proven capable of operating a successful offense without a dual-threat quarterback. But it’s also obvious the staff would rather have one taking the snaps. That’s why Jefferson has seemingly been prioritized as the top target at the position.
Arkansas’ entire offensive coaching staff visited North Panola during the final days of a recruiting contact period in early February. You don’t bring the whole group down to a town of just a couple thousand people if it’s not for a high-priority player.
The staff is also using Morris’ connection to Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson as a sales pitch in their recruitment of Jefferson. Morris was the primary recruiter who signed Watson at Clemson. He and Craddock also coached Watson for one season in 2014.
The challenge now is landing Jefferson’s commitment. It won’t be easy with Georgia, Mississippi State and Ole Miss also on his offer list and many more expected to come. Early identification of his talent is an advantage Arkansas holds over the SEC competition, though. The Hogs offered him Jan. 21, becoming the first Power-5 school to do so. Those things are important, and may ultimately be what gets Arkansas a commitment from Morris’ ideal quarterback.
4-star ATH Derick Hall explains why Arkansas made his top schools
Athlete recruit Derick Hall recently placed Arkansas among his top choices. He told SEC Country earlier this week he’s hopeful to be on campus in Fayetteville early next month.
The Razorbacks are recruiting Hall (6-5, 210) as a defensive end. A 4-star prospect in the 2019 class, he played wide receiver and outside linebacker at Gulfport (Miss.) High School as a junior. He’s also been recruited by some programs as a tight end.
In an interview with SEC Country’s Blake Morgan on Wednesday, Hall went into detail about why Arkansas is one of his top schools.
“Arkansas made the cut simply because Coach Morris and I talk,” Hall said. “Not as much as I talk to [graduate assistant] Kelvin Bolden and the defensive [ends] Coach [Steve] Caldwell. They talk about how they’d love to get me up there. We basically just talk about the scheme and ways they see me playing. And that I’m a big target for them. That’s why they made the cut.”
Bolden, who assists in coaching the wide receivers, once starred at Ocean Springs (Miss.) High School just 30 miles east of Hall in Gulfport. Bolden went on to play at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Southern Miss. So, he clearly has deep connections in the area and is a relatable source of information for Hall.
“I’m the new guy. I’m just getting to know everybody and helping in recruiting,” Bolden recently told the Biloxi Sun Herald.
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