Welcome to SEC Country’s weekly Arkansas recruiting mailbag with reporter Trent Shadid. In this edition, we discuss the 2018 defensive class, an update on a defensive line target and more.
If all the defensive commits stay committed and sign in 2018, could Arkansas have a much improved defense next season? — Seth, via email
If Arkansas signs all of its current 2018 commits, the defense will definitely be improved next season. At least from a talent perspective.
It starts with defensive lineman Emmit Gooden. Currently at Independence (Kan.) Community College, Gooden would almost certainly start right away next season for the Razorbacks. Especially if he arrives on campus for the spring 2018 semester as expected. Pairing him with current Razorbacks lineman McTelvin Agim, one of his close friends, would give the Hogs two high-end talents on the defensive front.
Linebacker commit Bumper Pool is another in the 2018 class I’d expect to make an immediate impact. With him, that’s another unit that should be much improved next season. The Hogs will return starting inside linebackers De’Jon Harris and Dre Greenlaw. Pool could back them up, along with Grant Morgan, to give Arkansas a stout two-deep at the inside spots.
Pool is also talented enough to conceivably start right away, especially since he’s enrolling early for the spring semester. In that case, the Razorbacks would likely move Greenlaw to outside linebacker, giving them a starting linebacker group of Harris and Pool on the inside and Greenlaw and Randy Ramsey on the outside.
The secondary is also going to receive a boost in talent. Cornerback commits Byron Hanspard II and Tanner McCalister, both from the Dallas area, will make the corner position the deepest on Arkansas’ roster.
Chances Hogs land fulwider/what’s the latest on his recruitment?
— Zach Boatman (@zboatman4) October 18, 2017
Nick Fulwider is still expected to visit Arkansas within the next two months, likely in early December. If that’s the case, the Hogs should be his final visit before he makes a commitment decision. He’s already been a visitor for Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt this season, and will soon visit North Carolina.
I can say with confidence Arkansas definitely still wants him as its final piece of the 2018 defensive line class. With him, it’d be a stout group including Gooden, John Mincey and Isaiah Nichols.
As for where the Hogs stand in Fulwider’s eyes, nothing has changed recently. He still views Arkansas as one of his favorites. He was very impressed with the school when he visited last summer. His next trip will be the key to potentially signing him.
The biggest detractor for the Razorbacks is distance from home. He’s very close with his family, especially his mom, and his home near Atlanta is obviously a long way from Fayetteville.
Still, the Hogs have as good of a chance as any right now and are probably pushing for him as hard as any school. If they can make him feel at home in Fayetteville again like they did last summer, there’s a strong chance he signs with the Hogs.
Does Arkansas have a realistic chance to get Luke Ford? — Anonymous direct message
I don’t think Arkansas has any chance at getting 4-star tight end Luke Ford re-committed. My guess is it’ll come down to Alabama and Georgia with the Crimson Tide having a slight edge.
There’s just too much uncertainty surrounding Arkansas’ program right now for the Hogs to land an out-of-state, top-100 recruit like Ford. The only advantage they currently hold in his recruitment is tight end usage. The Razorbacks are throwing to their tight ends more than any of his top choices.
If Arkansas can find a way to turn things around the rest of the season and eliminate any questions about Bret Bielema’s job, they’ll have chance. Otherwise, don’t expect the Razorbacks to get Ford.
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