Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook. In this edition, we discuss top targets pledging elsewhere, Fourth of July edits and a target at The Opening.
Arkansas misses out on pair of 2018 targets
Arkansas was among the final schools in contention for outside linebacker Thurman Geathers and tackle Jalynn Strickland. Both announced their commitments on the Fourth of July, and both decided against joining the Razorbacks’ 2018 class.
Strickland, a 3-star lineman according to 247Sports composite ratings, committed to North Carolina State. The Ware County (Waycross, Ga.) prospect visited Arkansas last month and came away impressed. At that time, it was believed the Hogs were his top choice.
Missing out on Strickland isn’t a significant disappointment. It leaves a spot open for the Razorbacks to possibly land a higher-rated offensive line prospect. Guard Curtis Dunlap and tackles Penei Sewell and Jerome Carvin are the top options now. Additionally, the Hogs are the favorites to get 3-star Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.) tackle Luke Jones. So, there are options. The Razorbacks already have 3-star Jonesboro (Ark.) tackle Noah Gatlin committed.
Losing out on Geathers stings a bit more, though. Especially considering where he committed. The 3-star from North Cobb (Kennesaw, Ga.) pledged to Louisville. That’s right, he’s going to play for former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, whose embarrassing exit from Fayetteville in 2012 still doesn’t sit well with many Hogs fans.
Arkansas does not have an outside linebacker committed in the class. Horn (Mesquite, Texas) 3-star Maureese Wren is expected to visit Fayetteville soon and appears to be the next serious option.
The Razorbacks’ 2018 class remains at nine commitments, with the expectation to sign 15 players.
Mom of top target loves Arkansas’ Independence Day edit
Arkansas’ recruiting department sent out several edits to targets and commitments for the Fourth of July. The mother of top defensive line target Nicholas Fulwider was particularly impressed.
Fulwider’s mom, Dee Harris, re-posted the edit to Twitter, stating it was her favorite among the many her son has received. Fulwider (6-7, 245) is a 3-star recruit and expects to announce his commitment later in July. He already has visited Arkansas and plans to do so again in July.
Fulwider wasn’t the only recruit to receive a Fourth of July edit from the Hogs. Arkansas defensive line commit Emmit Gooden and quarterback target Gerry Bohanon Jr. posted similar edits to Twitter they received from the Hogs.
Ok, I've been trying to stay "neutral" but, this is my absolute favorite edit. Happy Independence Day! pic.twitter.com/rH8iLzG1dD
— Dee Harris (@AkA1908DF) July 4, 2017
TE target Luke Ford among top performers at The Opening
Former Arkansas commit Luke Ford was one of the standout performers at Nike’s The Opening.
Ford, a 4-star tight end from Carterville (Ill.), helped team Mach Speed win the 7-on-7 competition Monday. He also impressed many reporters and evaluators on the scene. The Opening is the premier, invite-only camp for high school recruits across the country.
Arkansas still is considered a possibility for Ford (6-7, 250) despite his de-commitment in June. The Hogs are in the running with Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU and others. He said last week the Crimson Tide hold a slight edge over the competition.
“Me and [Arkansas coach Bret Bielema] are good,” Ford told reporters at The Opening. “He was fine with it. The only way I could [visit other schools] is to de-commit. [Visiting while committed] would look bad for the program and I didn’t want to hurt the program or the recruiting class.
“[Arkansas] is in it. I love the coaches there, and we still have a good relationship. They just kind of took a break with me after I de-committed, but it’s started back up.”
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