Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook. In this edition, we discuss why five Arkansas commits should see their star rating elevated this fall.
Arkansas’ 4-star targets won’t rate higher, but other recruits could
Arkansas currently has 12 commitments in the 2018 class.
The class is headlined by 247Sports composite 4-star recruits Byron Hanspard II (CB), Connor Noland (QB) and Bumper Pool (LB). Don’t expect any of those three to rise into 5-star status. But Noland (No. 303) and Pool (No. 267) are strong candidates to push toward the top 150 overall.
So, that leaves the vast majority (nine) as 3-star prospects. However, some of them have a strong chance at seeing that star rating go up in the coming months. Here are five commits SEC Country believes could see an elevated star rating before signing with the Razorbacks:
Emmit Gooden, 3-star DT, Independence (Kan.) Community College
Gooden is the No. 9 overall junior college recruit in the 2018 class. The top 6 are currently all 4-star prospects. While Gooden could very well climb into that range, he’ll likely be bumped to a 4-star prospect, regardless.
Since 2012, each of the top 15 junior college prospects has been 4-star rated by the time he signed. It would probably take something drastic to drop Gooden out of that range. He’s just too talented as a run stuffer and pass rusher.
Rivals already has Gooden rated as a 4-star prospect while 247Sports and Scout have him just below that. Once ESPN rates junior college prospects in the class, expect Gooden to become a composite 4-star player. The site rated him as a 4-star defensive end coming out of high school in the 2016 class.
Tanner McCalister, 3-star CB, Heath (Rockwall, Texas)
Like Gooden, McCalister already is on the borderline of being elevated to a 4-star rating. He’s the No. 406 overall prospect in the class. The top 330 are 4-star prospects or better.
He’s already a 4-star recruit according to two outlets — ESPN and Scout. A big jump in his 247Sports rating (No. 684) likely is in store this fall.
Reports from the Dallas area say McCalister looked really good working out over the spring and summer, so a strong senior season is expected. That should be enough to give him the bump he needs to rise in rating.
Maureese Wren, 3-star ATH, Horn (Mesquite, Texas)
Up until last spring, Wren had been viewed as a wide receiver prospect. Understandably so, as that’s the primary position he played as a junior last season.
Wren was good enough at that position to receive several FBS offers. But he definitely wasn’t an elite enough receiver to approach 4-star status.
So, he worked out at outside linebacker during some camps over the spring and summer. Once coaches saw him at that spot, his recruitment really took off. He’s expected to play a lot more outside linebacker as a senior in Horn’s 3-4 defense, the same scheme Arkansas primarily deploys. The film of him playing in that position this spring is enough to suggest a rise in rating is coming.
Sean Michael Flanagan, 3-star ATH, Charleston (Ark.)
When it comes to recruiting ratings, Flanagan is undoubtedly hurt for a couple of main reasons — position and location.
His position is basically anywhere and everywhere Charleston, a 3A school, needs him to play. He’s been outstanding as a wide receiver. Arkansas currently views him as a fit at his other primary position — safety. It can be difficult to evaluate players who don’t come off the field or primarily have highlights at a position they aren’t likely going to play in college. Both of those things hold true for Flanagan.
Then there’s the small-school disadvantage. Regardless of what anyone says, it’s real. Playing at a lower level in high school is always something most evaluators struggle with when rating a recruit. In some cases, it’s fair to weigh it negatively against a prospect. In Flanagan’s case, it’s not. He would make plays all over the field at any level.
He’s already a 4-star recruit according to ESPN. Any sort of rise on two of the other sites would get him close to being 4-star rated across the board.
Ty Evans, 3-star QB, Palmer Ridge (Monument, Colo.)
This is cheating a little bit as Evans is a 2019 recruit, so he has a long time to jump from a 3- to a 4-star prospect.
Evans is going to play his junior season at around 6-foot-2, 190 pounds. That’s a considerable boost in size from where he was a year ago (6-1, 167). It’s worth bringing up because it will make it easier to project how he’ll do at the next level. It’s difficult to rate a prospect before he even looks like a potential Division I player.
Combine the added size with another year of excellent production — he threw for 3,130 yards and 30 touchdowns last season — and Evans is destined to rise in rating.
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