Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook. In this edition, we discuss a 4-star quarterback, a prominent nomination for some commits and targets, a top target going elsewhere and more.
QB pledge to Mississippi State may help Arkansas’ chances with top in-state recruit Gerry Bohanon Jr.
Sachse (Texas) quarterback Jalen Mayden announced his pledge to Mississippi State earlier this week. A 4-star prospect according to 247Sports composite rankings, he chose the Bulldogs over Baylor, Louisville, Nebraska and Tennessee.
So, what does that have to do with Arkansas? Potentially a lot in terms in the recruitment of another quarterback.
Earle (Ark.) 4-star prospect Gerry Bohanon Jr. was widely considered to be leaning toward Mississippi State last week when he was set to announce his commitment. He eventually delayed the announcement and instead released a top 6 that included Arkansas, Baylor, Georgia, Louisville, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
Arkansas has had 4-star Greenwood (Ark.) quarterback Connor Noland firmly committed since last July. It seemed unlikely for some time the Hogs would bring another quarterback into the class, though coach Bret Bielema has recently clarified it is a possibility.
With Mayden now expected to be in the Bulldogs’ 2018 haul, one of their significant advantages (no quarterback committed) over the Razorbacks is eliminated. None of Bohanon’s other top choices currently have a quarterback committed, so those schools could likely get a stronger look as well. But, at the very least, this could help close the perceived distance between Arkansas and Bohanon’s top choice.
Several commits and targets nominated for Army Bowl
The Razorbacks’ four 2018 commits have all been named as nominees for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Noland, linebacker Bumper Pool, tight end Luke Ford and cornerback Byron Hanspard II are among the 400 players nominated. All of the commits are 4-star recruits.
A pair of in-state prospects — Bohanon and 3-star Joe T. Robinson (Little Rock, Ark.) wide receiver/defensive back Nathan Page — also are on the list. Page has yet to be offered, though the Hogs have shown strong interest.
From the list of nominees, 100 will be selected to play in the game at the Alamodome in San Antonio next January.
Arkansas 4-star LB target Alston Orji commits to Vanderbilt
When Vanderbilt lands the commitment of a 4-star recruit, it comes as a major shock. As was the case when Rockwall (Texas) 4-star linebacker Alston Orji announced his pledge to the Commodores on Tuesday evening.
Vanderbilt didn’t sign a 4-star or better prospect in its 2017 class and signed just one the previous year. His decision leaves several major programs wondering how they missed out on a prized recruit to Vandy, Arkansas included.
The Razorbacks, by all accounts, put a lot of effort into the recruitment of Orji. They were the first school to offer him during the spring of his sophomore year. He visited campus last season for the Hogs’ win against Florida.
Orji kept in close touch with the coaches throughout the process. He was on a call with the entire staff earlier this year to discuss how interested the Hogs are in him.
Academics were often indicated as a major selling point in his recruitment. So, in that sense, this decision seems logical. Still, it’s a tough one for the Razorbacks to miss out on considering the effort made.
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