Arkansas likely will be waiting until National Signing Day on Feb. 1 to find out the college choice of its most highly-touted high school recruit.
Chevin Calloway — a 4-star prospect from Bishop Dunne High School in Dallas — has the Hogs as one of three finalists along with Ole Miss and Texas. He is the No. 12 cornerback and No. 115 overall recruit in the 2017 class.
Calloway (5-foot-11, 180 pounds) is officially visiting the Longhorns this weekend, which he did with the Rebels last month. The Razorbacks will get to make the last impression with his visit to Fayetteville planned for next weekend.
In major college football, several schools having to wait until National Signing Day for the decision from one of their top targets is a regular occurrence. Though it’s common, and coaching staffs are often prepared to plan accordingly, these circumstances still put programs in difficult positions as they try to fully utilize scholarship limits. Because most top recruits will sign Feb. 1, the first day they’re allowed, options will be limited after.
The good news
Entering this week, it looked like Arkansas would have to wait on two of its top final targets. However, 3-star safety Kamren Curl announced earlier this week that he will announce his decision next Thursday instead of National Signing Day. The Hogs are a finalist for Curl along with Baylor, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, TCU and Texas.
With Arkansas still needing to add at least one more defensive lineman in the class, waiting until signing day for two defensive backs would’ve been tough to do. The Hogs currently have 21 combined commits and signees and are looking to sign 23-25 total.
Let’s assume Curl was still waiting until National Signing Day. Then say the Razorbacks received a commitment from a defensive lineman — junior college transfers Melvin Johnson and Malik Young appear the most likely. They likely would’ve entered signing day with 22 spots locked up. If they then missed out on both Calloway and Curl, they’d be left scrambling for other options. It looks like that possibly will be avoided now with Curl announcing next week.
The backup plan
The Razorbacks probably have no backup plan, at least not at cornerback in this class, if Calloway signs elsewhere. They also don’t really need one. Three other cornerbacks in this class are already committed.
If their cornerback plans fall through, it would give the Hogs more flexibility to potentially bring in a graduate transfer or give a scholarship to a deserving walk-on at some point. Leaving room to add a grad transfer is something coach Bret Bielema has mentioned the Hogs will consider, though it’s not yet apparent who all will be in that market.
The best-case scenario
This class will be viewed as a success if the Razorbacks sign Calloway, Curl and a junior college defensive lineman. Those additions would put the finishing touches on a class that almost certainly would finish in the top 25 nationally for a third straight year.
According to 247Sports’ composite rankings, Arkansas hasn’t had three consecutive classes finish in the top 25 in 15 years.
All rankings and ratings come from the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.