When a recruit is ready to commit, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema has serious discussions with the player about what that means. If you’re going to verbally pledge to the Razorbacks, it’s expected to stick. If you’re not that serious about it, don’t commit.
The philosophy is effective in avoiding de-commitments. Rarely have the Razorbacks had a commit go elsewhere or even take other visits, which is considered a de-commitment in some cases.
Since Bielema arrived in December 2012, the Razorbacks have had five de-commits. Alabama has had nine, LSU six, Mississippi State 10 and Ole Miss nine in the 2017 class alone.
Here’s a look at the two de-commits Arkansas has had in the 2017 class:
3-star OL Dwayne Fisher
Commitment date: April 7, 2016
De-commitment date: May 14, 2016
Why he de-committed: Fisher gave the typical reasons for de-committing about a month after he’d announced his pledge. He wanted to reopen his recruitment heading into the summer so he could take visits elsewhere. At the time, he said the Hogs still were in consideration, though he apparently no longer had any consistent contact with the coaching staff.
What Arkansas lost: Considering he ended up committing to Louisiana-Monroe earlier this week, Fisher doesn’t look like much of a loss for Arkansas. The Razorbacks have three other 3-star offensive linemen in the class who already are on campus as early enrollees. They also have two others expected to join the program as preferred walk-ons. Truth is, Fisher may have let the Hogs off the hook when he de-committed.
Final decision: Louisiana-Monroe on Jan. 23, 2017
3-star DE Ryder Anderson
Commitment date: June 23, 2016
De-commitment date: Nov. 28, 2016
Why he de-committed: On the surface, it looked like a one-sided de-commitment when Anderson flipped from Arkansas to Ole Miss in late November. But looking into this a little deeper, it seems like more of a mutual breakup. At the time, Arkansas had 20 commits in the class. When asked about those 20 during a news conference a few days before Anderson’s flip, Bielema revealed the Hogs only had 19 to his knowledge. Common sense suggests Anderson was the odd man out there, but he hadn’t announced his intentions to de-commit. In fact, he never did. Anderson only announced his pledge to Ole Miss on Nov. 28 without mentioning Arkansas. It’s likely both parties agreed it wouldn’t work out, and Anderson waited to find another home before going public.
What Arkansas lost: A prospect with a lot of potential, yet he needs some time for growth. Anderson (6-foot-7, 230 pounds) likely will need considerable time to develop before he’s ready to make an impact at the SEC level. Arkansas isn’t in much of a position to take a bunch of project players on defense now. He also doesn’t have a great positional fit in the 3-4 scheme, which the Hogs are switching to as their primary defense.
Final decision: Ole Miss on Nov. 28, 2016
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.