Arkansas’ 2018 recruiting class remains at nine commitments five months away from the first opportunity recruits will have to sign a National Letter of Intent. The Razorbacks last received a commitment three weeks ago when Jonesboro (Ark.) offensive lineman Noah Gatlin and Springdale (Ark.) defensive lineman Isaiah Nichols announced their pledges.
With nine spots filled, the Hogs aren’t far from completing the class and could do so before the 2017 season even begins. As of now, it appears they likely won’t have room to sign more than 15 players. They have just 12 scholarship seniors on the current roster.
The idea of having the class near completion entering the season is ideal for Bret Bielema and his coaching staff. Bielema likes to have as many commits as possible once August rolls around so more focus can be devoted to the current team.
Here’s an early glance at where things stand for the 2018 class:
Where Arkansas’ class ranks
Arkansas’ 2018 class is ranked No. 41 nationally and No. 8 in the SEC. Three of the Hogs’ nine commits are 4-star recruits. They are one of 19 programs nationally with 33 or more percent of their class rated with 4- or 5-star players.
A commitment could be coming soon with Ashdown (Ark.) cornerback LaDarrius Bishop set to announce his decision Saturday afternoon. Bishop has Arkansas, Mississippi State and Oklahoma State as his final choices. He is a 3-star recruit and the No. 5 Natural State prospect in the 2018 class. It’s unclear if the Razorbacks even have a spot left for him, though. They already have two cornerbacks committed. Taking three would be a stretch in such a small class, especially considering they signed four in the 2017 class.
In case you missed anything from this week, here are the latest headlines:
- Recruiting mailbag: How to improve recruiting; Melvin Johnson, Bumper Pool and Dante Lang
- Here’s what the facts say about Mizzou LB Eric Beisel’s ‘we get all the top Arkansas recruits’ comment
- Arkansas DL target Nicholas Fulwider considering much more than football with college decision
- Arkansas-Missouri high school all-star game a great idea and here’s how it could work
- In-state CB target LaDarrius Bishop to announce commitment Saturday
- Coach Bret Bielema deserves credit for sticking to no-visit policy
Offers by the numbers
- Reported offers: 147
- 5-star offers: 5
- 4-star offers: 69
- In-state recruits offered: 7
- Texas recruits offered: 30
- Georgia recruits offered: 24
- Florida recruits offered: 22
- Louisiana recruits offered: 17
- QB Connor Noland, 4 stars, Greenwood (Ark.)
- LB Bumper Pool, 4 stars, Lovejoy (Lucas, Texas)
- CB Byron Hanspard II, 4 stars, DeSoto (Texas)
- ATH Sean Michael Flanagan, 3 stars, Charleston (Ark.)
- RB Jeremy Gibson, 3 stars, Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.)
- CB Tanner McCalister, 3 stars, Rockwall-Heath (Rockwall, Texas)
- DT Emmit Gooden, 3 stars, Independence (Kan.) Community College
- OT Noah Gatlin, 3 stars, Jonesboro (Ark.)
- DL Isaiah Nichols, 3 stars, Springdale (Ark.)
5 top uncommitted targets
4-star QB Gerry Bohanon, Earle (Ark.)
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Bohanon has Arkansas, Baylor, Georgia, Louisville, Mississippi State and Ole Miss as his top choices. He doesn’t currently have a timetable to announce his pledge. It may come before his senior season begins in late August if he feels an urge to get it out of the way. However, he may be undecided even then. In that case, additional visits this fall would likely be the next step toward Bohanon making a decision. He’s already pushed back his commitment announcement once, and all indications are he’s firmly on the fence about where to go.
The commitment of Noland complicates the Hogs’ chances of landing Bohanon some, but it’s still a possibility. He’s mentioned before how much it would mean for him to play for the flagship school in his home state. And Bielema has stated the Hogs would possibly be willing to sign two quarterbacks in the class.
4-star TE Luke Ford, Carterville (Ill.)
Ford (6-7, 250) has gone from firmly committed to a top target for the Razorbacks after he de-committed last month. Alabama now is his top choice with Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Michigan and a handful of other Power 5 schools close behind.
Considering the list of competitors, it’s tough to envision the Hogs retrieving him. But Arkansas can point to its two Mackey Award winners since 2010 to trump all others. No other program has two since 2000, when the award for the nation’s top tight end originated.
3-star DL Nicholas Fulwider, Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.)
Fulwider expects to announce his school of choice later this month. He’ll visit Arkansas for a second time at some point this summer before making his decision. His initial trip in June turned out better than expected and helped put the Hogs in high standing with him.
In recent days, Fulwider (6-6, 245) trimmed his list to three top choices — Arkansas, Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt. His offer list also includes Michigan State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee.
If Arkansas can secure Fulwider’s commitment soon, the 2018 defensive line group will be complete with three commitments.
3-star OLB Maureese Wren, Horn (Mesquite, Texas)
Wren was initially planning to visit Fayetteville this weekend but had to alter those plans at the last minute. He now expects to make the trip later this month. The visit will be crucial to the Razorbacks’ chances as it’s likely to be his only trip to Arkansas before he plans to announce a decision Sept. 27, his birthday.
Wren is friends with Arkansas cornerback commit Tanner McCalister, who attends Heath High School in Rockwall, Texas. McCalister is one of three Razorbacks commits from the Dallas area, the same region where Wren lives.
The Hogs are joined by Baylor, Colorado, Missouri, Utah, Washington and 14 other FBS programs on Wren’s list of offers.
3-star T Luke Jones, Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.)
Jones has grown up an Arkansas fan and his older brother attends the school. Those facts have helped give a strong indication he’ll soon pledge to the Razorbacks. That commitment could come as early as July 19, or shortly after, when he’s planning to visit campus.
A 6-6, 290-pound tackle, Jones earned his offer from the Hogs at their Trench Hogs camp last month. The two other in-state recruits who received offers that day — Nichols and Gatlin — have already committed.
Here’s a breakdown of the number of commits by position and how many are projected to be signed:
- QB: 1/1 (Noland)
- RB: 1/1 (Gibson)
- TE: 0/1
- WR: 0/0
- OL: 1/3 (Gatlin)
- DL: 2/3 (Gooden, Nichols)
- ILB: 1/1 (Pool)
- OLB: 0/2
- CB: 2/2 (Hanspard II, McCalister)
- S: 1/1 (Flanagan)
Here’s a breakdown of Arkansas’ commits by state:
- Arkansas: 4 (Flanagan, Gatlin, Nichols, Noland)
- Texas: 3 (Hanspard II, McCalister, Pool)
- Louisiana: 1 (Gibson)
- Kansas: 1 (Gooden)