Welcome to SEC Country’s weekly Arkansas recruiting mailbag with reporter Trent Shadid. In this edition, we discuss the 2018 offensive line class, Emmit Gooden’s commitment status and more.
How does Noah Banks’ commitment impact this class? Are they done at OL? — Anonymous direct message via Twitter
In case you missed it, Iowa Western offensive tackle Noah Banks committed to Arkansas on Wednesday morning. The Hogs now have three offensive linemen committed in the class, as he joins in-state high school recruits Noah Gatlin and Luke Jones.
Banks’ pledge is significant for the Razorbacks. He’s 6-foot-7, 305 pounds and seemingly ready to play at the SEC level immediately. Originally from Pensacola, Fla., he spent two seasons at Murray State, an FCS school, before transferring to Iowa Western ahead of this season. He’s been a main cog on the offensive front for Iowa Western, which is 9-1 and ranked No. 3 nationally at the NJCAA level.
Banks is older, bigger, stronger and more experienced than any other offensive line recruit the Hogs could get at this point. That’s exactly what the Razorbacks need. He was one of those JUCO recruits who was beginning to receive a lot of late attention from Power 5 schools. Arkansas offered him in September while he was on an official visit. He’d also been offered by Iowa State, Missouri and Minnesota in recent months.
While Banks gives Arkansas a pledge it desperately needed, I don’t think this means the Hogs are finished recruiting offensive linemen. Ideally, they would also land the commitment of Arizona Western tackle Jahmir Johnson. He’s set to officially visit Fayetteville next weekend when the Hogs take on Mississippi State. His commitment would give Arkansas everything it could realistically ask for from this offensive line class — two in-state high school recruits and two SEC-ready JUCO prospects.
How bad does Emmit Gooden’s de-commitment hurt Arkansas’ recruiting class? And is there a chance he re-commits? — Seth via email
There’s no doubt not having Emmit Gooden in this class hurts Arkansas. The 3-star defensive tackle from Independence (Kan.) Community College is talented enough to come in and likely start right away.
That being said, the Hogs have a great chance to pick up Noah Jefferson, another JUCO defensive tackle. Jefferson attends Arizona Western and will officially visit Arkansas for the Mississippi State game. He previously spent two seasons at Southern Cal before transferring to the JUCO level for a fresh start. He also has the size (6-6, 320 pounds) and ability to play immediately for the Hogs. Helping their chances is Jefferson’s older brother, Cam, who played offensive line at Arkansas as a senior in 2015 after transferring from UNLV.
Truthfully, the Razorbacks would probably take Gooden and Jefferson, then figure how to make the scholarship numbers work. They need help on the defensive front and they know it.
As for whether Gooden would re-commit, I have no clue. In fact, he’s disputed that he’s de-committed at times over the past week, only to contradict that claim at other times. I guess it depends on who he’s talking to at the time. My understanding remains that he’s not currently considered part of Arkansas’ class. For now, I’m just waiting to see what happens with him when the December signing period opens.
What does Arkansas have left to do in the 2018 class? — Anonymous direct message via Twitter
As stated in the previous answers, Arkansas would potentially take a fourth offensive line commit and possibly two more defensive linemen. The Hogs are also desperately pursuing an outside linebacker for this class, which they currently do not have.
Here’s the rundown of how many are pledged at each position along with the number of players projected to be signed at each spot:
- QB: 1/2 (Connor Noland)
- RB: 1/1 (Jeremy Gibson)
- TE: 0/1
- WR: 0/0
- OL: 3/4 (Banks, Gatlin, Jones)
- DL: 2/4 (John Mincey, Isaiah Nichols)
- ILB: 1/1 (Bumper Pool)
- OLB: 0/1
- CB: 2/2 (Byron Hanspard II, Tanner McCalister)
- S: 1/1 (Sean Michael Flanagan)
With some of these positions, Arkansas would be content to sign what they have but also wouldn’t mind an addition. Quarterback is a perfect example. The Hogs love 4-star pledge Connor Noland but wouldn’t mind getting 4-star target Gerry Bohanon Jr.
To submit a question for recruiting mailbags, email Shadid13@gmail.com or send a message to @Shadid13 on Twitter.