Welcome to SEC Country’s weekly Arkansas recruiting mailbag with reporter Trent Shadid. In this edition, we discuss where the 2018 class may rank nationally, a 2018 wide receiver and basketball commits.
Where do you think the 2018 class ends up nationally? — Seth via email
The final national ranking for Arkansas’ 2018 class won’t crack the 247Sports composite top 40. I’d project a finish between No. 45-50 right now.
That’s obviously not where fans want to see it. But it’s largely due to a small number of signees. The average rating of each commit — currently .8655 — is on par with Arkansas’ previous five classes under coach Bret Bielema. None of those classes finished outside the top 30, though the Hogs signed at least 22 players in each of them.
The quality of recruits coming in is going to be roughly the same as recent years. Maybe a little better. But the rankings value quantity as well, which will hold Arkansas back.
The Razorbacks are on track to commit 16 scholarships to the class. Two of those are expected to go to blueshirts (players who arrived as walk-ons but were promised a delayed scholarship) from the 2017 class. That puts the Hogs at 14 projected signees in the class.
The 2018 class sits at No. 45 nationally with 12 commits. Based on the average rating of each commit, the Hogs would be No. 25. Personally, I think the latter is what really matters. Quantity doesn’t always equal quality.
Any updates on Erik Ezukanma? Any explanation as to why he was picked to go to Arkansas on 247 crystal ball? — @benpayne_52
This came out of left field over the past month. Not because there hasn’t been mutual interest between Arkansas and Ezukanma, a 4-star recruit from the Dallas area. There was when I talked to him in March.
It came as a surprise because since that time, Arkansas had moved away from pursuing wide receivers in the class. The Razorbacks signed six in 2017 — four from high school and two mid-year junior college transfers — and they’re projected to lose only one after this season.
So, with 12 scholarship receivers projected to be on the roster for 2018, there’s no need for a wide receiver in a class with limited scholarships and greater areas of need.
At present, 247Sports has nine recruiting experts picking Ezukanma to Arkansas. The first was E.J. Holland. He’s Dallas based and primarily covers Texas Longhorns recruiting. He does an outstanding job. I don’t doubt he found reason to believe Ezukanma would end up at Arkansas. But knowing what I do covering the Razorbacks daily, I don’t see any way that will be the case.
Possible commits for basketball? — @sam_melson23
The next basketball addition to the 2018 class may be 4-star forward Josh LeBlanc. From Baton Rouge, La., he’s expected to announce his top-3 choices soon. It would be a bit of a shock if Arkansas is not among them. He’d be a great fit in this class, bringing size (6-foot-7, 215 pounds) and lockdown defensive ability.
T.J. Moss, a 3-star guard from Memphis, Tenn., also looks like a strong option. Those are the two I would consider most likely to round out this class, which has three commits.
Here are a few other names to keep an eye on:
- Kaden Archie, 4-star SF, Midlothian (Texas)
- Reggie Chaney, 3-star PF, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
- Jericole Hellems, 3-star SF, Chaminade (St. Louis)
- Amanze Ngumezi, 3-star PF, Johnson (Savannah, Ga.)
To submit a question for recruiting mailbags, email Shadid13@gmail.com or send a message to @Shadid13 on Twitter.