Welcome to SEC Country’s weekly Arkansas recruiting mailbag with reporter Trent Shadid. In this edition, we discuss a Louisiana running back, guns on campus and 5-star recruits.
“Are we looking at the running back from Many, Louisiana?” — Joe Bryant via Facebook
A.J. Carter is the recruit in question here, and I’ve heard from sources in Louisiana that Carter has a lot of interest in Arkansas. Now, is that interest mutual? We’ll have to wait and see.
The Razorbacks haven’t offered to this point, but Carter (6-foot-1, 220 pounds) is definitely on their radar. Bret Bielema’s staff is typically far more conservative with offers than other programs, so it’s not a stretch to say Razorbacks recruiters could be very interested and are simply still evaluating. The Hogs extended a 111 reported 2018 offers to this point, second-least in the SEC.
Carter is a 3-starprospect, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He had an outstanding junior season in 2017, rushing for 2,289 yards and 41 touchdowns. His current offers include Kansas State, Mississippi State, Missouri and UCLA.
The Razorbacks reportedly offered seven other running backs in the 2018 recruiting class. There’s a chance Carter is one of the next few in line to be evaluated by the coaching staff.
My prediction is the Hogs offer Carter by the end of the summer, assuming an already-offered running back does not commit between now and then.
“Since it’s a hot topic right now, how much negative impact can we expect from the campus carry ruling? I can see situations were it will be a huge disadvantage.” — Angie Tom Young via Facebook
This is a really interesting question, because most of the talk centered around House Bill 1249 has involved guns being allowed inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. However, an exemption for athletic venues passed through the Arkansas Senate. The exemption now must pass through the House of Representatives and Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who signed the bill into law last week, to become effective.
Even with the exemption, the bill allows those with concealed carry permits and proper training to bring firearms onto campus. So what will the effect be on recruiting?
I can say with certainty if the exemption is not passed to keep firearms out of the stadium, it will have a negative effect on Hogs recruiting efforts. Coach Bret Bielema and his staff know that. If I had to bet on it, I’d say the exemption gets passed and that concern is avoided.
As for guns on campus in general, I would not anticipate that hurting recruiting. I say that because it’s not all that uncommon, to steal a phrase from the Razorbacks’ football program. According to ArmedCampuses.org, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas and Texas A&M already abide by certain laws permitting concealed guns on campus. I have not heard of those programs being hurt in recruiting as a result.
“What’s the reason we can’t get 5-star recruits?” — Paul Barnett via Facebook
There are only 25 5-star prospects in the 2018 recruiting class. Of those, only four are from a bordering state and none from Arkansas. The most recent in-state 5-star did sign with the Razorbacks — sophomore defensive lineman McTelvin “Sosa” Agim.
So it’s about numbers. There just aren’t many 5-star prospects out there. Even so, if more were Natural State natives, the Hogs would have more on the roster. They’ve done a good job of locking in the state’s top talent in recent years.
The reality is the state doesn’t even produce many 4-star recruits with only two currently in the 2018 class, one of which is already committed to the Hogs.