Arkansas recruiting: The latest on the Razorbacks’ 2018 class
Arkansas is off to a good start with its 2018 class, as the Razorbacks already have landed commitments from 4 recruits. All of those are 4-star prospects, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.
The class will be rather small overall since the Hogs are projected to lose only 12 scholarship seniors after the 2017 season. Here’s an early glance at where things stand.
Where Arkansas’ 2018 class ranks
The coaching staff has been busy evaluating recruits and extending offers over the past few months. Those efforts recently paid off with a pair of commits on back-to-back days in March from 4-star tight end Luke Ford and 4-star cornerback Byron Hanspard II. Ford was only recently upgraded to a 4-star prospect.
Throughout the spring, the Hogs will host several top targets. This weekend, the Hogs will host a bevy of prospects from Texas.
Offers by the numbers
Reported offers: 114
5-star offers: 5
4-star offers: 60
In-state recruits offered: 3
Texas recruits offered: 22
Florida recruits offered: 20
Louisiana recruits offered: 14
Georgia recruits offered: 14
Offensive linemen offered: 22
4-star QB Connor Noland, Greenwood (Ark.)
Noland (6-2, 195) became the first commit in the class last summer and has been putting in major effort to get others to join him ever since. A standout right-handed pitcher, there’s a chance he’s drafted and signs to play baseball out of high school. He told SEC Country on numerous occasions he’s treating everything as if he’ll end up with the Razorbacks. He’s also said it would take “a lot of money” to lure him away from coming to Arkansas.
Other programs have continued to recruit him. Arizona State, Florida and Michigan State have been the most recent to inquire about his availability. He’s told anyone who asks he’s as committed to Arkansas as possible.
4-star LB Bumper Pool, Lovejoy (Lucas, Texas)
Pool (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) was a huge get for Arkansas when he committed in November. He chose the Hogs over offers from Alabama, LSU, Michigan, TCU, Texas A&M and others. His family connections to the school played a significant role in his choice, but the Hogs’ coaching staff also did a nice job. He’ll be on campus this weekend for a visit.
There shouldn’t be much concern for Arkansas fans over the Razorbacks’ chances of keeping him. All indications are his commitment is solid. Like Noland, he’s been active helping recruit others to join the Hogs.
4-star CB Byron Hanspard II, DeSoto (Texas)
Hanspard (6-1, 180) initially fell in love with Arkansas during a visit last November. He nearly committed then, but held off until his family could visit campus with him. That happened in mid-March, and Hanspard announced his pledge the following day.
A highly-skilled athlete, Hanspard is a talented high jumper at DeSoto who also has exceptional speed. He’s spent just one high school season fully focused on playing cornerback after previously splitting time as a wide receiver. The move helped his recruitment take off, as he displayed loads of potential to become a standout defensive back at the next level.
4-star TE Luke Ford, Carterville (Ill.)
Ford (6-7, 250) also announced his pledge to the Hogs immediately following a visit to campus in March. He nearly didn’t even take the trip, which came just after he’d visited Illinois, because he was so impressed with the Fighting Illini and nearly ready to commit.
Once Arkansas’ coaches got him on campus, they put on the full-court press to secure his commitment. He recently said there’s a chance he’ll take other visits if his parents want to, but that it would take something unforeseen to lure him away from the Razorbacks. He also has offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma and several other Power 5 programs.
Top uncommitted targets
4-star ATH Gerry Bohanon, Earle (Ark.)
Bohanon (6-4, 220) has turned into a popular prospect since Alabama offered in January. Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State and Tennessee all have joined the mix since.
Bohanon has said in the past he’s open to playing a variety of different positions at the next level. However, it’s been apparent for some time that quarterback is his position of preference. That very well may be what prevents the Hogs from having a realistic shot. Though he says they haven’t specified, it’s believed Arkansas views him as an outside linebacker. He recently told SEC Country that all the other schools recruiting him have said they like him at quarterback.
The Razorbacks already have Noland firmly committed and almost certainly will not take two quarterbacks in the class. It’ll be interesting to see how things play out with Bohanon, though, because Arkansas is expected to do everything within reason to keep him from leaving the state. Signing him as a quarterback simply isn’t viewed as “within reason” at this point.
4-star LB Alston Orji, Rockwall (Texas)
Orji (6-2, 220) is a highly-touted outside linebacker from the Dallas area. He visited Arkansas last November, and also has been a focal point of the Hogs’ efforts for many months. The Razorbacks first began recruiting him as a sophomore, when he became one of the first 2018 prospects they offered.
Orji’s list of offers includes such programs as LSU, Michigan and Oklahoma. The Hogs were the first program to offer both he and his younger brother Anfernee, a 2019 prospect.
3-star CB LaDarrius Bishop, Ashdown (Ark.)
Arkansas immediately became a top candidate to land Bishop (6-0, 190) when he received an offer in late January. From Ashdown, he is one of the top in-state prospects in the class. Bishop is close friends and former teammates with 4-star safety Montaric Brown, who signed with the Hogs’ 2017 class. He visited campus last weekend.
3-star OL Owen Condon, Bishop McGuinness (Oklahoma City)
Condon (6-7, 315) visited Fayetteville for Arkansas’ win over Florida last season and came away impressed. He made a subsequent trip earlier this spring as the Hogs remain high on his list.
Condon also has offers from Georgia, Oklahoma State, TCU and several others. He plans to narrow down his choices in May before committing ahead of his senior season. Expect the Razorbacks to be in the race to land him.
Here’s a breakdown of the number of commits and signees by position along with how many are projected to be signed at each position:
- QB: 1/1 (Connor Noland)
- RB: 0/1
- TE: 1/2 (Luke Ford)
- WR: 0/2
- OL: 0/3
- DL: 0/3
- LB: 1/3 (Bumper Pool)
- CB: 1/2 (Byron Hanspard II)
- S: 0/1
Here’s a breakdown of Arkansas’ commits and signees by state:
- Texas: 2 (Hanspard, Pool)
- Arkansas: 1 (Noland)
- Illinois: 1 (Ford)