Arkansas recruiting: The latest on the Razorbacks’ 2018 class
Arkansas is off to a good start with its 2018 recruiting class, having landed commitments from four recruits. All of those are 4-star prospects, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.
The class will be rather small 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
Arkansas coaches will focus on recruiting throughout May and June. The staff is out evaluating prospects four days a week this month and will spend the first couple weeks of June at various camps on campus and across the country.
As a result, many prospects are reporting offers from the Hogs. It’s also possible more commitments will be announced between now and July.
Here are the latest headlines.
- Arkansas WRs coach Michael Smith takes personal approach to recruiting
- New Orleans 2018 DB Lance Robinson confident, hopeful Arkansas will offer
- Arkansas coaches among the many intrigued by pair of Jonesboro offensive linemen
- Arkansas offer would be a ‘dream come true’ for DL Isaiah Nichols
- TE commit Luke Ford an increasingly popular target for other programs
Offers by the numbers
Reported offers: 136
5-star offers: 5
4-star offers: 64
In-state recruits offered: 3
Texas recruits offered: 26
Florida recruits offered: 21
Georgia recruits offered: 21
Louisiana recruits offered: 17
4-star QB Connor Noland, Greenwood (Ark.)
Noland (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) 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 Noland gets 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 also said it would take “a lot of money” to lure him away from Arkansas.
Other programs continue to recruit him. Arizona State, Florida and Michigan State are 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.
There shouldn’t be much concern for Arkansas fans over the Razorbacks’ chances of keeping him. All indications are his commitment is solid. Pool plans to enroll early for the 2018 spring semester. Like Noland, he has been active helping recruit others for the Hogs.
4-star CB Byron Hanspard II, DeSoto (Texas)
Hanspard (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) 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 spent just one high school season fully focused on playing cornerback after 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-foot-7, 250 pounds) 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 visited Illinois, because he was so impressed with the Fighting Illini and nearly committed to them. Once Arkansas coaches got Ford on campus, they worked hard to secure his commitment and it paid off.
The coaching staff will have its hands full retaining his commitment as he continues to rise as a recruit and others keep pushing to sway him. Several programs — Georgia, LSU, Ohio State among them — have visited Ford’s school in recent weeks. He’s told other coaches he remains “100 percent committed to Arkansas.”
5 top uncommitted targets
4-star QB Gerry Bohanon, Earle (Ark.)
Bohanon (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) became a popular prospect once Alabama offered in January. Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State and Tennessee all have joined the mix.
He was set to announce his commitment Friday, but changed those plans. Instead, he says he will announce his top 5 schools on Friday.
Bohanon has said he’s open to playing a variety of positions at the next level. However, it’s been apparent for some time that quarterback is his position of preference. He recently told SEC Country the Razorbacks are now recruiting him as a quarterback, a major boost for their chances to land him.
4-star LB Alston Orji, Rockwall (Texas)
Orji (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) visited Arkansas last November and also has been a focal point of Hogs efforts for many months. The Razorbacks began recruiting him as a sophomore, when he became one of the first 2018 prospects they offered.
Orji’s offers include LSU, Michigan and Oklahoma. The Hogs were the first program to offer both Alston and younger brother Anfernee, a 2019 prospect.
3-star DT Emmit Gooden, Independence (Kan.) Community College
Arkansas and Gooden are building a close relationship with strong mutual interest. He’s good friends with sophomore DE McTelvin “Sosa” Agim and keeps in regular touch with the coaching staff.
A top-10 junior college prospect in the class, Gooden (6-foot-4, 310 pounds) visited Fayetteville in late April and plans to make a return trip in the fall. Competition for his commitment is stout, but the Hogs stand as good of chance as any.
3-star CB LaDarrius Bishop, Ashdown (Ark.)
Arkansas immediately became a top candidate to land Bishop (6-foot, 190 pounds) when he received an offer in late January. Bishop is one of the top in-state prospects in the class. He is a close friend and former teammate of 4-star safety Montaric Brown, who signed with the Hogs’ 2017 class.
3-star OL Owen Condon, Bishop McGuinness (Oklahoma City)
Condon (6-foot-7, 315 pounds) visited Fayetteville for Arkansas’ win over Florida last season and came away impressed. He made a subsequent trip 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 his choices this month before committing ahead of his senior season. Expect the Razorbacks to remain in the race to land him.
Here’s a breakdown of the number of commits by position along with how many are projected to be signed at each position.
- QB: 1/2 (Connor Noland)
- RB: 0/1
- TE: 1/2 (Luke Ford)
- WR: 0/2
- OL: 0/3
- DL: 0/2
- LB: 1/3 (Bumper Pool)
- CB: 1/2 (Byron Hanspard II)
- S: 0/1
Here’s a breakdown of Arkansas’ commits by state.
- Texas: 2 (Hanspard, Pool)
- Arkansas: 1 (Noland)
- Illinois: 1 (Ford)