Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook. In this edition, we discuss an offensive line target, a preferred walk-on addition and more.
OL Ryan Winkel a top target as Arkansas looks to improve offensive line
Taking steps to shore up what has recently been a woeful offensive line is among Arkansas’ top remaining priorities in the 2018 recruiting class. With that in mind, the Hogs have identified tackle Ryan Winkel from Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.) as a key target with National Signing Day three weeks away.
The high level of interest from the Hogs is being reciprocated by Winkel, a 3-star recruit according to the 247Sports composite. He is set to arrive in Fayetteville on Jan. 26 for a three-day official visit.
Winkel (6-foot-6, 280 pounds) recently told SEC Country the Hogs are undoubtedly one of his top choices with Mississippi State, Nebraska and Northwestern also in play. He’ll visit Mississippi State this weekend.
In addition to Winkel, the Razorbacks appear willing to sign another offensive lineman if it’s the right fit. They officially added 3-star tackle Silas Robinson during the early signing period last month. Arkansas is also now once again expected to sign 3-star tackle commit Noah Gatlin despite him holding off on signing last month.
Other than those three, former 3-star tackle commit Luke Jones is one the Hogs would love to bring back into the class. He de-committed from Arkansas and pledged to Notre Dame in late December. Since that time, however, the Fighting Irish have lost offensive line coach Harry Hiestand to the Chicago Bears. He was reportedly Jones’ primary recruiter. It’s unknown if that will alter his decision.
A junior college addition to the offensive line is also possible. The coaching staff has been in touch with several options at the JUCO level, though none have emerged as a top target yet.
Punter Reid Bauer commits as preferred walk-on
Arkansas extended a preferred walk-on offer to 2018 punter Reid Bauer last week. Monday, Bauer announced his commitment to accept that offer. Though not on scholarship, Bauer will be guaranteed a roster spot as a preferred walk-on.
From Magnolia, Texas, Bauer (5-11, 190) is a 5-star prospect and the No. 14 punter in the nation, according to Kohl’s Kicking. He averaged 41 yards on 27 punts last season. He pinned 11 of those inside the 20-yard line. His long was 62 yards. Michigan and Texas State were among the other schools showing the most interest in him.
Arkansas special teams quality control assistant Tanner Burns served as the primary recruiter for Bauer. The two worked together at Arkansas’ specialist camp last summer.
Bauer joins Chad Stephens as a preferred walk-on punter set to join the Hogs from the 2018 class. Stephens is a 2016 graduate of Rejoice Christian School in Owasso, Okla. He spent the 2016 fall semester at Wyoming before transferring to Dodge City (Kan.) Community College. While there, he averaged 37.8 yards on 50 punts last season. He had a long of 65 yards, and 12 were pinned inside the 20-yard line.
The Razorbacks are expected to return starting punter Blake Johnson, who will be a junior next season. He is the only punter on the current roster.
Texas latest to offer major Arkansas target Hudson Henry
Arkansas 2019 tight end target Hudson Henry recently added Texas to his growing list of offers. He now has offers from 12 Power 5 programs.
Henry (6-5, 230) is the No. 1 tight end prospect and recruit from Arkansas in the 2019 class. From Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, he is the son of a former Razorbacks captain. His older bother, Hunter, won the Mackey Award with the Hogs in 2015. Another older brother, Hayden, is a freshman outside linebacker at Arkansas.
The Hogs coaching staff stopped by Pulaski Academy when the contact period began last week. With Henry headlining a stellar 2019 in-state class, he’s a must-get recruit for the Razorbacks.
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