Is it possible for Arkansas to join SEC elite in football recruiting?
SEC Country reporter Trent Shadid will answer your Arkansas Razorbacks football recruiting questions each weekday in our recruiting question of the day mailbag. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to @SECCountryHogs, @Shadid13 or by email to Trent at Shadid13@gmail.com.
Recruiting question of the day: Monday, March 19, 2018
Compared to SEC recruiting monsters like Bama, LSU, Auburn, Ole Miss, and Georgia, Arkansas has always been a step(s) behind. What are the Razorbacks missing to gain that recruiting edge and to get a top 15-10 class? Will Morris ever achieve this? #WPS
— RazorbackFBnow (@RazorbackFBnow) March 12, 2018
The easy answer is to say Arkansas could never do it because of its location. The prep talent inside Arkansas just won’t quite stack up with Alabama, Louisiana or even Mississippi in any given recruiting cycle. Fayetteville being much closer to Oklahoma and Missouri rather than Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas doesn’t help either. But let’s avoid the easy answer here and focus on what could be the best-case scenario for Arkansas on the recruiting trail.
First of all, the 2019 in-state class is a godsend for Chad Morris in his first year with the Hogs. That group has two players — Treylon Burks (wide receiver) and Hudson Henry (tight end) — among the top-50 overall recruits in the class. Two others — tackles Darius Thomas and Stacey Wilkins — also rate as 4-star prospects. Get all four players committed, and you have the basis for something special.
Still, plenty of strong additions would have to come from outside the state for Arkansas to rank among the top 20 classes nationally. But it’s not impossible to foresee that happening based on the work Morris and his staff have put in already.
Let’s say they add commitments from Tennessee 4-star recruits Lance Wilhoite (WR) and Eric Gray (RB). Those are two realistic possibilities. Add another 4-star prospect or two, preferably on defense, and Arkansas should have a top-20 class.
That’s where I would say the ceiling is right now, though. To say the 2019 group should be in the top 15 nationally is unrealistic. While Morris and his staff seem to be strong recruiters, let’s not forgot this program just went 4-8. And remember, it’s also a tough recruiting region by SEC standards.
But if the Hogs can get some momentum going with a top-20 class, and make some strides in the win column in 2018, I wouldn’t rule out a top-15 class in the future. I’m not saying I would be expecting it. I’m only saying I don’t believe it to be an impossibility, as some do.
I’ll say this for certain: If Morris can’t get Arkansas some top-15 recruiting classes, I don’t know who could. He has the right connections in the right places. He is a relentless recruiter and a strong salesman with a penchant for building strong relationships. That’s all a recipe for recruiting success on The Hill.