Arkansas added eight members to its 2018 recruiting class Wednesday during National Signing Day. They have joined the eight others the Razorbacks signed in December during the early signing period.
The class may not yet be complete with the possibility for at least one more addition later this week. But with a strong idea of what the group looks like overall, SEC Country has graded the Hogs’ class. Here are the grades they received at each position group along with an overall grade:
Connor Noland is as gifted of a quarterback signee as Arkansas could envision. He signed in December and is very excited about his future with the Razorbacks. From Greenwood (Ark.), he’s a 4-star prospect according to the 247Sports composite.
The Hogs also signed John Stephen Jones from Highland Park (Dallas). Though he’s not viewed as near the prospect Noland is, Jones could potentially be a steal for Arkansas. He was a very productive high school player, leading Highland Park to consecutive state championships the past two seasons.
Junior college prospect Rakeem Boyd is the lone running back signee for the Hogs. The 3-star recruit is a Houston native who spent his freshman season at Texas A&M.
He started slowly early last season at Independence (Kan.) Community College because of injuries. But his close to the season was incredibly impressive. He rushed for a combined 518 yards during his final two games.
Boyd fits well in Chad Morris’ offense and provides strong depth at the position. If his productive finish at the JUCO level translates to the SEC, he could be a steal for the Razorbacks, who really only beat out Colorado to sign him.
The Hogs signed Michael Woods in December and he’s already enrolled. He was committed to play for Morris at SMU and flipped his pledge shortly after the coach left for Arkansas. The 3-star prospect was the Mustangs’ highest-rated commit before flipping.
Woods is a fine player, but there was the potential to add more quality with several top prospects considering Arkansas late in the process. The Hogs didn’t pick up any of them, though there’s still a chance they could nab Treveon Johnson as a late addition. He would certainly raise this grade.
Arkansas did not sign a tight end in the class.
Arkansas needed to add depth within its offensive line in this class. Signing three 3-star prospects — Noah Gatlin, Silas Robinson and Ryan Winkel — certainly accomplished that void. None of those players are expected to make an immediate impact, but they all have the potential to turn into valuable players after a couple years on campus. So, while this group isn’t flashy, it’s effective.
Billy Ferrell is the lone defensive tackle signee, and he has the potential to play right away. He’s listed at 6-foot-3 and 330 pounds. That’s plenty big enough to play interior defensive line in the SEC. He also has the athleticism to be a future standout. Though the Fordyce (Ark.) prospect was a 3-star recruit, he also received offers from Alabama and Louisville. Anytime Arkansas beats the Crimson Tide for a recruit, it’s a huge victory.
Arkansas did what it needed to do at defensive end — add depth. The Hogs signed Nicholas Fulwider and Isaiah Nichols in December and added Courtre Alexander to the group Wednesday. Arkansas beat out North Carolina for Fulwider, Missouri for Nichols and Texas for Alexander. That’s three good recruiting victories.
The Hogs could still potentially add Dorian Gerald — the top strongside junior college defensive end in the class. The South Carolina native will choose between Arkansas, Florida, Louisville and Texas A&M on Friday. His pledge would raise the grade to a B-plus.
Bumper Pool is a 4-star signee who projects to be a future leader of the defense at middle linebacker. In the meantime, the early enrollee could shift to outside linebacker in his freshman season for a better chance at immediate playing time. Regardless, he’s an outstanding addition and likely is the Hogs’ most talented signee.
Though the Razorbacks missed out on linebacker target Aaron Brule, they did manage to keep linebacker commit Andrew Parker. Arkansas held off a late push from Ole Miss, TCU, Texas and Texas A&M to sign Parker. That’s impressive and if all those schools wanted him, it’s proof he could be a steal for the Hogs in this class.
Morris wants more speed on the roster at Arkansas. With Ashdown (Ark.) cornerback LaDarrius Bishop, he’ll be getting plenty of it. Bishop signed with the Hogs in December. He was one of Morris’ top priorities when he took over the job, which ultimately helped lead to Bishop flipping his commitment from Mississippi State. Now that Bishop is added to the fold, cornerback is likely to be the deepest defensive position on the roster next season.
The Hogs have essentially used just three scholarship players to rotate between the two safety spots the past two seasons. Among the starting trio, only senior-to-be Santos Ramirez will be back. So, help was certainly needed at the position in this class. And it’s definitely coming in this class.
Arkansas signed Myles Mason and Joseph Foucha on Wednesday. Both had offers from at least five SEC schools, so the competition Arkansas beat out was stout. With these two, there isn’t a position on the roster where needs were filled with more quality.
When the Razorbacks went through a coaching change less than two weeks before the first-ever early signing period, this class could’ve been a disaster. But considering those circumstances, the group the new staff put together is at least above average. Maybe, most importantly, the Hogs filled all the major areas of need.