Join us here at SEC Country for the “Calling the Hogs” notebook, providing insight on all the latest Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting news.
Running backs running to Bielema
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema has had at least one running back rush for more than 1,000 yards in his 10 seasons as a head coach.
He’s the only FBS coach with that stat on his resume, which has certainly paid off on the recruiting trail.
“You look at his history from Wisconsin, his history from here, I mean … that’s an easy sell there,” said first-year running backs coach Reggie Mitchell. “If you want to be in an offense that’s running the ball, he’s proven that’s what he’s going to do. So for a running back, I don’t know any better place in the country to be.”
Recent history suggests Mitchell is right.
Arkansas signed freshman Devwah Whaley from Beaumont, Texas, in the 2016 class. He was a 4-star recruit and the No. 3 running back in the class with offers from such programs as Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. It’s extremely rare that the Razorbacks trump such programs at other positions. Whaley is expected to contribute immediately.
In the 2017 class, 4-star prospect Chase Hayden announced his commitment in July with Mitchell serving as his primary recruiter. The No. 4 all-purpose running back in the class, Hayden also has offers from Florida, Michigan and Tennessee among many others.
Expect top talent at running back to continue rolling into Arkansas as long as Bielema continues to rack up the 1,000-yard rushers.
Houston warming up to Arkansas?
Arkansas may have gained an advantage in recruiting speedy 2018 athlete prospect Jammal Houston from John Ehret High School (Marrero, La.), thanks to LSU’s persistence on recruiting him as a defensive back.
The Razorbacks are recruiting the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Houston as a wide receiver, his preferred position. He recently told SEC Country LSU reporter Sam Spiegelman that he has no interest in playing defensive back.
Spiegelman reports Houston was close to committing to the Tigers this summer, but hesitated. He then picked up offers from Arkansas, Mississippi and Mississippi State — all of which are providing him the opportunity to play wide receiver.
Houston’s cousin, De’Jon Harris, also from John Ehret, is a freshman linebacker for the Razorbacks.
The recent transfers of quarterback Rafe Peavey and defensive back Cornelius Floyd could become beneficial to the 2017 recruiting class.
The Razorbacks currently have 19 players committed in the class, but only have 17 on-scholarship seniors exhaust their eligibility after this season. However, recent transfers have the Hogs down to 82 players on scholarship, meaning they currently have room to sign 20 players in the 2017 recruiting class to reach the 85-scholarship limit.
A couple more factors that could alter the scholarship numbers between now and National Signing Day are draft-eligible juniors and redshirt sophomores entering the NFL Draft, and Bielema placing a walk-on on scholarship. No Razorbacks are currently considered strong candidates to leave early in pursuit of the NFL.
What’s the Pitch?
SEC Country is asking several current Razorbacks what their pitch would be to entice a recruit at their position to come to Arkansas.
For Thursday’s edition of “What’s the Pitch?” we recently asked starting senior cornerback Jared Collins what he would say to get a high school defensive back to Fayetteville.
Collins: “I would just tell them that here it’s a family. The coaches really care about you. They really care about the person aside from the player. They’re going to do whatever they can to help you to be the best man, the best player and the best individual that you can be. Football is a big thing, but it’s not the only thing that they’re focused on here. That’s important.”
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.