Join us here at SEC Country for the “Calling the Hogs” notebook, providing insight on all the latest Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting news.
For this edition of Calling the Hogs, Arkansas writer Trent Shadid answers questions from the mailbag submitted by fans on Twitter, Facebook and via email. To submit a question for future mailbags, tweet to @Shadid13, message Trent Shadid on Facebook or email Shadid13@gmail.com.
What are the Razorbacks’ top selling points to recruits?
This will vary depending on several factors such as position and hometown of a recruit. But one pitch the coaching staff can use on every prospect is the ability to develop the full potential of its players. Bret Bielema, now in his 11th season as a head coach, has become a master at maximizing the ability of his players.
In fact, Bielema never had a recruiting class finish higher than No. 33 during his seven seasons at Wisconsin. Yet he managed to win three consecutive Big Ten titles with the Badgers (2010-12) and compile a 68-24 record. So, if I were Bielema and the rest of the staff, I’d be preaching player development to all recruits, and I’m sure they do. That’s something I plan to ask about for a story in the future.
Running backs and Louisiana recruits are a couple of good examples for player-specific selling points.
The pitch to running backs is simple: Bielema has never had a season without at least one back rushing for more than 1,000 yards — a milestone by which the position is frequently judged.
Wide receivers coach Michael Smith, the primary recruiter in Louisiana, uses the opportunity to play LSU every year to appeal to prospects from The Boot who have been overlooked by the Tigers.
How are the Hogs doing with in-state recruits?
The Hogs have done very well with in-state recruits in the 2017 class, continuing a trend of keeping the top Natural State talent from going elsewhere in recent years.
Safety Montaric Brown, a 4-star recruit and the top prospect in the state for 2017 from Ashdown High School, committed in late July. He had some big offers from other schools such as Alabama and LSU.
Joe T. Robinson High School (Little Rock) wide receiver Koilan Jackson, who I think is the best talent in the state for 2017, is also firmly committed.
The Razorbacks also have two other top in-state guys, offensive lineman Kirby Adcock from Nashville High School and athlete Jarrod Barnes from Cabot High School, committed for 2017.
In the 2018 class, 4-star quarterback Connor Noland from Greenwood High School committed in July. He is the top-rated in-state prospect in the class.
So far in the 2017 and 2018 classes, the Hogs have picked up a commitment from any in-state recruit they’ve pursued.
What will it take for Arkansas to be in play for more 4- and 5-star recruits?
Winning would be the most logical way for the Razorbacks to land on the radar of more 4- and 5-star recruits. In my opinion, the facilities and coaching staff are already in place to attracting big-time prospects. But winning, specifically competing for SEC titles, trumps all.
However, as I mentioned previously, Bielema has proved he doesn’t need top-tier recruiting classes to win. He’s only signed two 5-star prospects over his 11 recruiting classes and has still managed an 86-44 overall record. So, even if the Razorbacks become a regular contender in the SEC, I wouldn’t expect Bielema to deviate much from his recruiting philosophy of creating roster depth and developing talent.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.