BELLA VISTA, Ark. — The Arkansas Razorbacks have been hot on the recruiting trail for the Class of 2017 over the past few months.
Since May, the Razorbacks have added 11 commitments in the class to give them 19 as practice for the 2016 season gets underway Thursday. Several areas of need have been addressed with those commitments as well.
But what does that all mean for this season? Does it help lessen some of the workload for assistants? Does it allow coaches to now shift more focus to the 2018 class?
Here’s what a few Arkansas assistants recently had to say when asked about entering the season in such good shape with the 2017 recruiting cycle.
Kurt Anderson, offensive line coach
“I think until names are signed on the dotted line in terms of that Letter of Intent, you continue to recruit. But it does feel good that the guys that we set out to get, that were at the top of our list, are on board. It gives you an opportunity to focus in on the season and the task at hand.
“Another thing it does, being a guy myself that committed early out of high school, it allows you to create close bonds with the guys that are committed. In terms of having that high number of commitments entering the season, we’re going to have a bunch of guys that have plenty of time to bond and come together. Sometimes that’s what it takes to have jumps and leaps in a program. We’re very proud of where we’re at and excited about the team we do already have going into the season.”
Vernon Hargreaves, linebackers coach
“Absolutely I think (having 19 commitments) helps you a little bit. It gives a chance to get started with next year’s class. You can kind of get a little bit of a head start, but you’ve still got to hold onto those guys.
“Keeping them is sometimes just as hard as getting them. That’ll be the part that will be tough for us this year, just holding onto those guys. We’ve got to play good. If we play good, everything will be OK. If we don’t play good, we’ve got to worry about if this guys is thinking about this school over here.”
Barry Lunney Jr., tight ends coach
“I don’t think it really changes the way you recruit. As far as the kids who are committed, you’re going to recruit them just as hard now as before if not more, because the buzzards start coming in. You’ve just got to be on your toes.
“But it does make it easier to a degree because you have a very zeroed-in effort. When you can concentrate your efforts on a small number, I think it helps maximize your time as a football coach during the season.”