Prized recruits get the headlines on National Signing Day, but hidden gems can become the most cherished pieces of recruiting class years later.
With that in mind, SEC Country ranks and analyzes the Arkansas Razorbacks’ top five underrated recruits of the past five years.
1. Jeremy Sprinkle, 3-star TE in 2012
Analysis: A 3-star recruit in 2012, Sprinkle was the No. 25 tight end in his class. Now, he’s primed to make a push for the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end during his senior season in 2016. He led all SEC tight ends with six touchdown receptions as a junior while serving as the Razorbacks’ No. 2 tight end behind 2015 Mackey Award winner Hunter Henry. With a big season as the team’s go-to tight end, Sprinkle could become a high selection in the 2017 NFL Draft.
2. Deatrich Wise Jr., 3-star DE in 2012
Analysis: Wise has turned into one of the top defensive linemen in the SEC after coming to Arkansas as the No. 29 weakside defensive end in the 2012 class. His only other reported FBS offers out of high school were Arkansas State, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. He had an SEC-leading eight sacks in conference play last season and enters his senior season on the preseason watch lists for the Bednarik and Nagurski awards, given to the nation’s top defensive player.
3. Dre Greenlaw, 3-star S in 2015
Analysis: The No. 11 2015 prospect in Arkansas from Fayetteville High School, Greenlaw proved in just his freshman season how underrated he was. He immediately made a seamless transition to outside linebacker and started 11 of the Razorbacks’ 13 games last season. His 95 tackles led all SEC freshmen, and he’s expected to remain a force on the defense for the next three seasons. Georgia and Washington State were the only other major programs to extend Greenlaw an offer.
4. Drew Morgan, 2-star WR in 2013
Analysis: Possibly the most accomplished 2-star recruit currently in the SEC, Morgan was in 2013 the No. 14 prospect in Arkansas and the No. 2,116 recruit nationally. The Greenwood High School graduate took advantage of some injures in the receiving corps last season and burst onto the scene with team highs in receptions (63), yards (843) and touchdowns (10). He even emerged on the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation’s top receiver.
5. Trey Flowers, 3-star DE in 2011
Analysis: Flowers was heavily underrated as the No. 62 weakside defensive end and No. 1,335 player nationally in the 2011 class. He became a four-year letterwinner for the Razorbacks and is second in school history with 47.5 career tackles for loss. He is entering his second season with the New England Patriots after the team selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Brooks Ellis, 3-star LB in 2013: Ellis wasn’t totally overlooked out of Fayetteville High School, with offers from the Razorbacks, Arizona State, Mississippi State, Notre Dame and Ole Miss. The No. 33 inside linebacker in his class, Ellis has still exceeded expectations as he’s started 18 consecutive games entering his senior season. He led the team in tackles as a junior with 102.
Dan Skipper, 3-star OL in 2013: Skipper was simply overlooked by the recruiting services as a 3-star recruit and the No. 49 offensive tackle in the 2013 class. He had offers from several major programs other than Arkansas, including Michigan, Ole Miss, Ohio State and Oklahoma. He’s turned into a standout for the Razorbacks and has been selected by several media outlets as a preseason All-American and All-SEC selection.