Arkansas’ 2018 recruiting class has nine commitments with five months remaining until recruits can sign a National Letter of Intent.
With those nine slots filled, the Razorback are getting close to completing the class. As of now, it appears they likely won’t have room to sign more than 15 players. They have just 12 scholarship seniors on the current roster, and two blueshirts from the 2017 class are expected to be placed on scholarship between now and next spring.
To have the class near completion entering the season is ideal for Bret Bielema and his staff. The Hogs like to have as many commits as possible this time of year in order to focus more on the current team during the season.
Here’s an early glance at where things stand for the 2018 class:
Where Arkansas’ class ranks
Arkansas’ 2018 class is ranked No. 42 nationally and No. 9 in the SEC according to the 247Sports composite. Three of the Hogs’ nine commits are 4-star recruits. They are one of 22 programs nationally with at least 33 percent of their class rated as 4- or 5-star prospects.
Arkansas expects to host a pair of top defensive targets soon — outside linebacker Maureese Wren and defensive lineman Nicholas Fulwider. Wren is in line to be on campus early next week. Fulwider says he plans to visit before the end of the month without a firm date set. Both are 3-star recruits.
The Razorbacks hosted Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.) offensive lineman Luke Jones and tight end Hudson Henry earlier this week. Jones is a 3-star offensive lineman and Henry is a 4-star tight end (in the 2019 class). Both came away impressed.
Last weekend, 3-star cornerback LaDarrius Bishop committed to Mississippi State. From Ashdown, Ark., he chose the Bulldogs over Arkansas and Oklahoma State. He is the No. 5 Natural State prospect in the 2018 class. It’s believed the Hogs didn’t have a spot left for him in the class, though. They already have two cornerbacks committed, both of which are rated higher than Bishop. The Razorbacks have not been expected to sign three cornerbacks in the class.
The Razorbacks even got their first commitment in the 2019 class Tuesday with quarterback Ty Evans announcing his pledge. Evans (6 feet, 2 inches and 190 pounds) attends Palmer Ridge High School in Monument, Colo. He is a 3-star recruit according to Rivals. He threw for 3,130 yards, 30 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions as a sophomore last season, per MaxPreps.
In case you missed anything from this week, here are the latest headlines:
- Arkansas recruiting mailbag: What’s next at offensive line? Who replaces Reggie Perry in the hoops’ class?
- Arkansas impresses pair of top in-state recruits
- 2019 recruiting class has the start it needs to be exceptional
- New QB commit Ty Evans figures to be very important out-of-state piece for Hogs
- Arkansas LB commit Bumper Pool on watch list for national award
- Why it would be no surprise to see some of Arkansas’ top 2018 in-state recruits sign elsewhere
- Projecting the 2018 signing class
Offers by the numbers
- Reported offers: 153
- 5-star offers: 5
- 4-star offers: 72
- In-state recruits offered: 7
- Texas recruits offered: 30
- Georgia recruits offered: 30
- Florida recruits offered: 22
- Louisiana recruits offered: 18
- QB Connor Noland, 4 stars, Greenwood (Ark.)
- LB Bumper Pool, 4 stars, Lovejoy (Lucas, Texas)
- CB Byron Hanspard II, 4 stars, DeSoto (Texas)
- ATH Sean Michael Flanagan, 3 stars, Charleston (Ark.)
- RB Jeremy Gibson, 3 stars, Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.)
- CB Tanner McCalister, 3 stars, Rockwall-Heath (Rockwall, Texas)
- DT Emmit Gooden, 3 stars, Independence (Kan.) Community College
- OT Noah Gatlin, 3 stars, Jonesboro (Ark.)
- DL Isaiah Nichols, 3 stars, Springdale (Ark.)
5 top uncommitted targets
4-star QB Gerry Bohanon, Earle (Ark.)
Bohanon has Arkansas, Baylor, Georgia, Louisville, Mississippi State and Ole Miss as his top choices. He doesn’t currently have a timetable to announce his pledge, though he’s hinted at doing so before his senior season begins. If he’s undecided by then, additional visits this fall would likely be the next step toward a decision. He’s already pushed back his commitment announcement once, and all indications are he’s firmly on the fence about where to go.
Bohanon’s most recent recruit trip was at Ole Miss earlier this week, though a lot has obviously changed in Oxford since.
The commitment of Noland complicates the Hogs’ chances some, but it’s still a possibility. He’s mentioned before how much it would mean for him to play for the flagship school in his home state. And Bielema has stated the Hogs would possibly be willing to sign two quarterbacks in the class.
4-star TE Luke Ford, Carterville (Ill.)
Ford (6-7, 250) has gone from firmly committed to a top target for the Razorbacks after he de-committed last month. Alabama now is his top choice with Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Michigan and a handful of other Power 5 schools close behind. He is visiting Michigan this week.
Considering the list of competitors, it’s tough to envision the Hogs retrieving him. But Arkansas can point to its two Mackey Award winners since 2010 to trump all others. No other program has two since 2000, when the award for the nation’s top tight end originated.
3-star DL Nicholas Fulwider, Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.)
Fulwider expects to announce his school of choice within the next couple weeks. He recently told SEC Country he’ll visit Arkansas for a second time as soon as possible. His initial trip in June turned out better than expected and helped put the Hogs in high standing with him.
Fulwider (6-6, 245) currently has Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Indiana, North Carolina, Rutgers and Vanderbilt as his top choices. His offer list also includes Michigan State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee.
If Arkansas can secure Fulwider’s commitment soon, the 2018 defensive line group will be complete with three commitments.
3-star OLB Maureese Wren, Horn (Mesquite, Texas)
Wren was initially planning to visit Fayetteville last weekend before having to alter those plans at the last minute. He now expects to make the earlier next week. The visit will be crucial to the Razorbacks’ chances as it’s likely to be his only trip to Arkansas before he plans to announce a decision Sept. 27, his birthday.
Wren is friends with Arkansas cornerback commit Tanner McCalister, who attends Heath High School in Rockwall, Texas. McCalister is one of three Razorbacks commits from the Dallas area, the same region where Wren lives.
The Hogs are joined by Baylor, Colorado, Missouri, Utah, Washington and 14 other FBS programs on Wren’s list of offers.
3-star T Luke Jones, Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.)
Jones has grown up an Arkansas fan and his older brother attends the school. Those facts have helped give a strong indication he’ll soon pledge to the Razorbacks. He visited on July 19 and while he enjoyed the trip, he’s still holding out on a commitment.
The Razorbacks offered Jones at their Trench Hogs camp last month. The two other in-state recruits who received offers that day — Nichols and Gatlin — committed just days later. It was the hope of the coaching staff Jones would join them, but he’s indicated a decision is more likely to come next month.
Here’s a breakdown of the number of commits by position and how many are projected to be signed:
- QB: 1/1 (Noland)
- RB: 1/1 (Gibson)
- TE: 0/1
- WR: 0/0
- OL: 1/3 (Gatlin)
- DL: 2/3 (Gooden, Nichols)
- ILB: 1/1 (Pool)
- OLB: 0/2
- CB: 2/2 (Hanspard II, McCalister)
- S: 1/1 (Flanagan)
Here’s a breakdown of Arkansas’ commits by state:
- Arkansas: 4 (Flanagan, Gatlin, Nichols, Noland)
- Texas: 3 (Hanspard II, McCalister, Pool)
- Louisiana: 1 (Gibson)
- Kansas: 1 (Gooden)