Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook. In this edition, we discuss the weekend of recruiting, an award nomination for a commit and surgery for another pledge.
Arkansas can benefit from visits even if Bret Bielema isn’t back
Arkansas had five official visitors, all junior college prospects, during the weekend. With Bret Bielema likely to be fired to soon, it is fair to wonder exactly why any of that matters.
Because, while the 2018 class is very likely to be damaged at least somewhat by Bielema’s seemingly imminent departure, the recruiting he’s still doing isn’t totally irrelevant. In fact, Razorbacks fans should be thankful he and his staff are still pushing for recruits rather than just waiting to find out his fate. If he is fired, at least the new staff will have something to pick up and work with rather than assuming a program which was idle for weeks during recruiting season.
The five visitors for the Mississippi State game are a perfect example. A new coach could go after any of those players without having to plan a visit late in the process. They’ve already been to Fayetteville and know what Arkansas has to offer. That’s typically half the battle, with the rest being the relationship between player and staff.
All of the five have expressed they enjoyed their stay, as they so often do. But don’t expect any of them to be jumping on board as commits any time soon. It’s expected all of them, like every other remaining 2018 target, will wait and see what happens with Bielema before making such an announcement. Still, at least there’s a familiarity with the campus and a crop of players who will be there no matter what happens.
Here’s the top recruits that were spotted on the sideline Saturday:
- LB Will Honas, Butler (Kan.) C.C.
- DT Noah Jefferson, Arizona Western (Yuma, Ariz.)
- OL Jahmir Johnson, Arizona Western (Yuma, Ariz.)
- DB Aaron Maddox, Pima (Tucson, Ariz.)
- LB Davion Taylor, Coahoma (Clarksdale, Miss.)
- DE Isaiah Nichols, Springale (Ark.) — Arkansas commit
- WR Jadon Jackson, Bentonville West (Centerton, Ark.) — 2019
Byron Hanspard II, John Stephen Jones finalists for Landry Award
Arkansas cornerback commit Byron Hanspard II is one of five finalist for The Landry Award. The award recognizes the top high school football player in North Texas who demonstrates positive character and leadership attributes.
Hanspard is a 4-star recruit from DeSoto (Texas) High School. He has 42 tackles and an interception in 11 games this season. DeSoto plays in the second round of Texas’ Class 6A D-II playoffs this Saturday.
John Stephen Jones is also a finalist for The Landry Award. Jones’ grandfather, Jerry, is the owner of the Dallas Cowboys and was a co-captain on Arkansas’ 1964 national title team. Jerry has been Arkansas’ most prominent booster for several years.
John Stephen, a quarterback, has previously said he would love the opportunity to play for the Razorbacks. That possibility likely only exists if he’s given a preferred walk-on opportunity. He currently holds offers from Jacksonville and Davidson, both FCS programs.
Here are the finalist for the award:
- Byron Hanspard II, CB, DeSoto
- Jalen Catalon, QB/S, Mansfield Legacy
- Matthew Gadek, RB, McKinney
- John Stephen Jones, QB, Highland Park
- Spencer Sanders, QB, Denton Ryan
Arkansas RB commit Jeremy Gibson has knee surgery
Arkansas running back commit Jeremy Gibson had surgery last week to remove bone spurs from his knee. He is expected to be ready by the time he would arrive at Arkansas, assuming he signs with the Hogs.
Gibson played in only a few games this season, all with the bone spurs. He rushed for 281 yards on 46 carries with 4 touchdowns.
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