Welcome to the weekly Arkansas football and recruiting mailbag.
Arkansas reporter Trent Shadid sorts through questions asked by Razorbacks fans. This time, we take a look at the biggest needs of the 2017 class, Montaric Brown’s recent commitment and the top 2018 target.
Have the Razorbacks filled their biggest needs in the 2017 class?
The coaching staff has done a good job securing commitments for the pressing needs in the 2017 class, most notably at cornerback where starters Jared Collins and DJ Dean will exhaust their eligibility after this season. The Razorbacks already have landed commitments from three 2017 prospects expected to play cornerback: Jordon Curtis, Korey Hernandez and Jarques McClellion. Barring any decommitments, Arkansas isn’t expected to — nor does it need to — add another cornerback to this class.
At wide receiver, another position of need with four key contributors out of eligibility after this season, the Razorbacks have landed commitments from five prospects — Maleek Barkley, Jarrod Barnes, Koilan Jackson, Jonathan Nance and Devion Warren — expected to fill that void.
Defensive line would appear to be another area of need with five players gone after this season, but Arkansas signed six players to play up front on defense in the 2016 class. Still, expect the Razorbacks to get another defensive lineman or two in this class to go along with the already-committed Ryder Anderson.
How secure is Montaric Brown’s commitment?
Brown, the state’s top 2017 prospect from Ashdown (Ark.), announced his commitment last week while visiting Fayetteville. The 6-foot, 182-pound safety gives the Razorbacks four defensive backs in the class. Not having a prized in-state recruit head to Alabama or LSU is huge. However, whether he’ll stick to that commitment remains to be seen because playing defensive back for the Crimson Tide or Tigers is an attractive option. Those schools will continue to push for Brown.
I wouldn’t expect him to waver on his commitment, though. His close relationship with Arkansas freshman defensive end McTelvin Agim was a big part of his decision, and Agim isn’t going anywhere. Brown also was believed to be decided on Arkansas and ready to make his commitment weeks ago before postponing the decision until he visited.
Who is Arkansas’ top 2018 target?
Arkansas hasn’t shifted a ton of focus to the 2018 class yet, but that’s expected to change quickly with the 2017 class filling up.
It’s likely the Razorbacks already have landed their top priority in Greenwood (Ark.) High School quarterback Connor Noland. A two-sport star at Greenwood, the 4-star recruit is the top 2018 in-state prospect in football and baseball. He committed to the baseball team as a right-handed pitcher. Landing the all-important quarterback commit this early allows Arkansas to quickly begin focusing on other areas of need. Noland will be a great addition assuming he doesn’t sign to play professional baseball out of high school, but that possibility is nearly two years away.
Lovejoy High School (Allen, Texas) 4-star linebacker Bumper Pool and Christian Brothers College High School (St. Louis) 4-star wide receiver Kamryn Babb are a pair of other highly touted 2018 prospects the Razorbacks would love to land.
Both received offers from Arkansas earlier this summer. Babb is the No. 13 wide receiver in the class and No. 97 prospect overall. Pool is the No. 4 inside linebacker and No. 171 overall. Pool’s sister is a student at Arkansas, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Richard Davenport.
Look for the Razorbacks to intensify their recruitment of Joe T. Robinson defensive back/wide receiver Nathan Page. A 4-star recruit and No. 2 in-state prospect in the class, Page is a versatile playmaker on both sides of the ball. Though he’s yet to receive any major offers, that will change once his junior season gets underway.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.