Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook. In this edition, we recap all of the happenings from a very busy National Signing Day on Wednesday.
Arkansas receives great news from Joseph Foucha, Andrew Parker
The future of Arkansas’ program received excellent news on National Signing Day, thanks to defensive back Joseph Foucha and linebacker Andrew Parker.
Foucha (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) signed with the Razorbacks over Ole Miss on Wednesday morning. A 3-star prospect according to the 247Sports composite, Foucha attends McDonogh 35 High School in New Orleans.
He is a very strong addition for the Hogs as an extremely versatile athlete who could play cornerback, nickelback or safety. Though Arkansas and Ole Miss were his finalists, he received offers from Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma and 17 other Power 5 programs throughout his recruitment.
Parker (6-1, 230) was widely believed to be headed to Texas despite committing to Arkansas two weeks ago. The Longhorns brought Parker on campus for an official visit last weekend. After which, many experts had the Longhorns as the presumed favorites.
But Parker decided Wednesday, after delaying his signing by two hours, to stick with his initial pledge. Between his commitment and signing, he received offers from Ole Miss, Texas, TCU and Texas A&M. So, the Hogs held off an impressive group of competition to sign him.
Tennessee signee Emmit Gooden not pursued by Arkansas’ new staff
Some fans are wondering how Arkansas lost out on defensive lineman Emmit Gooden when it seemed clear he wanted to join the Razorbacks. But Arkansas didn’t lose out.
SEC Country has confirmed the Hogs never sent a national letter of intent for him to sign, essentially passing on taking him. This was not a last-minute decision. The Hogs’ new staff hadn’t actively pursued the former Razorbacks commit since taking over. So, even though Gooden had Arkansas in his top 3 with Tennessee and West Virginia, the Hogs decided to end their pursuit.
Gooden (6-4, 305) committed to Arkansas last April and remained pledged through most of his junior season at Independence (Kan.) Community College. However, SEC Country learned in early November he was no longer being viewed as a commit. Gooden denied that report at the time.
Although he’s signed with Tennessee, he apparently still has work to do in order to enroll at the school. Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt told SEC Network on Wednesday afternoon that Gooden was not yet qualified academically. Pruitt expects him to be qualified in March.
Gooden was headed to Mississippi State as a senior at Haywood High School in Brownsville, Tenn. But he failed to qualify academically and eventually enrolled at Independence.
Aaron Brule picks Mississippi State
Arkansas’ worst news on National Signing Day came from outside linebacker target Aaron Brule, who opted to sign with Mississippi State.
The 3-star prospect Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, La., visited both schools in the final weeks leading up to his decision. Ultimately, the Bulldogs made the strongest impression after he was on campus last weekend.
Brule (6-2, 215) is a 3-star prospect who was at one point committed to Georgia. He de-committed from UGA on Christmas Day, citing circumstances beyond his control.
Jaylen Moody seizes his spot at Alabama
Jaylen Moody enjoyed his visit to Arkansas in late January. So much so he envisioned himself signing to play in Fayetteville. However, he was still waiting on a potential opportunity from another SEC school — Alabama.
The 3-star linebacker from Conway, S.C., received an offer from the Crimson Tide last week. Even then, a path wasn’t yet cleared for him to sign with Alabama until Tuesday night when linebacker Vernon Jackson de-committed from the Tide. Alabama also lost linebacker commit Quay Walker on Wednesday, clearing plenty of room for Moody to join the class.
So, Moody (6-2, 225) signed with the Tide over Arkansas on Wednesday morning.
Despite missing out on both Brule and Moody, Arkansas still did well at linebacker in this class. Parker deciding to not to flip his commitment to Texas was significant, and Bumper Pool, who signed in December, is the highest-rated signee.
WR Treveon Johnson goes to SMU
Arkansas was thought to be a potential landing spot for wide receiver Treveon Johnson after he de-committed from Oklahoma. That turned out to not be the case as he signed with SMU on Wednesday.
Sources have indicated both Oklahoma and Arkansas backed off bringing him in for unspecified reasons.
Johnson (6-2, 180) is a 3-star prospect from Brenham (Texas). He officially visited Arkansas last month while still committed to the Sooners. Tennessee was thought to be a contender to sign him in recent weeks. However, a visit to Knoxville, Tenn., that was initially planned for last weekend never happened.
The Hogs signed wide receiver Michael Woods from Magnolia (Texas) in December. He is already on campus as an early enrollee. Even though they did consider several other options at the position, the Razorbacks ultimately decided to stick with just Woods in this class.
All-American DE target Caleb Okechukwu signs with Syracuse
The Razorbacks received an official visit from defensive end Caleb Okechukwu last weekend in hopes of persuading him to sign Wednesday. Those efforts came up just short as he opted to sign with Syracuse over Arkansas.
Okechukwu (6-3, 250) attends St. John’s College High School in Washington D.C. He is a 3-star prospect according to the 247Sports composite. He was an Under Armour All-America Game participant.
In the days leading up to Wednesday, Okechukwu had narrowed his list of nearly 20 offers down to three choices — Arkansas, Syracuse and Texas. Although they were in his final 3 and had recruited him, the Longhorns did not end up offering Okechukwu. Syracuse seemingly won out as his closest choice to home — 370 miles from Washington, D.C.
Former DE commit John Mincey signs with Tennessee
Former Arkansas defensive end commit John Mincey signed with Tennessee on Wednesday.
Mincey (6-4, 260) ultimately chose the Vols over South Carolina. The Razorbacks fell out of the running for Mincey a couple weeks before National Signing Day.
The 3-star prospect from Clinch County (Homerville, Ga.) de-committed from Arkansas in early January. He had been committed to the Hogs since last summer, but the coaching change prompted him to explore other options. Arkansas’ new staff did work to regain his commitment before moving on to other options.
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