Join us here at SEC Country for the “Trent’s Trough” notebook as Arkansas Razorbacks beat writer Trent Shadid provides the latest insight on all Hogs recruiting news.
Montgomery has his ‘best visit’ at Arkansas
Hillsborough High School (Tampa, Fla.) 4-star cornerback Ken Montgomery Jr. told SEC Country his recent visit to Arkansas was “amazing” and the best recruiting trip he’d made yet.
Montgomery (6-foot-2, 165 pounds) is the No. 34 cornerback and No. 47 prospect from Florida in the 2018 class. He was offered by Arkansas in early September and has reported offers from 20 other programs.
Montgomery arrived in Fayetteville on Thursday and stayed through the weekend, including watching the Hogs’ 31-10 victory over No. 11 Florida. He is very high on the Hogs and their coaching staff, which has shown significant interest in him.
Lovejoy High School (Lucas, Texas) 4-star linebacker Bumper Pool became Arkansas’ second commitment in the 2018 class Monday night. Greenwood (Ark.) High School 4-star quarterback Connor Noland is the other Hogs’ commit in the 2018 class.
Bielema talks earlier signing period
The Football Oversight Committee, responsible for maintaining “appropriate oversight” at the FCS and FBS level, has been pushing a plan to institute earlier signing periods in addition to National Signing Day in February.
The proposal calls for a 72-hour signing period beginning the final Wednesday in June, and another coinciding with the month-long junior college period beginning on a Wednesday in mid-December.
The committee recently received the backing of the NCAA Division I Council, which suggested the Division I conferences adopt the proposal.
Some prominent coaches have come out in opposition, including Alabama’s Nick Saban and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was recently asked to give his opinion on the topic and provided reasoning for both sides of the argument.
Bielema initially referenced current junior starting quarterback Austin Allen as an example why an earlier signing period could be beneficial. Bielema said Allen, a Fayetteville native, could have signed earlier since he was certain he’d always wanted to go to Arkansas. Then programs “don’t have to continue to do all the external things” that are required until a prospect is signed, which could “eliminate a lot of headaches” late in the recruiting process.
“We have kids in the state right now committed to us, but there’s other schools that will continue to come in and recruit them,” Bielema said. “Especially if they have a great senior year or maybe they get on the national radar. It eliminates a lot of double recruiting if you could sign them early.”
Like many coaches, the fourth-year Hogs mentor also sees a couple of flaws with the proposal. There is currently no plan for what would happen if a prospect signs and then a coaching change occurs, or any policy that would allow recruits to take official visits before September of their senior year.
“That’s the biggest hesitation is when there’s a coaching change,” Bielema said. “Either a positive one or a negative one. The kids are kind of caught in limbo. There’s probably any easy solution, too. If there’s a coaching change, maybe it opens it back up and makes it a void.
“I think the other part that becomes real is very few kids decide in January of their senior year where they’re going to school. Most of them have it determined before their senior year. I’m just talking normal kids. And right now you can’t take a visit until September 1st of your senior year, and to me that’s preposterous.”
Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 commissioner and chairman of the oversight committee, has said changes to the proposal could be made between now and the expected decision in April.
Bielema added that he understands the viewpoint of coaches like Saban and Meyer.
“I understand, too, there’s a lot of teams that have established themselves in college hierarchy that don’t want to change,” Bielema said. “I get that. If you’re sitting at a school where you can kind of just say, ‘Yep, yep, yep, yep, no, no, no, yep.’ I understand why you don’t want to change, and there’s probably a little bit of give and take.”
Bielema believes that adding the December signing period currently makes the most sense.
“The bottom line is when you bring about change, somebody’s going to be happy and somebody’s going to be mad,” Bielema said. “Until we come to that resolution, it’s going to continue to be the way it is.”
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.