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.
Defensive line, cornerback are Bielema’s toughest positions to recruit
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was asked during his weekly radio show Thursday night what the Hogs’ biggest position needs were in order to better match up with top-tier opponents.
Bielema answered the question by explaining what he believes are the two most-difficult positions to recruit — defensive line and cornerback.
“A lot of times there just aren’t very many SEC-caliber defensive linemen,” Bielema said. “That’s probably been the one area that we’ve built up the most. At corner, we probably have as big of corners now as we’ve had since I’ve been here.”
Bielema went on to say he thinks the 2016 Razorbacks have better depth on the defensive line and at cornerback than during his previous three seasons in Fayetteville. The Hogs currently have one defensive lineman committed in the 2017 class and three cornerbacks. They’re likely set at cornerback, but will almost certainly look to add at least one more defensive lineman in the class.
Bielema also mentioned the importance of his players staying through their senior seasons rather than declaring early for the NFL Draft. He said the early departure of former offensive linemen Denver Kirkland probably hurt his program more than tight end Hunter Henry and running back Alex Collins leaving early. The offensive line has struggled mightily this season to replace three starters, including Kirkland.
“You spend all this time and all this money recruiting and developing, they’re going to play their best football their senior year,” Bielema said. “That’s when we want them. We don’t want them to leave as sophomores and juniors just because we’re such a strong development team.”
Hayden still committed … sort of
Reports circulated Thursday afternoon revealing that running back Chase Hayden had de-committed from the Razorbacks’ 2017 class. Those reports caused confusion after Hayden, from St. George’s Independent School (Collierville, Tenn.), tweeted he had not de-committed.
The truth is Hayden remains committed to Arkansas, but sources have told SEC Country the Hogs will no longer view him as a commitment if he takes an expected visit to Michigan this weekend. His offer from Arkansas will stand regardless.
Here’s the full explantation from SEC Country on Hayden’s situation:
Hogs already looking at another 2017 RB?
Now that Hayden’s status is potentially up in the air, it appears Arkansas has shifted some of its focus to recruiting other running backs. The Hogs are looking to sign two in the class. Other than Hayden, Charlotte High School (Punta Gorda, Fla.) 3-star running back Maleek Williams is currently committed.
On Thursday, 3-star running back Travis Etienne from Jennings (La.) High School tweeted a show of support from the Razorbacks ahead of his game Thursday night. The tweet was republished by Arkansas’ official recruiting page (@).
Etienne (5-11, 199) has 27 reported offers, with seven of those coming from SEC schools including Alabama, Tennessee and Texas A&M. Arkansas offered him in March.
— Travis Etienne Jr⁶? (@swaggy_t1) September 29, 2016
The latest offers
Here’s a look at the Razorbacks latest offers:
Glenn Beal, 2018 3-star tight end, John Curtis Christian High School (River Ridge, La.)
- Beal (6-5, 250) is a big target with elite running ability for a tight end and the strength to serve as a capable blocker. His skill set fits exactly what the Hogs are looking for in a tight end. He has 3 catches for 72 yards and touchdown this season and also plays defensive end for John Curtis.
— Glenn Beal (@G__beal) September 28, 2016
Jalynn Sykes, 2018 3-star running back, Rome (Ga.) High School
- Arkansas is Sykes’ second SEC offer, following Tennessee. He now has six reported offers, with the Volunteers believed to be in the lead. He has rushed for 389 yards on 44 carries, an average of 8.8 yards per carry, with 6 touchdowns so far this season. Sykes’ highlights show a tough runner with an exceptional ability to break tackles and turn upfield quickly.
— Jalynnsykes (@Jalynnsykes1) September 28, 2016
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.