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.
Bielema wants JUCO players who ‘love football’
Arkansas is looking to continue a trend of recent success recruiting from the junior college ranks. Linebacker Martrell Spaight, tight end A.J. Derby and offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola are all former Hog standouts currently on NFL rosters who were recruited from junior colleges.
None of those three, all 3-star recruits, were considered a top-50 junior college prospect in their signing class. While not highly touted, they did have one particular trait coach Bret Bielema is looking for when he recruits junior colleges.
“The thing I’ve said about the JC ranks is find guys that love football,” Bielema said. “Guys that want to come in and do it, not just pretty people, because that’s what we found with guys like Martrell Spaight, Sebastian Tretola. They weren’t highly-rated guys, but they loved the game.
“If we’re gonna hit on JCs, those are the kind of guys we’ve gotta hit on.”
That doesn’t mean Arkansas is totally avoiding the junior college talent that also happens to be highly rated. Arizona Western College 4-star tight end Jeremy Patton, the No. 4 overall 2017 junior college prospect, has been committed to the Hogs since June. The Razorbacks are also in heavy pursuit of Cisco (Texas) College 4-star defensive end Micheal Clemons, who is the No. 9 overall 2017 junior college recruit. Bielema is expected to attend the games of both players this Saturday.
Hogs expecting to sign 23-25 in 2017
With players transferring out during the summer and others declaring early for the NFL draft last spring, Bielema is anticipating a “big” 2017 signing class.
The Hogs currently have 19 prospects committed in the class with Bielema expecting to sign “23 to 25” total. Several factors, such as other transfers at the semester or walk-ons receiving scholarships, could change the overall number between now and National Signing Day.
One area Arkansas is looking to add at least one more commit is on the offensive line, one of its weakest position groups this season. The Razorbacks currently have three offensive linemen committed to scholarship offers (3-star recruits Dalton Wagner, Kirby Adcock and Shane Clenin), and another committed (3-star Audry Horn) as a preferred walk-on.
“I could go as high as five if they’re the right kind of guy, if they’re a guy we felt could really come in and impact who we are,” Bielema said of the signings on the offensive line.
“But a lot of that is dependent on who you’ve got committed and who you feel could come in and do some things right away.”
2018 DB target visiting for Florida game
Hillsborough (Tampa, Fla.) High School 2018 cornerback Ken Montgomery Jr. is planning to visit Fayetteville for the Hogs matchup on Nov. 5 with Florida.
Montgomery (6-foot-2, 165 pounds) is a 4-star prospect and the No. 34 cornerback recruit in the class. He has 21 FBS offers with 16 of those coming from Power 5 schools.
— Ken Montgomery Jr (@KenKensmiley5) October 26, 2016
Bielema takes recruiting jab at Michigan’s Harbaugh
While discussing his intention Wednesday to attend three games for recruiting purposes this Saturday, Bielema took an apparent jab at Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.
“I’m not going to be on the chain gang or anything,” Bielema joked.
Harbaugh received publicity for being a member of the chain gang at an Oct. 15 high school game during Michigan’s bye week.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.