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.
With No. 16 Arkansas set to face No. 1 Alabama on Saturday, this edition of Trent’s Trough will focus on past and present recruiting battles between the Hogs and Crimson Tide.
Arkansas-Alabama 2017 recruiting battles
Arkansas and Alabama are contending to land several big-time recruits in the 2017 class. Some players already have announced their commitment to one of the schools. Others remain undecided, with both programs very much in play.
Here’s a look at some of the top recruiting battles involving the Hogs and Tide in the 2017 class:
- 4-star DT Isaiah Buggs: One of the top junior-college prospects in the class, Buggs has listed Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Mississippi as his top schools. However, that hasn’t stopped Arkansas from heavily pursuing him. The Hogs are hopeful a strong 2016 season can get them back in contention to land Buggs, but the Tide remain a serious possibility.
- 4-star DB Todd Harris: Alabama, LSU and Mississippi were listed as his top choices in August. The Hogs have continued to pursue the Plaquemine (La.) High School prospect. He recently told SEC Country’s Sam Spiegelman he remains in regular contact with Arkansas’ coaching staff.
- 4-star DB Jaylen Kelly-Powell: Many schools are in contention to land Kelly-Powell, with Arkansas and Alabama among them. From Detroit, Kelly-Powell visited both schools for camps last summer. He told SEC Country during his visit to Arkansas he’s intrigued by the possibility of playing in the SEC despite being in the middle of Big Ten territory.
- 4-star DB Montaric Brown: Arkansas’ top in-state prospect from Ashdown High School committed to the Razorbacks in late July. Prior to that, he had listed Alabama among his top schools and told SEC Country he planned to take an official visit to Tuscaloosa this season.
- 4-star TE Jeremy Patton: Another highly coveted JUCO recruit, Patton holds more than 25 offers from FBS programs. He committed to Arkansas in June, reportedly selecting the Hogs over Auburn and Louisville. He also had an offer from Alabama.
- 3-star TE Kedrick James: The one-time Baylor commit from La Vega (Waco, Texas) High School reopened his recruitment after coach Art Briles was fired. He listed Alabama, Arkansas and Michigan as his final choices before committing to the Tide in late July.
Arkansas-Alabama 2016 recruiting scoreboard
Continuing to look at recruiting battles between Arkansas and Alabama, here’s a glance at the competition between the two schools in the 2016 class.
By the numbers
- 1: 5-star prospect signed by Arkansas
- 3: 5-star prospects signed by Alabama
- 5: Arkansas signees with an offer from Alabama
- 5: Alabama signees with an offer from Arkansas
- 5: 4-star prospects signed by Arkansas
- 13: 4-star prospects signed by Alabama
- 23: The final class ranking for Arkansas
- 1: The final class ranking for Alabama
Most competitive signings
- 3-star WR Jordan Jones (Ark.): Despite the efforts of Alabama coach Nick Saban to convince Jones to give the Tide a look during his junior year at Smackover (Ark.) High School, he remained committed to and eventually signed with Arkansas. He’s already a contributor for the Hogs on special teams. Jones is viewed by the coaching staff as a potentially special talent at wide receiver later in his career.
- 3-star LB De’Jon Harris (Ark.): Like Jones, Saban began pursuing Harris after he already had long been committed to Arkansas. Harris, from John Ehret (Marrero, La.) High School, took a visit to Alabama days before National Signing Day. He wasn’t swayed by the Tide’s pitch and signed with the Hogs. He’s already become a key contributor on special teams and is Arkansas’ third-best linebacker behind standouts Brooks Ellis and Dre Greenlaw.
Recruiting in enemy territory
Both programs haven’t been afraid to recruit the other’s home state. They’ve even done so with some recent success.
- 2017 3-star QB Daulton Hyatt: The Etowah (Attalla, Ala.) High School quarterback committed to Arkansas last spring. He has yet to receive an offer or much interest from Alabama. He plans to attend the game on Saturday in Fayetteville.
- 2017 3-star LB Thomas Johnston: Another recruit from Alabama without an offer from the Tide, Johnston, from Spanish Fort (Ala.) High School, is one of Arkansas’ primary remaining targets in the class.
- 2017 4-star DT Akial Byers: Many Arkansas fans were shocked and disappointed when the Fayetteville High School star announced his pledge to Alabama last summer. But Byers has not received an offer from Arkansas. He visited the Hogs in the spring, and sources indicated to SEC Country things didn’t go well after that. If he ends up at Alabama, the Razorbacks won’t consider it a huge loss.
- 2014 4-star DT Joshua Frazier: Arkansas missed out on the highly touted recruit from nearby Har-Ber (Springdale, Ark.) High School when he opted to sign with Alabama’s 2014 class. The response from Arkansas fans to his commitment prompted Frazier to tweet: “Ok Arkansas I’m sorry but I’ve decided Alabama. I hope u will still support me when I go rep Arkansas in Alabama.” Now a junior, he’s been in Alabama’s defensive line rotation all three seasons with the Tide.
- 2012 4-star DE JaMichael Winston: From Vigor (Prichard, Ala.) High School, Winston never was offered by Alabama or Auburn. He committed to the Hogs during his junior year and held that pledge through National Signing Day. Winston, now a senior, has been a key contributor for Arkansas the past three seasons.
- 2012 4-star DE Darius Philon: Winston’s high school teammate signed with Arkansas on National Signing Day in 2012 despite being committed to Alabama. Philon reportedly had been asked by Saban to grayshirt, delaying his enrollment and/or scholarship until 2013. Instead, he opted for Arkansas and was an All-SEC selection as a redshirt sophomore. He then entered the NFL draft and is with the San Diego Chargers.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.