Arkansas’ final push to complete its 2018 recruiting class began Friday with the opening of a three-week contact period.
The Hogs signed eight players during the early signing period in December. They currently have six to eight spots available for additional signees on Feb. 7 — National Signing Day. Friday gave a strong indication of which recruits are the Razorbacks’ top priority not only for 2018, but also the future.
Here are some major targets the Razorbacks coaching staff checked in on Friday:
Tommy Bush, 4-star WR, Samuel Clemens (Schertz, Texas)
Wide receivers coach Justin Stepp spent his day making several stops in Texas. Visiting Bush in the San Antonio area was of the utmost priority for him.
Bush (6-foot-5, 187 pounds) is the perfect type of receiver the Hogs’ new staff wants as it looks to bring in more size at the position. He currently has Baylor, Florida, Georgia and Michigan State among his other top possibilities. Arkansas’ chances will depend largely on whether the Hogs can secure an official visit from him ahead of National Signing Day.
Treveon Johnson, 3-star WR, Brenham (Texas)
Stepp also made his way to Brenham — located between Austin and Houston — to see Johnson, an Oklahoma commit. It’s unclear at this point where exactly things stand with the Sooners, but things are certainly improving for the Hogs as one of their top priorities. Johnson (6-2, 180) plans to make an official visit to Fayetteville next weekend.
Noah Gatlin, 3-star OT, Jonesboro (Ark.)
Offensive line coach Dustin Fry and offensive coordinator Joe Craddock made a trip to Jonesboro early in the day to meet with tackle commit Noah Gatlin. Though Gatlin (6-7, 300) held off on signing during the early period, it now appears to be a foregone conclusion that he will make things official with the Hogs next month.
Aaron Brule, 3-star S/OLB, Archbishop Rummel (Metairie, La.)
Defensive coordinator John Chavis and defensive backs coach Ron Cooper were in Louisiana checking on several top targets. Brule (6-2, 205) was at the top of that list. He recently de-committed from Georgia and now has Arkansas, Oklahoma State and TCU as his top choices.
Andrew Parker, LB, Sophie B. Wright (New Orleans)
While in the New Orleans area, Chavis and Cooper also checked on Parker and extended him an offer. He’s an under-the-radar prospect with his only other offers being from FCS programs Georgetown, Houston Baptist and McNeese State.
Chavis obviously likes him a lot as he had started looking into offering him while still at Texas A&M. There has also been interest from Nebraska and Notre Dame.
Parker (6-2, 230) has SEC-level size and speed (4.57 40-yard dash) for a linebacker. He had 107 tackles and 26 tackles for loss last season.
Myles Mason, 3-star S, Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.)
From Louisiana, Chavis and Cooper traveled to Alabama for a visit with Mason. He’s definitely one of the Hogs’ top remaining targets in the class after officially visiting Fayetteville last month.
Mason (6-2, 195) remains committed to Mississippi State. And while the Bulldogs appear to still be his most likely destination, the recent strong push from Arkansas is giving the Hogs a chance.
Courtre Alexander, 3-star DE, Owasso (Okla.)
Secondary coach and on-field recruiting coordinator Mark Smith made several stops in the Tulsa, Okla., area Friday. Among those was a trip to Owasso, where he checked in on Alexander. The Hogs have made a strong push for him — led by Smith’s efforts — since the new staff took over. With an official visit set for next weekend, Alexander (6-4, 260) is high on Arkansas with Texas also in the mix.
Nicholas Fulwider, 3-star DL, Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.)
Defensive line coaches John Scott Jr. and Steve Caldwell were in Georgia to see early signee Nicholas Fulwider. This was the first time Fulwider (6-6, 260) has had a chance to meet Caldwell in person. Scott, who was retained from the previous staff, has a strong relationship with Fulwider after serving as his primary recruiter.
Daxton Hill, 5-star S, Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, Okla.)
Smith’s trip to Tulsa also included a stop by Booker T. Washington High School — a powerhouse program in Oklahoma — to make it known to Hill (6-2, 185) how much the Hogs want him. He’s one of the top defensive back recruits in the country and has been at the top of Arkansas’ 2019 recruiting board since the new staff was hired.
Hudson Henry, 4-star TE, Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.)
Tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. did a tour of Arkansas on Friday, which was regular practice for him with the previous staff as the primary recruiter in the state. Though he won’t be the only primary Arkansas recruiter now — the 10 assistants are splitting up portions of the state — he’s still going to be the most in-state vital contact for now.
Stopping by Pulaski Academy to let Henry know he’s a top priority was a must-do trip for Lunney on Friday. Henry (6-5, 230) is one of the top tight end prospects in the country for the 2019 class. Though he has strong family ties to the program, it’s not a foregone conclusion that he will sign with Arkansas. The Hogs must fight hard to keep him in the state, which they intend to do.
Stacey Wilkins, 3-star OT, Camden (Ark.) Fairview
Lunney was also in Camden for Wilkins, a high priority offensive lineman in the 2019 class. The new staff offered him very early, easily making Arkansas the program to beat in his recruitment considering he has grown up a Razorbacks supporter. Wilkins (6-7, 280) has the build of a future standout tackle at the next level.
Treylon Burks, 4-star WR, Warren (Ark.)
Like Henry, Burks is rated among the top 40 players in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports composite. Both are players the Hogs can’t afford to let leave the state, which is obviously why Lunney made a trip to see both Friday.
Lunney saw Burks (6-3, 190) in action on the hardwood against Fordyce (Ark.) on Friday night. The multiple-sport talent could also play a number of different positions at the next level, with wide receiver currently the most likely spot.
Dylan Wright, 4-star WR, West Mesquite (Texas)
Stepp’s last stop in Texas on Friday was to see Wright play basketball at Poteet High School in Mesquite. Wright (6-5, 195) is another wide receiver with ideal size that the new staff is expecting to help bolster the group of pass catchers. He was previously recruited by Stepp at SMU, so there’s already a relationship to continue building upon.
Javian Hester, WR, Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, Okla.)
While at Booker T. Washington to check in on Hill, the Hogs also extended an offer to Hester (6-4, 165). It’s Hester’s first offer, which is a smart move by Arkansas. He’s very likely to have a bunch of top schools after him in the future. He caught 38 passes for 705 yards and 6 touchdowns for a state championship team.