5 main takeaways from Arkansas' first day of Early Signing Period
Arkansas officially signed 20 of its 27 commitments in the 2019 class Wednesday, the first day of the Early Signing Period. Among the early signees, five are 4-star recruits. The Hogs have three other 4-star commitments, but those prospects will wait until February to sign.
This is the first class Chad Morris has recruited to Arkansas during a full recruiting cycle. The group has a realistic chance to be just the second Arkansas class in the past 15 years to finish in the top 20 nationally of the 247Sports composite rankings. The Razorbacks were No. 20 as of early Wednesday afternoon.
Here are five takeaways from Arkansas’ 2019 early signing day:
Arkansas landed its quarterback
The Hogs got exactly what they wanted at quarterback with 4-star recruit KJ Jefferson signing Wednesday. The North Panola (Sardis, Miss.) prospect had been at the top of Arkansas’ priority list from the beginning of the 2019 cycle.
Jefferson’s time to contribute at Arkansas may not come right away. Ty Storey is set to return as a senior in 2019 after starting most of last season. Connor Noland, who started in Arkansas’ lone win over an FBS team in 2018, and John Stephen Jones will also have their chance to be the starter after redshirting as freshmen. Still, as his career progresses, Jefferson has a chance to become a special player at Arkansas as a player with an ideal skill set for Morris’ offense.
Hogs have an elite wide receiver class
If Jefferson does one day become the starting quarterback, he shouldn’t have to worry about a lack of talent at wide receiver. The Hogs entered Wednesday with four receivers committed in this class — three 4-stars and a high-end 3-star. Three of the four signed Wednesday, with the other (Treylon Burks) a virtual certainty to do the same in February.
Wide receiver is very much a position of need, with the opportunity for playing time surely wide open to all the newcomers. Two of the early signees at receiver — Shamar Nash and Trey Knox — are expected to enroll for the spring semester. That jump-start on the adjustment to college should go a long way toward helping both get on the field immediately.
Offensive line help is coming
Offensive lineman Ricky Stromberg flipped his commitment from Tulsa to Arkansas early this week and is now officially a Razorback. His addition gives the Hogs six projected incoming scholarship offensive linemen. That would put Arkansas at 15 scholarship offensive linemen for next season, which is exactly where Morris wants that number to be and not where it has been the past couple of seasons. The Hogs are also expected to get the bonus of a 3-star recruit (Drew Vest) joining the program as a preferred walk-on.
There are no can’t-miss, big-time recruits in this offensive line group. There’s still plenty of potential among the signees, though. And, most importantly, the scholarship numbers within the unit will finally be at a reasonable level.
Arkansas gets a signing day flip
West Jefferson (Harvey, La.) cornerback Greg Brooks began Wednesday committed to Mississippi State. He’ll end the day as a Razorback after signing with Arkansas over the Bulldogs, Kansas, Kansas State and Southern Miss. Brooks’ flip gave the Hogs a bonus addition as they are now projected to have 20 signees in the early period. Brooks is a high-end 3-star recruit who had been committed to Mississippi State since June.
Let the waiting begin
Defensive back Devin Bush is one of seven Arkansas commits not expected to sign early. It seems clear Bush — a 4-star recruit from New Orleans — is buying some time to possibly land an offer from LSU. That doesn’t appear likely to happen based on the defensive back class the Tigers are expected to sign. If it doesn’t, there’s no other reason to believe he won’t sign with Arkansas in February.
Here are the six other commits expected to sign in February:
- Hudson Henry, 4-star TE: There’s nothing to worry about here. Henry can’t enroll early because of school policy at Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.), so the timing of his signature isn’t all that important. What is important is that he still signs with the Hogs, and there’s absolutely no reason to believe he won’t. Henry is simply waiting to sign during a ceremony with the rest of Pulaski Academy’s signees in February.
- Treylon Burks, 4-star WR: Burks, who is currently rehabbing a torn ACL, is in a similar situation to Henry in that there should be nothing to worry about for Arkansas. He’s waiting for personal reasons, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t officially become a Razorback in February.
- Adonis Otey, 3-star DB: Though he has been committed to the Hogs since early August, Otey has decided to take a bit more time before making things official. He plans to take the four official visits he has remaining, according to a report from the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. He says he’s all in with Arkansas, but his recruitment will certainly be one to watch between now and February.
- Myles Brooks, 3-star DB: This appears to be a situation where both parties are simply waiting to see if a better option arises over the next few weeks.
- Dante Walker, 3-star DL: See the above explanation.
- A’Montae Spivey, 3-star RB: Ole Miss appears to still be in the race to sign Spivey despite his pledge to Arkansas. He’s not signing early so he can take an official visit to Oxford in January.
Also, don’t forget about the upcoming Jalen Catalon commitment announcement. The 4-star safety is expected to reveal his school of choice Jan. 18 and sign a couple of weeks later. Arkansas is very much in the mix to get him.