Arkansas football: 5 big-time recruits coming to help the Razorbacks immediately
The 2018 season has been one of the worst in Arkansas football history. Oddly enough, though, it’s set up to coincide with quite possibly the best recruiting class is the Razorbacks’ history. It’s a sign that while things might be really bad early in the Chad Morris era, this coaching staff is excelling at bringing in the players needed to turn this around.
Arkansas has 24 commitments in the group with 7 of them rated as 4-star prospects according to the 247Sports composite. The Hogs’ class is No. 16 nationally, a standing that easily exceeds what’s come to be the expectation in recruiting to Fayetteville.
Within this incoming class, there’s likely to be several players who are asked to make an immediate impact. Here are five who should certainly be among them:
4-star TE Husdon Henry
The No. 1 tight end in the 2019 class is fully capable of contributing as a true freshman just as his eldest brother, Hunter, did for the Hogs. The role of the tight end in Morris’ offense was an unknown coming into this season. Morris had used the position frequently while he was the offensive coordinator at Clemson, but very rarely incorporated the tight end into the passing game in his three seasons at SMU. As it turns out, Morris has big plans for his tight ends as long as he has capable talents at the position. Henry will give him that.
Arkansas is expected to have Cheyenne O’Grady, its top tight end this season, back for his senior campaign in 2019. But there will be plenty of opportunities for Henry to earn snaps behind or in conjunction with O’Grady.
4-star WR Trey Knox
Arkansas’ offense needs tall, physically imposing wide receivers to operate the way Morris has in mind. Think of Mike Williams at Clemson and Cortland Sutton at SMU. Morris did great things with these physically-dominant receivers in his offense.
The current roster simply doesn’t have that, which is exactly why Knox can be a contributor in the receiver rotation right away. He’s listed at 6-5, 215 pounds and will get a jumpstart on his transition to the next level as an early enrollee.
4-star WR Treylon Burks
Burks (pictured above), another wide receiver with great size (6-3, 215), is an incredibly gifted athlete. He was recruited by a lot of SEC programs and across the country. The Warren, Ark., native chose to stay home as the Hogs won a recruiting battle they simply couldn’t afford to lose.
The main reason Burks is likely to play right away is no different from why Knox should be on the field. Arkansas does not have any standout receivers. With talents like Knox, Burks, and also fellow 4-star commit Shamar Nash coming to Fayetteville, it’ll soon be time to start giving opportunities to the future of the position.
4-star DE Mataio Soli
Arkansas defensive coordinator John Chavis covets having a speedy pass rusher at defensive end. That’s what he’ll be getting in Soli. An Arkansas legacy, Soli is slated to enroll early coming off a senior season in which he had 21.5 sacks in the regular season.
The Hogs are expected to return some solid players on their defensive front, but they don’t bring back anyone who can come off the edge with Soli’s athleticism. If nothing else, he’ll be a great option to use in obvious passing situations.
4-star CB Devin Bush
The Hogs aren’t sure whether junior Ryan Pulley will return next season or leave early for the NFL Draft, but either way there will be plenty of opportunity for playing time at the position. Bush will immediately be one of the top options as yet another special talent expected to enroll early. The New Orleans prospect chose the Hogs over numerous SEC and Power 5 programs.
Bonus: QB Kelly Bryant
If Arkansas can get him, Clemson graduate transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant can give the Hogs a huge boost in 2019. Bryant would easily be the most accomplished and capable quarterback on the roster. He’s a proven winner who would give Morris the ideal skill set he’s looking for in a quarterback.
It’s no foregone conclusion he’ll be in Fayetteville next season, though. Arkansas is joined by Auburn, Miami, Mississippi State, Missouri and North Carolina on his list of finalists with a decision expected to come in early December.