Arkansas football recruiting: 5 takeaways after Day 1 of the Early Signing Period
Sam Pittman’s 1st recruiting class as the Arkansas head coach is mostly finalized.
The Razorbacks signed 23 players on Wednesday during Day 1 of the Early Signing Period. They got better across the board, filling needs with mostly regional talent.
Pittman’s recruiting strength was on display, and Arkansas ranks 20th in the country and 8th in the SEC, according to 247Sports.
There were certainly areas the Hogs could have improved, but that will likely come as the program enjoys more success. For now, which players stand out?
Here are 5 takeaways after Day 1 of the Early Signing Period:
1. Recruiting the state
Pittman was the first to admit that the Razorbacks’ numbers for Arkansas weren’t where he wanted them.
The Hogs didn’t land every in-state player they offered, but they still signed 4. That includes the No. 2 player in the state, offensive lineman Terry Wells. All 4 prospects were among the top 10 recruits in Arkansas, according to 247Sports.
They still missed on 3 of the top 5 players. In all, it wasn’t a bad showing, especially considering the state of the Razorbacks program over the past few seasons. I expect this number to continue to increase each year Pittman remains coach.
2. Offensive line
The offensive line is an area that many expect to improve dramatically under Pittman, a former O-line coach.
His 1st recruiting class should be the pillar for that group in the coming seasons. He of course added Wells, who is also the No. 33 overall offensive tackle. Cole Carson and Devon Manuel also could be important pieces.
Arkansas signed Cameron Ball, who ranks just a few spots behind Wells in the tackle rankings. However, Pittman has been quoted as saying the Razorbacks plan to use him on the defensive line.
The Hogs were young at offensive line this past season, so it remains to be seen how much each of these players will be used. Wells has the best chance at contributing early.
3. Filling in the defensive line
Defensive line looked to be the weakest position group of this class before Wednesday.
That has changed with the additions of Ball and Jalen Williams, the No. 2 overall defensive tackle. They join Solomon Wright (Vian, Okla.) to round out the position.
Arkansas loses their best defensive lineman, Jonathan Marshall, to graduation this offseason. With that being the case, it was imperative they find some depth to replace him. They certainly did that, and it could be their biggest win from Wednesday.
4. Skill positions
All of the Hogs’ 4-star recruits in this class are skill players.
Ketron Jackson from Royse City, Texas, leads the way. The receiver brings big hands, big-play potential and a player to pair with Treylon Burks in the passing game. He chose the Hogs over big-time programs such as Alabama, LSU and Ohio State.
AJ Green could be Arkansas’ running back of the future.
Pittman has raved about Green, who played multiple positions in high school. The Tulsa, Okla., native has made it clear running back is his preferred position, however, and he will get that chance with the Razorbacks.
Raheim Sanders is the final 4-star.
At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, he could be a bruising running back. However, the Rockledge, Fla., native is listed at athlete and could just as easily play defense for Arkansas.
The Razorbacks also have receivers Bryce Stephens, Jaedon Wilson and Jayden Johnson as well as running back Javion Hunt.
5. QBs of the future?
Arkansas signed a pair of dual-threat quarterbacks, though they’ll have to compete with KJ Jefferson next season.
Lucas Coley received offers from 4 Ivy League universities but opted to stay closer to home and attend Arkansas. He’ll still leave his home state of Texas, where he attended Cornerstone Christian. He is the higher-rated of the Hogs’ QB prospects.
Local kid Landon Rogers is the other.
The Little Rock native is the No. 9 overall player in Arkansas and the 36th-ranked dual-threat quarterback. He also had offers from Kansas and Houston.
Both players could find themselves competing for a backup role next season.