Arkansas recruiting primer: Pittman's 1st class full of regional talent
When Sam Pittman was hired as Arkansas’ head coach, it was often mentioned how skilled of a recruiter he was.
Pittman’s first recruiting class is coming together nicely and is currently ranked No. 19 in the nation according to 247Sports. The Hogs filled several needs, did a nice job of recruiting their region and overall put together a solid inaugural class for Pittman.
Here’s a look at what they have in store for the 2021 class:
By the numbers
- SEC rank: 8
- National rank: 19
- 5-stars: none
- 4-stars: 3
- 3-stars: 17
Top player: WR Ketron Jackson, 4-star
Jackson could be the best player from this class when all is said and done.
He is a 4-star prospect from Royse City, Texas, who ranks No. 29 in his talent-heavy state and 160th overall. Another track star, he could be an explosive option alongside Treylon Burks and Mike Woods. He already has 841 yards receiving and 11 touchdown catches with his season still in progress.
At 6-2, he could be another end zone target as well. Expect to hear a lot about Jackson in the coming seasons.
Class strength: Running back and O-line
With Rakeem Boyd’s Razorbacks career over and Trelon Smith getting ready to enter his senior season, the Razorbacks are going to need someone to step up at running back.
Thankfully, they have several potential candidates in this recruiting class.
AJ Green is the second-highest-ranked player in the Razorbacks’ class. He is listed as an athlete but has stated a desire to play running back in college. He rushed for 1,302 yards and 14 touchdowns in his senior season at Tulsa Union in Tulsa, Okla. He is also a track star.
Just below him is athlete Raheim Sanders, Arkansas’ final 4-star commit. He played running back and receiver and on defense in high school in Rockledge, Fla. Javion Hunt, a 3-star back from Oklahoma City, rounds out the running back commits.
The Hogs also added a few linemen in the 2021 class. That includes Terry Wells, the No. 2 overall player in Arkansas. Convincing him to stay home was huge for Pittman in his 1st season, and Wells could be a leader on the line in future years.
This combination of linemen and running backs could restore Arkansas to their roots of power football.
Class weakness: Defensive line
There aren’t many weaknesses in the Razorbacks’ recruiting class for 2021.
Pittman did a nice job of filling most of their needs, plus they have a young team to begin with. If I have to pick 1, though, the defensive line seems to be it.
Arkansas will likely miss Jonathan Marshall, who is a senior this year. He was their best defensive lineman this past season. To make matters worse, the Hogs signed only 1 defensive lineman in this class.
Solomon Wright is their lone commit at that position. He is the No. 13 overall player in Oklahoma and chose Arkansas over Kansas, Iowa State and Texas Tech, among others.
Grading the QB class: B-
The Hogs have a pair of dual-threat quarterback commits in 3-stars Landon Rogers and Lucas Coley.
Rogers is a local kid from Little Rock. He passed and rushed for 1,000 yards apiece this past season.
Coley is the higher-rated prospect from San Antonio. He is the No. 22 overall quarterback in the class and also held offers from Louisville, Virginia Tech and South Florida.
Both quarterbacks are fine players, but I would expect KJ Jefferson to step in and take over for Feleipe Franks next season.
Did they close the borders?
Pittman said he wanted to do a better job recruiting the region, and he has certainly done so.
Only 3 of his 20 commits are from a state that doesn’t border Arkansas, with a combined 15 from Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas itself.
He also secured 4 of the top 10 prospects in his state. In addition to Wells and Rogers, Pittman also received pledges from 3-star linebacker Marco Avant (Forrest City) and tight end Erin Outley (Little Rock).
That is certainly something you can live with as a Hogs fan.
Final thought …
This is a big moment for Pittman at Arkansas as it is his 1st class as head coach.
He filled needs and recruited players that will help him establish the system he wants to implement. All in all, it looks to be a pretty solid 1st class. It ranks 8th in the SEC and in the top 20 nationally. The Razorbacks are already 11 spots higher than where they were in 2020.
His recruiting prowess is one of the main reasons Pittman was hired, and it once again appears Arkansas is in good hands with him.