A look at how Arkansas' recruiting has held up during the season
Although the Arkansas Razorbacks are preparing to face the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Belk Bowl, it’s never too early to think beyond the 2016 season.
The Hogs currently have 19 commits and they are expected to sign 23 to 25 recruits for the 2017 class.
Here is a look at how the Razorbacks’ recruiting picture has evolved during the season:
New commit: Arkansas landed one new player during the regular season, as 3-star defensive end Troy James, a Baton Rouge, La., native, committed on Nov. 14. James originally committed to Kansas in June, but he never seemed like a lock to wind up with the Jayhawks.
Not long after he committed to Kansas, James attended the Miami Hurricanes Paradise camp on July 16. Nearly three months later, James, who ranks 71st on 247 Sports’ list of strong-side defensive ends, went on an official visit to Arkansas to see the Hogs host SEC West rival and top-ranked Alabama.
Even though the Crimson Tide rolled 49-30 on Oct. 8, visiting Fayetteville clearly made an impression on James. Three days later, he decommitted from the Jayhawks. Oklahoma visited him on Nov. 4, but the 6-foot-4, 275-pound James ultimately chose the Razorbacks on Nov. 14.
James can help fill an immediate need for Arkansas, which lacks depth along the defensive line.
Lost commit: While the Hogs gained a strong-side defensive end, they lost a weak-side end. Ryder Anderson (6-foot-7, 230) from Katy, Texas, became the only recruit to jump ship when he decommitted on Nov. 28, just days after the Hogs fell to Missouri in their regular season finale.
Anderson originally committed to Arkansas days after making an unofficial visit on June 20. However, he was quickly persuaded by Ole Miss once the Rebels extended an offer on Nov. 17. On the same day he decommitted from the Razorbacks, Anderson committed to Ole Miss.
Losing a commit is never ideal, especially a 3-star recruit such as Anderson, who likely would have battled for immediate playing time. It definitely stings to have Anderson land with an SEC West rival.
Holding on: The Razorbacks received commitments from three 4-star players, and each has remained loyal to the Hogs during another rocky regular season.
Headlining the list is 6-foot-6, 230-pound tight end Jeremy Patton of Arizona Western College. Patton is the top-ranked tight end in the 2017 class, and the JUCO transfer is still garnering interest from big-time programs since committing to the Hogs on June 17. In fact, Patton recently visited Southern California after the Trojans became the 20th team to offer him on Nov. 13. For the time being, it seems as though Patton still plans on being Jeremy Sprinkle’s replacement next season.
Another 4-star commit who has continued to field offers is all-purpose back Chase Hayden, who committed to the Hogs on July 24. Since then, Hayden has shown interest in other programs, as he went on an official visit to Michigan on Oct. 1. Arkansas remains in Hayden’s ear, and running backs coach Reggie Mitchell visited Hayden on Nov. 27. The Collierville, Tenn., native remains committed to joining the Hogs next season — at least for now.
Still to come: Among the players the Razorbacks are recruiting hard is Dallas native Chevin Calloway, a 4-star player who ranks 12th on 247’s list of cornerbacks.
Calloway has received 32 offers, and his only visit came when he went to Lincoln, Neb., to see the Cornhuskers’ operation on Oct. 1. However, the Hogs seem to be making a late push, and their interest has even sparked Calloway to schedule an official visit for Jan. 20. If the Razorbacks are able to make a strong impression, Calloway could become a major playmaker for the struggling defense right away.
Four-star defensive end Michael Clemons, of Sachse, Texas, is another recruit to keep an eye on. Many project the 6-foot-6, 240-pound JUCO defensive end, who ranks second at his position, to land at Texas A&M. But Arkansas is on Clemons’ final-five list along with A&M, Ole Miss, Missouri and Oklahoma State. Coming out of junior college, Clemons could contribute immediately.