Arkansas’ six commitments in the 2016 recruiting class have been split up evenly between in-state prospects and those from the talent-rich state of Louisiana.
Razorback wide receivers Michael Smith – a Louisiana native - is the chief recruiter in his home state for Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema.
He has already landed pledges from a trio of 2016 Louisiana prep stars in Lafayette Teurlings quarterback Cole Kelly (6-7, 240), Metairie Archbishop Rummel defensive lineman Briston Guidry (6-2, 287) and Marrero John Ehret linebacker De'jon Harris (6-0, 230) – hopes to keep adding to his total.
“Now the job is to continue to recruit very hard down there and continue to hang on to the guys we have,” Smith said Friday before the Northwest Arkansas Razorback Club golf tournament. “It is has been real receptive and I think a lot of people have been impressed with Coach B and the staff and how players have done.
“That’s a testament to our kids and what direction this program is going.”
Arkansas’ 17-0 win over LSU last season certainly opened some eyes in the state, but Smith knows he is still fighting a tough battle to pick stars out of Louisiana.
“It’s helped, but it is still their state,” Smith said. “I know a lot of those guys on that staff that do a great job recruiting so I am going to keep sticking my claws in there and get out as many players as I can to help us out.”
It is a better than average year for prospects in Louisiana according to Smith.
“You know that I am very biased about that statement,” Smith said. “But yes, there are very talented kids down there that are very well-coached. This year, probably like two years ago, there is going to be a lot of great players that come out of the state.”
Smith will get a talent infusion in his receiver corp with the addition of newcomers such as former Camden Fairview and Coffeyville, Kan., Community College star Dominique Reed (6-3, 185, 4.3) , Nashville’s LaMichael Pettway (6-4, 190, 4.5) and Highland’s Deon Stewart (6-1, 163, 4.4).
Pettway and Stewart are both on campus already while speedster Reed – who had 61 catches for 1,157 yards and 18 touchdowns last season - is due for the second semester.
“I actually spoke with Dominique a couple of days ago and he is chomping at the bit to get here and just got some other things he has got to finish up,” Smith said. “He has done a great job and I am proud of him.
“Now he is a Razorback and we just have got to go get him ready to play and get him on the field as fast as possible.”
Bielema has said that Arkansas will only sign 18-22 players in the 2016 class. Smith says he will try to get as many as possible for the position he coaches.
“Right now I am hoping to get three or four kids, but it could change,” Smith said. “We have a couple of guys in the boat right now that I am excited about and I just have got to hold on to them because they are going to get recruited.
“If coach will let me have five, I’ll take five.”
Cole Kelly tries to avoid the rush of fellow Arkansas commit Briston Guidry in a game last season.
De'jon Harris (right) poses on his visit to Arkansas this spring.
Smith Has Arkansas Strongly in Louisiana
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