2016 Dandy Dozen Has Arkansas Coaches Happy
Arkansas’ football coaches are knee deep in its 2015 preseason camp, but certainly got some heavy lifting done this spring and summer on the 2016 recruiting class.
The Razorbacks have 12 prospects in their current recruiting class It’s a number that likely is over half of what they are going to be able to offer.
That’s because great retention in the first few classes of Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema's era have the program with a limited amount of scholarships - somewhere between 18-22 - for this upcoming class.
Arkansas assistant coach Barry Lunney notes that number will depend on factors such as underclassman going to the NFL, players leaving the program or even seniors that get hurt and get an extra year of eligibility.
“I think we got off to a really nice start in the summer because it usually goes quiet in the summer and I think we are in a real healthy position with our numbers,” noted Lunney, who is in charge of the Razorbacks’ high school recruiting in Arkansas.
“Now down the stretch we can go very specific, not only in terms of targeting individual players, but have a better handle on our needs, too.
“This season will reveal more. It might be that there is a need that we didn’t know that will pop up. Or maybe what we thought was a need, turns out not to be because we suddenly feel better about the depth there.
“These last spots that we have, I think we can be pretty detailed and have a minute focus on what we are looking for.”
The Razorbacks have offered only four in-state prospects in the class of 2016 with Smackover wide receiver Jordan Jones (6-3, 180, 4.3), Star City defensive tackle Austin Capps (6-5, 304) and Pulaski Robinson athlete T.J. Hammonds (5-11. 190) already committing to Arkansas.
There’s one big one in-state prospect left out there in Hope defensive end McTelvin Agim (6-3, 270), who is the ninth best player in the country according to ESPN.com.
?Agim has his list down to Arkansas, Baylor (where he visited unofficially last weekend), Ole Miss and Texas A&M.
Arkansas is thought to be the leader for Agim, who has made numerous unofficial visits to Fayetteville, talked about his comfort level with the Razorbacks and plans to announce his choice by his birthday in mid-September.
The Arkansas staff offered 10 different in-state high school prospects in the state in the 2015 class - landing nine - as well as signing former Camden Fairview wide receiver and junior college star Dominique Reed.
Obviously the talent in state isn’t as great this year and has combined with the limited numbers - down from the normal 25 - to keep the staff from offering more Arkansas prospects this season.
“Each year is different for a lot of different reasons,” Lunney said. “One, it is what our needs are positionally. One year we may feel like we need to sign four offensive lineman and the next year we might only need two.
“So the numbers change positionally and you throw in the number that we are allowed to sign and now you have a formula that looks very different from the year before.
“In one class, you may be able to take a developmental guy and offer him a scholarship and feel good about that. But other years, you just don’t have the luxury to do that. It’s a fluctuation.
“We know that it is important for us to be as thorough as we can inside our borders and for us to take a real close look at everybody that is capable of helping us to win a game.
“There is no doubt there are guys out there every year that can help in our program, but the number situation may not work out for what we need or what we are allowed to have.”
Lunney stressed that if Arkansas has not offered an in-state prospect yet, it doesn’t mean that they don’t like him.
“It’s not black and white,” Lunney said. “It’s not ‘they don’t like him’ or ‘they do like him.’ There is just so much that goes on behind the scenes that I don’t know if a lot of people have a great appreciation for that.”
Lunney notes that Arkansas doesn’t push guys to commit early, but does want a solid pledge if a prospect decides to make that leap.
“Obviously when they do commit, we want and expect that to be firm for everybody involved,” Lunney said. “That just helps all involved.”
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