Hogs Hoping For More In-State Recruiting Help In 2017

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawson writes about the cyclical nature of in-state prospects and it being a key to helping Arkansas have a better program.This story is free and courtesy of the NWA Chevy Dealers. Click the banner to learn more.

While the 2016 recruiting class is likely still not finalized, it certainly is time to look ahead to 2017.

That’s something the Arkansas staff did last week and it poured over several prospects that are currently juniors.

The Razorbacks will continue to first look long and hard at prospects inside their own bordes after signing just four players from Arkansas in this latest class.

They were the only four the program offered – Hope defensive end McTelvin Agim (6-3, 280), Star City defensive tackle Austin Capps (6-5, 315), Pulaski Robinson tailback/wideout T.J. Hammnds (5-11, 200) and Smackover wide receiver Jordan Jones (6-1, 170, 4.3). 

That comes a year after Razorback head coach Bret Bielema and his staff signed 11 in-state prospects – counting junior college wide receiver Dominique Reed. 

Arkansas signed eight in-state prospects back in 2013 and just five in in 2014. 

“When I first got here, I was told those numbers in the first two years were out of the norm and that was a high number for Arkansas,” Bielema said. “That has turned out to be the case.

 

“If they can play and help us win an SEC championship, we're going to find them and we're going to recruit them.

 

"It all starts right here in the state of Arkansas."

Arkansas did land five preferred walk ons in Greenwood linebacker Grant Morgan (5-11, 225), Maumelle offensive lineman Tyler Hall (6-6, 290), Benton linebacker Ben Brausell (6-2, 221) and Little Rock Christian offensive lineman Dylan Hays (6-4, 280) as well as Allen, Texas kicker Connor Limpert.

Farmington running back/linebacker Justice Hobbs (5-11, 215) and Lamar tight end/defensive end Blake Kern (6-6, 230) have also pledged to join the program as preferred walk ons.

“I was warned when I came in how cyclical Arkansas recruiting could be,” Bielema said. “One of the things that will really make a strong push here is if a kid is even remotely we think has a chance of helping us, we went after them as preferred walk ons and made them feel really good."

Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney is in charge of recruiting the state for the Razorbacks. 

He got three of this year’s signees from the South Arkansas with Agim, Capps and Jones all from that area of the state.

"South Arkansas has been real good to us," Lunney said. "That's always an area that you always have to be really diligent going through that area because there's always talent. There's always somebody that needs to be on the radar, whether we offer them or somebody you need to be aware of.

 

"You want it to be an even disbursement across the state. You're going to get some good players from Northwest Arkansas, central Arkansas. You need south Arkansas to be good. You need to have east Arkansas have a player or two. If you get all of that, you're going to have a nice number in the state."

 

There are already two 2017 in-state players with multiple Big 5 conference offers in the Fayetteville duo of quarterback Taylor Powell (6-2, 200) and defensive tackle Akial Byers (6-4, 260).

 

Some other top prospects receiving interest from Arkansas include Little Rock McClellan Pierre Strong (6-1, 180), Jonesboro wide receiver Jonathan Adams (6-3, 190), Central Arkansas Christian wideout and Indiana commit Josh Johnson (6-0, 170) and Lafayette County wide receiver Cualan Williams (6-3, 205).


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