Six months from today, will Razorback fans be celebrating one of the best recruiting classes in program history, basking in yet another class ranked somewhere from 20-30, or hyping up all the diamonds in the rough destined for future All-American status?
It seems as though every year, there are one or two recruits who are hyped throughout the year and whose decision is the ultimate impact on how fans feel about the class. It seems clear at this point that those players this season are North Little Rock receiver K.J. Hill and Dumas tight end Will Gragg.
Both in-state players are consensus 4* and it appears won't be making a commitment for at least another few months. Gragg plans to announce November 18 after taking five official visits. Arkansas is not currently on Gragg's list for official visits but he insists the Hogs are still very much in the picture for him. Hill recently announced he would be taking an official visit to Fayetteville.
Land both of them, and the general mood about this recruiting class will be very positive. Split and the vibe will downgrade to "it's okay, it's okay." Lose them both and the sky will be falling, Bielema can't even get the in-state players, we need to fire everybody and hire recruiters, Hogville will crash and so on and so forth.
There's no denying those two commitments would be huge for the Razorbacks, shooting them up about 10 places in the national rankings.
Arkansas started off the class of 2015 really strong, appearing in the national top 10 for the first few months of the recruiting year, but things have definitely slowed down. Arkansas is currently 28th nationally as other schools have been filling up their classes and the Hogs haven't had a lot of commitment activity over the summer. Of course, stressing about overall class rankings at this point in the year is foolish, as all that matters is who you end up with, not when you get them.
The Razorbacks currently hold 11 commitments, so with not even half their class committed and with half the year still to go, it's far too soon to guess where the class will finish. One thing we are pretty certain of, it seems as though some prospects are waiting to see how the team progresses this season before they decide what to do with Arkansas. Win games this fall, and players will take the program more seriously and hopefully will be more likely to commit.
Committed: Ty Storey, Charleston, Arkansas - Consensus 4*
Don't expect any changes here.
Committed: Rawleigh Williams III, Consensus 3*
The Hogs definitely want more running backs this year after only signing one in 2014.
Committed: Deon Stewart, Consensus 3*
Obviously want K.J. Hill to end up here. There's been a lot of talk recently about adding juco Dominique Reed here as well. We'll see if that happens soon. The only in-state player Arkansas has offered this year who committed somewhere else is wideout La'Michael Pettway, who committed to Ole Miss.
Committed: Austin Cantrell, C.J. O'Grady - both consensus 3*
Three tight ends may seem like a lot, but the Hogs would absolutely love to add Will Gragg to this group. If they do, this should be a really strong group fans can get excited about for the next few years.
Committed: Colton Jackson 3/4*, Zach Rogers 4*
The biggest name Arkansas would like to add here is Lawton, Oklahoma guard Jalin Barnett, who recently announced he would choose between a top two of Arkansas and Oklahoma. The Sooners are clear favorites, but the Hogs have a fighting chance it seems.
Committed: Hjalte Froholdt 4*, Jamario Bell 4*, Daytrieon Dean 3*
Juco defensive tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter's crystal ball is currently at 50% to Arkansas, but there are only two predictions.
Hey, have you seen the Razorbacks' new official website? State of the art, I'm telling you, STATE OF THE ART. AVANTE GARDE. Whistling in the wind, whistling in the wind. Move along, nothing to see here.
No commitments yet, but the Crystal Ball for Jeremiah Dinson is at 100% for Arkansas.
No commitments here yet, either. Arkansas is in the top five for Kahlil Haughton, but most predictions have him going to Baylor. One interesting player to keep an eye on is Dre Greenlaw from Fayetteville. The Razorbacks have not yet offered and Greenlaw committed to Arkansas State, but some think the Razorbacks may offer at some point.
Johnson is one of the highest-rated punters in the nation this year, and he'll be taking over for Sam Irwin-Hill next season. Unfortunately, recruiting services only list kickers at 2* with the occasional 3*, so they tend to drag down class rankings a bit. That's a dumb way of doing it, but that's how they do it.
New names will surely emerge over these next six months. Despite all the turmoil from last season, the Razorbacks still closed pretty strongly in the weeks leading up to Signing Day last year. If the Hogs win some games this year, we'll see if some new names start popping up on the radar.
But as things stand right now, the Razorbacks are in decent shape to end up with a strong class. They're fortunate that this has been one of the best years for in-state talent in a while. Six of the 11 commitments are in-state, and all but one of them has been on the offensive side of the ball (sometimes I wonder if Arkansas high school football teams play defense).
Regardless, there's a lot of spots left to fill. How Arkansas does on the field this fall will have a big impact on how well Arkansas does with the fax machines six months from today.
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