Bagmen around the country are making their last-ditch arrangements in an effort to help their chosen program close strong in this recruiting calendar.
National Signing Day is next Wednesday, when a new passel of hogs make their commitment to Arkansas official.
If you've been following recruiting this year, you know that this class is headlined by one of the deepest collections of in-state talent Arkansas has seen in many years - a group desperately welcomed by Bret Bielema and his staff, who spent the majority of the recruiting year selling the program in the face of an exhausting SEC losing streak.
But those native Arkansans aren't the only stars of the class. The coaches have been able to go outside the state and attract some really nice looking players to join them as well.
So the question with a week left is simply, how good is this group? Does it have a chance to be listed among the top 20 classes in the nation?
As of right now, Arkansas has 21 commitments* and the class is ranked 22nd in the country according to the 247 composite rankings with a score of 217.37 points.**
*It should be noted that one of Arkansas' commitments, Josh Allen, won't be included in the recruiting rankings because he graduated high school in 2014 and was not in juco this year. I don't really understand why that means he can't be counted, but just know that Arkansas has one player on their list who is a quality commitment and his impact is not included in the team rankings.
**You're free to use whichever ranking system you like. We'll use this one for this exercise because it combines the scores from 247, Rivals, Scout, and ESPN - I think), and we can use 247's handy-dandy Class Calculator tool to figure out what the class rankings could look like depending on who the final commitments are.
Obviously, as players commit and decommit through next week, the rankings will fluctuate accordingly. Some teams will move up while others will move down, so it's impossible to say with certainty where schools will end up (except for Alabama. They're going to be #1.). However, right now there is a significant gap between the #19 school (Mississippi State with 230.03 points) and #20 (Miami with 218.86 points).
Even if Arkansas misses on their top couple of targets, they'll still probably finish with around 220 points if they're able to sign targets like Kendrick Jackson (linebacker from Haynesville, LA who is committed to Arizona but will take an official visit to Fayetteville this weekend), Brandon Scott (safety from Destrehan, LA visiting this weekend), and/or Kylan Johnson (safety from Dallas visited last weekend). Any of those guys might end up being tremendous Razorbacks, and they would certainly help Arkansas' class, but they're rankings wouldn't move the needle much with respect to the national rankings. If the Hogs signed those three it would probably put Arkansas around the 21st-22nd place in the final totals.
However, there are still two players whom the Razorbacks have a chance at signing who would significantly improve Arkansas' point total - Toby Weathersby and K.J. Hill.
Weathersby is an offensive tackle from Houston who would be either the #1 or #2-rated player in Arkansas' class (depending on your recruiting service of choice). He was committed to Texas for several months but decommitted in December and has taken official visits to both Arkansas and LSU, and those two schools seem to be his finalists.
His rating would boost Arkansas' score about 10 points, which probably puts Arkansas into about that 20th spot. He's planning on announcing on Signing Day.
Hill has been the hot story in Arkansas recruiting for the last couple of weeks. The receiver from North Little Rock committed to Arkansas in August but was always intent on taking visits before Signing Day, and finally decommitted recently. As sadly tends to happen with decommitments, things turned toxic on social media. Some fans said nasty things to him and some in his camp, particularly his stepfather, have fired back, seemingly turning feelings toward Arkansas sour in the process. The Hill camp has cut off talking with the Arkansas media, while his stepfather has given interviews to multiple Alabama and Ohio State outlets.
So things there don't look so great. However, Hill might take an official visit to Arkansas this weekend (he said he might go, plans have not been confirmed, but he hasn't ruled it out yet). Things began to look really shaky with his commitment when Jim Chaney left for Pitt, but now that Arkansas has hired Dan Enos to take his place, we don't know if Enos has been able to get in contact with Hill and what impact that might have. From what we've seen, Hill himself has been relatively silent on the matter, at least publicly. He has not been the one giving interviews and has only retweeted messages that appear to favor all the schools involved, including Arkansas.
If Hill does take his visit to Fayetteville and the Hogs are able to find a way to bring him back into the fold, his signature along with Weathersby would leave Arkansas in the mid 230s, which historically would definitely be good enough for a top 20 class.
If Arkansas doesn't land both of them, it's hard to see them getting high enough to pass Mississippi State for that 19th spot since the Bulldogs already have 230.03 points. 20th might be the ceiling.
However, it's important to understand, since the 25-signing soft cap was instituted a few years ago, Arkansas has never had a class pull in more than 217.58 points. This is almost guaranteed to be the highest-rated class the Hogs have been able to sign since then. Considering how much star power the Hogs are getting for those 25 spots, with fewer "risks" and "filler", it's easy to say this is one of the Razorbacks' best signing classes since people started keeping track of these things, regardless of who these last commitments turn out to be.
Also, one of Arkansas' lowest-rated commitments is punter Blake Johnson. Even though Johnson is considered one of the best high school punters in the nation (he was selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl) recruiting services always rate kickers really low, which I think is stupid. So factor in the shady low rating for Johnson and Allen's absence from the list of commitments, and we can bump Arkansas' class a little higher.
It's pretty difficult to see the Hogs fall out of the top 25 unless some crazy Signing Day shenanigans take place, and a top 25 class is always respectable, because it's typically a group that can be expected to win some games and be competitive, because there are probably some future stars there.
Plus, there's always a chance that a super-secret 5* player could fall from the sky.