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Arkansas Aiming For Blue Chip Recruits In Signing Day Closing Stretch

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The Razorbacks are hosting far more 4-5* recruits than usual in the weeks leading up to Signing Day.

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You may see that headline and think, "Well isn't this the case every year?" And the honest answer would be, "Actually, no, not really. Not at the end of the process, anyway."

With just over two weeks to Signing Day and with it, two major recruiting weekends remaining, the Razorbacks are expecting to host a roster of top uncommitted prospects and prospects committed elsewhere that's rarely been seen in Fayetteville. Over the last couple of years, Arkansas has ended up trying to fill their classes at the end with a mixed bag of mostly 3* recruits who have had mixed success. Some who committed to Arkansas like JoJo Robinson, Kendrick Edwards, and Anthony Brown aren't even with the program anymore, although there have been bright spots like Joshua Liddell and Ryan Pulley.

It's hard to blame the coaches too much for that since it had to be incredibly difficult to attract top out-of-state recruits to Arkansas in the aftermath of the embarrassments of 2012 and 2013. But now that Arkansas has had consecutive winning seasons, All-Americans and award winners, and should have a pretty rich NFL Draft class this spring, the coaches have been able to attract an incredibly loaded group of players in hopes of turning the 2016 class into one of Arkansas' best in recent history.

Just take a look at the most recent list of visitors over the next couple of weeks. In addition to some of Arkansas' current commits, there are four 4-5* prospects coming in, and the next weekend two more. That also doesn't include some of the usual "super-secret" visitors it appears we'll have again, and possibly visits from new offer like 4* DT Chris Daniels or a possible new offer to 4* OT Sean Foster, both of whom the coaches are visiting this week.

Arkansas hasn't hosted this many top prospects at the end of a recruiting cycle since the infamous DGB weekend in 2012. Unfortunately for Arkansas, Bobby Petrino and crew whiffed that weekend four years ago, failing to sign any of those top uncommitted prospects. The obvious question for Bielema and his staff is whether or not they can convince any of these visitors to commit to staying in Fayetteville for the next few years. Frankly, we don't know the answer to that yet, but we do know many of these players are Plan A-types of players. If you've been following recruiting all year, you've seen names like RB Kyle Porter, DB Kristian Fulton, and WR Tyrie Cleveland for a while.

If this goes as well as possible and the Razorbacks are able to sign a few of these top players, it could result in easily the highest-rated recruiting class for Arkansas in quite a while, possibly the best of the recruiting ranking era. It would be quite an impressive accomplishment for the coaches to put a class like that together with most of the top players coming from out-of-state. It's generally thought that Arkansas needs a deep in-state class like the 2015 group in order to have a great class, but this year is testing that theory.

But what happens if the coaches repeat 2012 and miss on everyone? It's hard to say. Arkansas has 16 commitments and Bielema said on Saturday he expects to sign 24-25 players, and there's not a lot of time left to schedule extra visits. I'm sure they have something in mind. I don't expect Arkansas to end up with just 16 players, but it will be fun to see how it plays out.

With as many as nine spots remaining and 17 days to fill them (and that won't likely start until this weekend at the earliest), it's going to be a crazy finish.