Arkansas was heading into National Signing Day next week with just one defensive line commit on board and hoping to fill the rest of the spots with jucos, but now the Razorbacks have zero defensive linemen on board.
Thank You Guys For Everything pic.twitter.com/qWLLoOxC5i— T-Roy James #⃣4⃣ (@go__ty) January 27, 2017
Yes, he said “Arkansas University” but whatever. All it means is that Troy James is no longer coming to Fayetteville. It appears Oklahoma has made headway in getting James to flip, though James is uncommitted as of this writing. He did take a visit to Norman this week.
Most importantly, this now leaves Arkansas in a pretty tight spot. The only defensive line prospects that seem to be on the radar are some lightly recruited junior college players. Of course, they could turn out to be future All-Americans, you never know.
But the part that will likely keep Hog fans scratching their Hog Hats is that there are three defensive line prospects in Arkansas with multiple Power 5 offers, and Arkansas hasn’t offered any of them.
The most well known is Akial Byers from Fayetteville. He’s committed to Alabama and Nick Saban was in town earlier this week to check on him. He’s received several offers from schools all over the country, but Arkansas resisted. As coaches aren’t allowed to publicly discuss recruits, we might never know the objective truth. There have been rumors of bad grades or bad attitudes, but if he signs with Alabama next week, and Saban’s appearance here indicates he will, that’s a pretty hard thing to explain.
The other two are David Porter from Robinson in Little Rock and B.J. Thompson from England. Thompson has a recent offer from Florida State but also has offers from Baylor, Texas, Utah, Washington State, and more. Porter is committed to Colorado State but also has offers from Texas, Baylor, Kansas State, Iowa State, Rutgers and others.
I’m not suggesting Arkansas should feel obligated to offer in-state players over other better players, but it’s hard to give the coaches the benefit of the doubt for going after lightly recruited junior college players with fewer offers than the in-state high school players, particularly considering how highly rated last year’s defensive line class was.
We’ll see how it shakes out. Arkansas may still make a late offer to any of these players, but it seems pretty baffling on the surface right now.