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Recapping Arkansas’ February Signing Day

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The Hogs won some and lost some today.

NCAA Football: Tulsa at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Barring any late changes, Arkansas has wrapped up their day in recruiting and in the 2019 class. The Hogs had three 4-star players committed that were fully expected to sign and did. They had four battles and are likely looking at getting just one of those four. It puts a damper on things for sure, but the Hogs are still bringing in a top-25 class and will have a couple of scholarships to work with on the transfer market.

Who Signed?

Treylon Burks - 4-star WR

Burks joins his teammate Marcus Miller and a stellar group of wide outs in the 2019 class. He missed almost all of his senior year with a knee injury but that didn’t slow down his recruiting from big time programs. He should be healthy by the time fall rolls around and he’s on campus.

Jalen Catalon - 4-star Safety

Another player with teammates already on the Hill. He joins Enoch Jackson and Taurean Carter in Fayetteville. He’s the second highest rated defensive player in Arkansas’ class according to 247Sports, and should be a candidate for some immediate playing time.

Hudson Henry - 4-star TE

His older brothers were both Hogs and now Hudson is too. He was one of the most sought after tight ends in the country and he chose to stay at home. He’ll have a good shot at being next in line for a long list of successful Razorback TE’s.

A’Montae Spivey - 3-star RB

This was the one with some uncertainty coming into today. It was between the Hogs and Ole Miss, and Spivey stayed firm with his commitment to the Hogs. He’ll join an already talented running back group and will have a chance to learn from some good ones.

Who Went Elsewhere?

Arkansas missed on a handful of guys, all on the defensive side of the ball. First Adonis Otey flipped from Arkansas to USC. A teammate of signee Trey Knox, Otey had been signed since the fall but a late visit to Los Angeles changed things. The Hogs had felt good about their signing to get top JUCO linebacker Lakia Henry, but Ole Miss won out for him. Combining that with missing on Chris Russell is tough for the Hogs who are very thin at linebacker.

So What Does It All Mean?

Initially it looked like a lack of offensive linemen was going to be a huge concern in this class. That was addressed some with the addition of two JUCO offensive linemen at the Early Signing Period.

While they addressed that is became apparent the Hogs are going to need some more depth at the linebacker position and missing out on that is a disappointment. De’Jon Harris is an excellent linebacker and Bumper Pool has the makings of a quality SEC linebacker, there isn’t much behind them in terms of depth. Zach Zimos is a nice fit but is the only one at that position group coming in for this class.

Those openings give the Hogs a bit of wiggle room as well in terms of scholarship numbers. They currently are at 83 scholarships, and that moves to 82 if Dee Walker doesn’t return to the team after his arrest. Arkansas can add some more transfers with those, or potentially have more scholarships available for the 2020 class. That group doesn’t have any commits yet but the staff has been identifying and extending plenty of scholarship offers.

Nationally, the Hogs dropped in all the recruiting services team rankings but are clocking in the top-25 for each. 247Sports currently has the Hogs at 23rd, which is equal to where they landed in 2016. Rivals was much kinder to this class of Hogs, and even though they historically have had lower rankings for Arkansas, they are coming in at 20th. It’s the first top-20 ranking for Arkansas in Rivals’ ranking since 2009 and the first in any service since ESPN had Arkansas’ 2011 class at 19th. Speaking of ESPN, they matched the 247Sports ranking of 23rd, the highest there since landing 22nd in 2015. For all three recruiting services, this is the fifth time in the last decade Arkansas has finished with a top-25 recruiting class.

But because the SEC is absolutely stacked with talent and recruiting, the Hogs again fall in the bottom half of the conference. In Rivals’ rankings, they’re ninth in the conference. And thanks to Ole Miss’ late push, they’re 10th in 247Sports’ rankings. The Hogs are also looking up at all of the SEC West opponents there.

You can get wrapped up in the numbers and rankings, but no matter which way it’s looked at, it’s a successful class for Chad Morris and the Hogs. They needed to add a lot of new players with all of the roster turnover that comes with a staff change and they accomplished that. They also added a huge amount of talent at the wide receiver and defensive end positions, both of which will be important to the direction of the program. To completely turn things around, Morris and company will need more than one successful recruiting class, that’s the nature of things with all of the roster spots in football. But you have to start that turnaround with one successful class and right now the Hogs have that.