Morris wants mix of Arkansas, Texas recruiting

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Thursday, December 7, 2017
Arkansas coach Chad Morris speaks during a news conference Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas coach Chad Morris speaks during a news conference Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, in Fayetteville.

— New Arkansas head football coach Chad Morris isn’t taking the weekend off and could have some official visitors in Fayetteville beginning Friday.

Morris acknowledged that on Thursday while meeting with a group of reporters after his introductory media conference and discussed calling the current Razorback commits and other recruiting targets.

“I was on the phone with several of them last night,” Morris said. “It was really good. It was really positive. I believe we have some coming in this weekend. I don’t know that for a fact. I think there is three, four or five. I will find that out in just a few minutes.

“But I have reached out to several of them and they are excited. Several of them are guys that we have recruited, too, so I had a relationship with them already.”

Arkansas linebacker commit Bumper Pool (6-3, 225) of Lucas, Texas, Lovejoy has announced shortly after Morris was hired that he plans to sign with the Razorbacks on the first day of the new Dec. 20-22 early signing period.

“Recruiting and retaining is our top priority,” Morris said. “We are coming fast, we are coming at you. The jet iw fueled up and we are ready to go. We are excited and we came here to win championships. We look forward to the guys who want to be the best because that is what we are about because best is the standard at the University of Arkansas.

“…Our first order of business is to put together a championship-caliber staff and you will see that coming into play over the next several weeks and signing an elite class. The signing date on the 20th will be so critical for getting the guys in place and that is why it is important to take over right now.

“Our staff, our recruiting class, we will go to work on establishing the culture that will get us to the next step, the next level.”

Morris has reached out to at least three four recruits since being officially hired on Wednesday.

That includes uncommitted Earle quarterback Gerry Bohanon (6-4, 215), who plans to sign on Dec. 20th and enroll at his school of choice in January.

SMU wide receiver pledge Michael Woods of Magnolia, Texas - another early enrolee who signed a financial agreement with the Mustangs in late September - now has an offer from Morris to sign with Arkansas.

Morris has also extended Arkansas offers to four-star Schertz, Texas, Clemens wide receiver Tommy Bush (6-5, 190, 4.47) and Oklahoma four-star defensive back commit Jaqualyn Crawford (5-10, 163) of Rockdale, Texas.

“The style of play and the type of scheme we are going to run here is going to make us a very appealing place to come in and play, especially when you are able to come in and play early as a freshman,” Morris said. “That is going to make it appealing as well.

“That is part of the development of these young men as you go is these guys want to come here and they want to play. The model that we have taken, the blueprint that we have taken is from where we were seven years ago.”

Morris was planning to dive into the roster Thursday afternoon to see exactly how many scholarships he has to offer.

“I don’t know where you are at, if you are at 18 or 20,” Morris said. “I know it is not going to be a full 25. I do know that unless something happens.”

He made it clear on Thursday that he knows what you have to recruit to compete in the SEC, a conference whose members he competed against while the offensive coordinator at Clemson.

“You better have D-linemen and you better have O-linemen,” Morris said. “And you better have some speed. You either have speed or you are chasing speed and you don’t want to be chasing speed. Our priority is to make sure we are recruiting speed that can compete at this level and in this league.”

Morris noted that he intends to have his coaches saturate the state of Arkansas.

“We will have our entire state divided up all over the state of Arkansas,” Morris said. “All 10 of our coaches will have a piece of Arkansas where they will recruit to.

“We will see every high school in this great state and I will share with you as I share with all these high school coaches when they walk into your room, they walk into your office, you make sure you get something from them.

“Ask them what the best 3rd-and-6 play is, what their best pressure is against short yardage, what there best movement is. Get something out of these coaches that walk in there. They are about far more than just walking in and putting a card down and saying ‘who do you got?’”

Morris plans to recruit every Division I prospect in Arkansas and also lean heavy on his Texas roots.

“Let’s look at it this way,” Morris said. “When you look at the Division I players that come out of the state of Arkansas, whether that is seven a year, 10 a year, whatever it may be.

“Let’s say you take five to seven out of the state of Arkansas a year and you are going to sign 20, there is no reason in the world why you can’t sign 10 kids out of the state of Texas - the most dynamic and high profile prospects out of that state every year.”

Morris and some of his SMU staff members that will come to Arkansas were making calls while waiting to travel to Fayetteville.

“We have already started that process through the relationships that we have and started it yesterday before we got on the plane to get up here,” Morris said. “There will be a lot of excitement coming soon.

“As you build this roster and you build it over the course of time, you look at the prior history of this storied program - as successful as they have been the roster had a great blend of Texas players mixed with Arkansas players and scattered through Louisiana and Oklahoma.

“I can’t give you an exact number, but I can tell you that is a huge footprint. Our heel mark will be the state of Arkansas, the rest of our footprint will roll right into Texas and into the surrounding states of Louisiana and Oklahoma.”

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