Like it is:

UA's Morris recruiting hard, but give him time

By: Wally Hall
Published: Sunday, December 17, 2017
Arkansas coach Chad Morris watches warmups prior to the Class 4A State Championship Game between Warren and Arkadelphia on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Photo by Jimmy Jones
Arkansas coach Chad Morris watches warmups prior to the Class 4A State Championship Game between Warren and Arkadelphia on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

Saturday was the 10th day on the job for Chad Morris as head coach of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and he has been in an all-out recruiting sprint.

He's been in more homes than Jehovah's Witnesses. #SuperCoach.

Last week he said it would be awhile before he could hire the rest of his staff, including a defensive coordinator, but he's left no doubt he knows the importance of that position in the SEC.

Morris was able to lead SMU to seven victories this season with his offense. The defense wasn't very good.

In the SEC, the three best teams this season -- Georgia, Auburn and Alabama -- played great defense.

He's aware of that, just as he is aware that he must get players out of his home state of Texas. He also needs to keep the in-state players, too.

This season, true freshmen from Arkansas started for Oklahoma and California. Two more Arkansans played for Auburn and Alabama, and another had considerable time off the bench for Illinois. Another started for Ohio State.

Morris immediately sized up his recruiting class and wanted to know where the UA was on Earle quarterback Gerry Bohanon, who has offers from almost every SEC school and many more.

Morris wants to make Bohanon the foundation for the future of Hogball.

Not only is Morris and a short staff of recruiters trying to get more players, they also have revisited and re-recruited the previous commitments.

They added cornerback Ladarrius Bishop out of Ashdown, a four-star player as ranked by Rivals who committed to Mississippi State, and that brings the total up to three players ranked as four stars by at least one recruiting service. Sean Michael Flanagan of Charleston and Bumper Pool from Lucas, Texas, are the others.

These will be the first four-star recruits Morris has signed. At SMU, a program that was a train wreck in a dumpster fire when he arrived, he had to fight to get three-star players.

Morris knows what it takes to win, and he hates to lose.

Even those most skeptical about his SMU record of 14-22 have started to warm to Morris. They loved the discipline he showed when he addressed the team, and it is hard to not be impressed with the mileage he is accumulating in his recruiting race.

The man probably had to Google map where his hotel was this weekend in Fayetteville, and where the 10 recruits he had visiting were staying.

He's been living out of a suitcase and probably hasn't thought about Christmas, and he won't until the early signing period of Dec. 20-22 is over.

Everything he does is well-planned, and he seems to get the Razorbacks passion and pride.

This Friday, when the early signing period is over, he has to take a break from recruiting -- that's an NCAA rule -- but it will give him some time to focus on filling out his staff, which won't be complete until the bowl season is over. That's a good thing because you want staff members who know how to get to a bowl.

The Razorbacks Nation can rest knowing Morris was the right man for the job.

Yet, understand every coach's first recruiting class at a new job is not going to be his best. Too little time to make relationships. This one has a chance to be better than expected, but it is just the first piece of the puzzle.

Patience is needed by the fans. Their program hasn't been very good for six years, and even though a favorable schedule could lead to a bowl next season, don't be unrealistic with early expectations.

For now, Morris is doing exactly what a successful coach does -- he's trying to get better players.


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Sports on 12/17/2017


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