Coaches: Razorbacks in good spot for 2019 class

By: Bob Holt
Published: Thursday, February 8, 2018
Little Rock Christian's Justice Hill is committed to play basketball at Arkansas, but is beginning to garner attention from SEC football programs as well.
Photo by Jimmy Jones
Little Rock Christian's Justice Hill is committed to play basketball at Arkansas, but is beginning to garner attention from SEC football programs as well.

FAYETTEVILLE -- SEC football programs have a combined 44 commitments for the 2019 recruiting class.

South Carolina already has seven. Georgia, LSU and Texas A&M have six commitments, and Alabama has five.

At a glance

SEC FOOTBALL COMMITMENTS FOR CLASS OF 2019

Alabama 5

Arkansas 0

Auburn 2

Florida 3

Georgia 6

Kentucky 1

LSU 6

Mississippi State 3

Missouri 0

Ole Miss 4

South Carolina 7

Tennessee 1

Texas A&M 6

Vanderbilt 0

SOURCE Rivals.com

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville doesn't have any commitments for next year. Neither does Missouri or Vanderbilt.

Despite the commitment numbers, new Arkansas Coach Chad Morris said the Razorbacks are set up well for recruiting in 2019 and beyond.

"I don't feel like we're behind at all," Morris said. "I'm excited moving forward. We have a lot of offers out. We have a huge interest."

Morris was hired from SMU on Dec. 6 -- two weeks before the NCAA's first early signing period started Dec. 20 -- so he and his assistants were busy playing catch-up to put together the 2018 class.

The early signing period, Morris said, allowed some schools to sign the majority of their class in December.

"They were able to spend pretty much the entire month of January on their 2019 class and some 2020s," Morris said. "They've already had prospect days and brought guys on campus."

Morris said Arkansas will begin having recruits for the 2019 and 2020 classes and their families on campus soon.

"You'll start seeing our prospect days throughout the course of spring," he said. "We'll probably have seven or eight guys on campus.

"I love where we're at with '19s. We have a lot of momentum right now."

The assistant coaches said they have made dozens of offers to players from the 2019 class at all positions.

Offensive coordinator Joe Craddock, who followed Morris from SMU, said Arkansas' assistants have been busy evaluating recruits for 2019 to close the gap on other SEC schools that didn't have coaching changes.

"What I've really seen in the first couple months on the job is that every SEC team is on it," Craddock said. "I mean, you pull up [video on] a kid and you watch him and you like him, and he already has four or five SEC offers.

"Obviously, we weren't here last year to offer those 2019s. That's something we're working on tirelessly right now to really get in on some kids, try to develop some relationships.

"You've got to tell them, 'Hey, Johnny, we weren't here last year, but if we had been, we would have offered you, and we're offering you now.'"

Defensive coordinator John Chavis, who came to Arkansas from Texas A&M and also coached in the SEC at Tennessee and LSU, said he feels good about where the Razorbacks are with 2019 recruits.

"Recruiting is something you've got to do every day," Chavis said. "So there's already a focus on the next class in terms of identifying those guys and getting them on campus."

Barry Lunney, who was retained as Arkansas' tight ends coach, said Morris' recruiting organization and vision are impressive.

"I love the way we're attacking it," Lunney said. "We're being very aggressive in our approach. I can't forecast the future, but I'd be shocked if at this time next year we don't have some 2020s on board."

John Scott, who will coach the defensive tackles, also was retained by Morris from Bret Bielema's staff.

"Every day I come in, I'm looking at another four or five defensive linemen," Scott said. "We're going after them aggressively. So I think we're already on a good trail-blazing track for the 2019 class."

Morris said he anticipates signing 20 to 22 players next year.

"Coach Morris won't let us get behind on 2019s," said offensive line coach Dustin Fry, who came to Arkansas from SMU. "I've already offered 25 to 30 2019 offensive linemen, and we're offering new ones every day."

"I guess you can look at the numbers and say we're behind on commitments, if you want to judge it that way, but I don't feel like we're behind at all. I feel like we're close on some guys, and we'll take our time with some guys."

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