Like It Is:

It’s now up to Hogs to perform on the field

By: Wally Hall
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2019
Arkansas football coach Chad Morris speaks Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, during a press conference to announce the Razorbacks' football signees in the Fred W. Smith Football Center on the university campus in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas football coach Chad Morris speaks Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, during a press conference to announce the Razorbacks' football signees in the Fred W. Smith Football Center on the university campus in Fayetteville.

Recruiting, especially in football, is at best an inexact science.

From now to the time on the playing field there are grades, injuries and other issues that can sideline a young player. Not to mention just plain missing on players, which happens everywhere.

Football coaches have to rely on a lot of film, a little personal observation and the word of coaches, including opposing coaches.

All of that said, on paper, the University of Arkansas Razorbacks have signed their finest class in history. The final rankings are in and the Razorbacks beat out a lot of great programs for these athletes. No more beating out North Texas, Southern Miss or Troy.

Some of these recruits chose Arkansas over Ohio State, Texas, LSU, Oklahoma and assorted other household names.

Those who do award stars, and that seems the most cussed and discussed grading system, have 11 Arkansas signees at four stars. That’s the most ever, and yet the Razorbacks will be in the middle of the pack of the SEC.

Of course most of the schools which will finish in front of them have much more fertile recruiting grounds in their own state.

Alabama is going to be No. 1 because it is Alabama and seems to play for the national championship every year and then the rite of spring and summer when several will be drafted by NFL teams. That cycle gets stronger and stronger.

Georgia looks like it will be No. 2, according to 247Sports, and that state turns out more than 50 Division I signees every year. The Bulldogs signed eight from their home state, then went after five-star recruits from all over the South. Kirby Smart has it going, and if he can ever beat Alabama he may knock the king off the hill.

Texas A&M is going to be No. 4, and by now everyone knows Texas has great football players falling off trees. Schools like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, even Missouri, fill their rosters with the players who don’t want to go to Texas or A&M.

Jimbo Fisher signed 18 players from Texas. Both his five-star recruits and seven of his four-stars are homegrown.

The Longhorns are going to finish No. 3 and they signed 12 from their home state.

Getting back to the SEC, LSU is going to be No. 5 and the Tigers signed nine from their state, including both five-star recruits.

Oklahoma is set to finish No. 6. The Sooners signed 10 from Texas and only two from Oklahoma.

The state of Florida, especially Dade County, is a wealth of talent and Florida will probably finish No. 9 in the nation. The Gators had the luxury of hand picking 15 players from the Sunshine State.

Auburn, which has the geographical luxury of recruiting Alabama, Georgia and Florida, is going to finish 11th and it signed four players from Georgia.

The cold hard fact is those schools have better locations for recruiting, but give Chad Morris credit, he worked his tail off in his home state of Texas and signed eight, and even more importantly created some paths that became overgrown after Bret Bielema told the Texas High School Coaches Association if they didn’t play a fullback and a tight end that he’d beat their tails.

Most of the coaches were offended. They were running up-tempo Spread offenses without a fullback or tight end. Bielema had no idea the damage he did until it was too late.

Fact is, Arkansas needs Texas players. Always has and always will. In fact the Razorbacks need some that signed with OU which doesn’t play in the SEC.

On paper, this is the best recruiting class in Arkansas history. Now all the Razorbacks have to do is get to the field and perform that way.

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