The Recruiting Guy

New coach, commitments both have an out

Springdale defensive lineman Isaiah Nichols breaks through the line of scrimmage during a game against Conway on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, in Springdale.

Arkansas has 12 oral commitments for the 2018 class, but it's likely the final list will look different when all signees are compiled Feb. 7, the latter of the two signing periods. The early signing period is Dec. 20-22.

When John L. Smith was not retained as University of Arkansas, Fayetteville football coach Nov. 12, 2012, the Hogs had 16 commitments, eight of which didn't sign in Bret Bielema's first class that was announced Feb. 6 of 2013.

Bielema and his staff backed off of the eight for various reasons, including academics concerns and ability on the field.

Offensive lineman Mitchell Bell of Navarro (Texas) College ended up signing with Louisiana Tech; running back Kaleb Blanchard of Denham Springs, La, signed with South Alabama; and quarterback Tyler Cogswell of Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage inked with Cincinnati.

Bielema parted ways with Edmond, Okla., safety Khari Harding and receiver Jervenski Johnson of Amite, La. Harding signed with Auburn and eventually transferred to Tulsa while Johnson signed as an outfielder with the Boston Red Sox in the summer of 2013.

The Hogs also chose to back off of receiver Lamar Jordan of Frisco (Texas) Centennial; linebacker Marcus Robinson of Memphis East; and tight end Deondre Skinner of Patterson, La. Jordan finished up his career as a quarterback at New Mexico on Friday while Robinson committed to Ole Miss, but ended up signing with Northeast Mississippi Community College and finished his career at North Alabama.

Skinner just wrapped up his senior season at McNeese State.

Bielema honored the pledges of quarterback Austin Allen of Fayetteville; defensive end Tevin Beanum of Forrest City; tight end Hunter Henry of Pulaski Academy; offensive lineman Johnathan McClure of Butler County Community College in Kansas; linebacker Myke Tavarres of College of the Siskiyous in Calif.; cornerback Carroll Washington of Hartnell College in California; and Fayetteville safety Alex Brignoni and linebacker Brooks Ellis.

The Hogs added 15 new prospects to the final signee list for the 2013 class.

The new Arkansas coach and his staff will evaluate each commitment and decide whether he is a good fit for their offensive or defensive schemes. The commitments will do much the same and determine whether to stay committed to the Hogs or go elsewhere.

Time for visits

The NCAA contact period started Sunday and ends Dec. 16 before the Dec. 20-22 early signing period. The contact period resumes Jan. 12 and ends Feb. 3.

Coaches are allowed to visit prospects and families at home, school, etc. six times during the contact period while being permitted one visit a week. Head coaches are allowed only one in-home visit with a recruit and his family.

In the month of December, schools can host prospects for official visits this weekend, Dec. 8-10 and Dec. 15-17. January visit dates are the 12-14, 19-21, 26-28. The last visit weekend is Feb. 3-5.

The remaining Arkansas coaches still are on campus for now.


While their jobs also in limbo, the Razorbacks assistants are still in contact with commitments and recruits.

Tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. and defensive line coach John Scott have been talking to Springdale and Hogs defensive line commitment Isaiah Nichols.

Nichols, 6-3, 265 pounds, chose the Razorbacks over scholarship offers from Missouri, North Carolina State, Indiana, Kansas and others. He appreciates the coaches staying in contact with him under trying circumstances.

"I like how coach Lunney gets to know his athletes, we've built a great relationship, and he's a great man and coach," Nichols said. "Coach Scott the same thing, I really like him as a coach, our personalities are very similar, and I can't wait to be coached by him. And then contacting me means a lot, shows that I'm still a priority amongst all of the things going on."

Defensive lineman John Mincey has been communicating with Scott and said he hopes to see him retained by the new coach.

"He told me he was going to check back in with me and tell me what's going on," Mincey said.

Mincey, 6-4, 265, 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Homerville (Ga.) Clinch County picked the Hogs over scholarship offers from schools such as Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Washington State, Oregon State and others.

It's also known Scott has reached out to defensive tackle commitment Emmitt Gooden of Independence Community College in Kansas and Arizona Western College defensive tackle Noah Jefferson, who officially visited for the Mississippi State game.

Inside linebackers coach Vernon Hargreaves has communicated with linebacker commitment Bumper Pool.

Pool, 6-2, 220, 4.79 of Lucas (Texas) Lovejoy chose the Hogs over Alabama, LSU, Southern Cal, Michigan, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and others.

Email Richard Davenport at

Sports on 11/28/2017