Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
The Recruiting Guy:
Salvaging recruiting class is priority
An Arkansas football helmet sits on the ground prior to a game between the Razorbacks and Kentucky on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Lexington, Ky.
The first 24-48 hours will be packed with action for the University of Arkansas' new head football coach.
The NCAA dead period begins Dec. 16 and goes until Jan. 16, so the first order of business will be recruiting. Next weekend will be the only time the new coach and his staff can host prospects for official visits before the early signing period from Dec. 18-20.
CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who has been covering the national scene for 41 years, said he believes the new coach will contact the six Arkansas commitments and the former commitments.
"This week will be just maintaining. You can't get new guys this early just because you don't have a enough time," Lemming said. "He has to try and maintain whoever is still committed. I think you definitely try and get the Arkansas kids locked in. Make some home visits and make sure you still have them."
After next week, the next visit weekends for schools are Jan. 17-19, followed by Jan. 24-26 and Jan. 31-Feb. 2. Schools can host recruits during the week if needed because high schools and junior colleges will be on break. The February signing day is Feb. 5.
During the month-long dead period, the new coach likely will complete his staff for the final push before the February signing period.
"You mainly have to get your coaching staff completed for the last push for the last three weeks of recruiting in January," Lemming said. "Most coaches coming in already have a good idea of who they'll have on their staff. There will be a few more hires."
With approximately 70% of the prospects signing during the early signing period, the Arkansas staff will have an uphill battle to finish with a strong class.
"You never want to give up on a recruiting class," Lemming said. "Every year is super important, especially in the SEC where talent is everything. It's the most talented conference in the country."
Lemming said he believes the Hogs will take another look at in-state prospects on which the previous staff passed.
"Maybe because you don't have a full year of recruiting, you look at some of the guys the old staff didn't offer in Arkansas," Lemming said. "You take a second look at them and maybe bring them in for visits. No matter where you are, the local guys are going to give you the most effort. Guys that have a love for the university.
"It's tough to salvage a recruiting class, but you can do some of it by bringing in guys that might be border line."
Arkansas cornerbacks coach Mark Smith was an assistant coach and a head coach for 14 seasons in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Lemming said he sees the need for an assistant with similar experience to Smith.
"A guy that has super ties to all the other coaches in the metroplex that would immediately get your foot in the door," Lemming said.
Email Richard Davenportat [email protected]
Sports on 12/08/2019
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