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.
Analyst impressed with Hogs' efforts
Arkansas football helmets sit atop storage bins during a game against Mississippi State on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Fayetteville.
Arkansas had mixed results on Wednesday, the traditional February national signing day, but the 2019 class stacks up well nationally and in the SEC, according to a top analyst.
Based off of CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming's rankings of prospects, Coach Chad Morris and staff inked 4-star-plus safety Jalen Catalon, 5-star tight end Hudson Henry and 4-star plus receiver Treylon Burks as expected and signed 3-star running back A'Monate Spivey, who spurned a late effort from Ole Miss. All were previously committed to the Razorbacks.
Lemming believes Arkansas has the most surprising class in the nation after coming off of a 2-10 season.
"As I have been saying on radio shows, the biggest surprise of the year is Arkansas based on how they finished," Lemming said.
Catalon, 5-10, 180 pounds, of Legacy High School in Mansfield, Texas, chose the Razorbacks over Texas, TCU, Oklahoma and numerous others last month.
Henry, 6-5, 230 pounds of Pulaski Academy will join his brother and Arkansas linebacker Hayden Henry in Fayetteville after signing with the Hogs over Stanford, Clemson, Alabama, Penn State, Ole Miss, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and others.
Burks, 6-3, 225, picked Arkansas over scholarship offers from LSU, Clemson, Auburn, Ole Miss, Michigan, Tennessee, South Florida and others. His teammate and defensive tackle Marcus Miller signed with the Hogs in December.
Spivey, 6-1, 207, 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Phenix City (Ala.) Central, committed to the Razorbacks on Aug. 6 over LSU, Purdue, Cincinnati and others. He turned down a late charge from the Rebels after visiting Oxford on Jan. 25-27.
While the Hogs won the battle with Ole Miss for Spivey, the Rebels pulled a stunner by signing junior college linebacker Lakia Henry of Dodge City (Kan.) Community College when it appeared he was an Arkansas lean.
The Razorbacks lost out on former cornerback commitment Adonis Otey of Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman to Southern Cal and Dyersburg, Tenn., linebacker Chris Russell to Texas A&M.
Lemming has the Hogs rated No. 19 nationally after having them No. 15 following the early signing period in December. The Razorbacks landed at the No. 8 spot among the SEC teams.
The Razorbacks now have 25 signees for the 2019 class with 21 coming during the early signing period in December. SMU quarterback transfer Ben Hicks is currently on campus and will go through spring practice.
In addition to Burks, the Hogs have another 4-star plus receiver in early enrollee Trey Knox 6-4, 210, of Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman, while early enrollee Shamar Nash, 6-2, 190, of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., is a 4-star recruit and TQ Jackson, 6-3, 180, of Jefferson, Texas, is a 3-star plus prospect.
Lemming said Arkansas' recruiting efforts after a sub-par season is promising for the future.
"It bodes well for the future once they start turning around on the field, there's no telling how great the classes will be," Lemming said. "Outstanding job this year from every assistant coach and Coach Morris."
For Arkansas to close the gap on the upper tier programs in the SEC, Lemming said the Hogs need to continue to be aggressive.
"Never let up in recruiting," Lemming said. "Try to recruit all four-star prospects and a couple of five stars. That seems to be the game plan for most of the schools in the conference."
Sports on 02/07/2019
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