NATIONAL SIGNING DAY:
New Hogs in the fold: Pulaski Academy's Hudson Henry, Warren's Treylon Burks among 4 to sign
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.
FAYETTEVILLE -- University of Arkansas Coach Chad Morris was a lot happier on national signing day Wednesday after his coaching staff's first full season of recruiting than he was after a shortened recruiting period with the Razorbacks last year.
Arkansas added on to its 2019 recruiting haul on Wednesday by signing four more scholarship standouts -- headlined by in-state skill players Treylon Burks and Hudson Henry -- to bring its total to 25.
The Razorbacks finished the day at No. 23, according to 247Sports, and still have up to three available scholarships in addition to graduate transfer quarterback Ben Hicks to hit their maximum of 29 slots.
Morris said the additional speed and depth should have an immediate impact for a program looking to rebound from back-to-back losing seasons, including a 2-10 run in his first year.
"We got better today as a program without a doubt with the new additions to an already extremely strong class for 2019," Morris said.
"I'm extremely excited. What it does is it comes in and brings depth to our team, which is something I've said all along, that we've got to have depth."
The full class includes 11 four-star signees and 14 three-star signees, giving Arkansas its highest class score in the history of the composite rankings.
The Razorbacks' class ranked 10th in the SEC behind No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Georgia, No. 4 Texas A&M, No. 5 LSU, No. 9 Florida, No. 11 Auburn, No. 12 Tennessee, No. 19 South Carolina and No. 22 Ole Miss.
That group was joined by No. 24 Mississippi State as the 11 SEC teams in the top 25.
The Razorbacks' four new scholarship signees are the 6-3, 225-pound receiver Burks, the 6-5, 235-pound tight end Henry, 5-10, 188-pound defensive back Jalen Catalon and 6-1, 208-pound running back A'Montae Spivey. Burks, Catalon and Henry are four-star rated, while Spivey is a three star.
Henry, of Pulaski Academy, is the third in the line of football-playing sons of former Razorback Mark Henry and wife Jenny. He is the top-rated player in Arkansas by ESPN, which slotted him at No. 52 in the ESPN 300, and the No. 1-rated tight end in the country.
Burks, coming off knee surgery from last fall, joined Warren teammate Marcus Miller, a 300-pound defensive tackle who signed with the Razorbacks in December. He is the No. 1 prospect in Arkansas by 247Sports and the No. 11 wide receiver in the nation by ESPN, which lists him at No. 82 in its top 300.
Catalon is a highly coveted athlete who can play multiple positions but will start out as a defensive back for the Hogs. He is one of three Arkansas signees from Mansfield (Texas) Legacy for the class, joining defensive linemen Taurean Carter and Enoch Jackson. Rivals ranks Catalon as the No. 20 safety in the country, and he is the No. 29 prospect in Texas by 247Sports. Catalon is also coming off knee surgery.
Arkansas fended off a late run from Ole Miss for Spivey of Phenix City, Ala., the No. 35 running back in the country by Rivals, who rushed for 1,363 yards and 19 touchdowns last year. He is Arkansas' lone running back signee.
"When you're recruiting, you're on guys that everybody else is after, too," Morris said. "We felt like our relationship in that school was strong. We felt like our relationship with he and his family, coach [Jeff] Traylor and coach [Joe] Craddock did a fabulous job with him. At the end of the day, you just continue to work and continue to visit and share our vision.
"And I've said it before, If I have to beg you to come here, then I'm going to have to beg you to play on third and short. And I'm not going to beg you for that. And so we want people that want to be here and want to make an impact on this program."
The Hogs did miss out on Lakia Henry, the nation's top junior college linebacker, who had a signing day about-face and inked with Ole Miss. That early afternoon reversal sent the Rebels one spot ahead of the Razorbacks in the rankings.
Arkansas also lost cornerback commitment Adonis Otey, who opted to sign with Southern California. Linebacker Chris Russell, who narrowed his choice to Arkansas and Texas A&M, signed with the Aggies later in the afternoon.
Otey had been committed to the Hogs since August. Trey Knox, a four-star receiver and his teammate at Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman, signed with Arkansas in December.
Burks, Catalon and Henry were all thought to be solidly in the fold for the Hogs heading into the late signing period.
Morris also announced five preferred walk-on signees -- offensive linemen Logan Kalleson of Shiloh Christian in Springdale and Drew Vest of Searcy, linebacker Logan Orr of Jonesboro, receiver John David White of Pulaski Academy and defensive back Hudson Clark of Dallas Highland Park.
Vest is already on campus with eight scholarship enrollees -- Knox, receiver Shamar Nash, defensive backs Greg Brooks Jr. and Devin Bush, defensive linemen Eric Gregory, Mataio Soli and Zach Williams and offensive lineman Myron Cunningham -- plus Hicks.
Morris talked about the power of believing in the Razorbacks as an inducement in recruiting.
"I've said that over and over, I've shared that with our team," he said. "The love of the Hogs, we've got to have that. These guys definitely bring that. I'm extremely excited about the new additions to our football team."
Morris said having a full year to recruit had a major influence on the Hogs' top 25 class.
"We've got so much to sell at the University of Arkansas," he said. "We've got a tremendous upside to come in here and make an impact. But no, there's no magic potion, it's all about relationships and getting out and working and sharing your vision."
Morris said he and his staff would not rush into any decisions about what to do with the remaining available scholarships.
"Well, we're always in the quarterback market. I've said that. I'll continue to say that. You can never have enough of those guys. Got to have competition there.
"We do have, I want to say our number right now is at three or four spots. You never know. We'll see as the spring unfolds, how things go. We'll go through and find some needs that we have. We're always looking. As you said, we always talk about quarterback. We're looking whether it be linebacker, corner, you're always trying to improve in an area you can. But we do have some spots. That's a good thing."
Sports on 02/07/2019
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