FAYETTEVILLE — It’s likely that Sam Pittman adds 25 new recruits to the Class of 2020 though all may not be signed by Feb. 5.
The traditional signing period begins Feb. 5 and Pittman will enter that time with 16 spots open. The Hogs signed nine early. They currently have three commitments so assuming that trio signs the Razorbacks would still be able to add 13 more.
Pittman addressed signing a full class when he met with the media during the early signing period.
“We do,” Pittman said. “I tell you this, we’re going to sign as many good players as we can. But I tell you what we’re not going to do. We’re not going to sign 25 and five of them we’re not doing somersaults for. We’re going to sign good football players and good people, and if the number ends up at 18, then we’ll be fine with it.
“If it ends up at 22, then we’ll be fine with it. But we’re going after people that we like, and we’re going after them obviously in positions of need. But we’re not going to stretch here. We obviously could have had a few more in this class, but we wanted the guys that were signed today.”
Recruiting has changed with the transfer portal now available. Some schools choose not to fill up on National Signing Day and leave 1-3 spots open for transfers. Pittman also addressed that market.
“We certainly have to leave some scholarships available for transfers or grad transfers,” Pittman said. “Right now it doesn’t seem to be too big of a problem, you know? We will fix that when it comes. But, we obviously are in the transfer market at different positions. Junior college wise, I never want to go heavy junior college because I think we can build our team young. I just want the best players we can get, so if we can go into the junior colleges and get one, two or three outstanding players that we think can change our program immediately, you have to be right on that now, you have to be correct on your evaluation. I don’t think we’d ever sign a whole huge number of junior college players just because I believe you have to base your whole program out of freshman and start in the state of Arkansas.”
So with all that in mind here’s a look at how Arkansas’ Class of 2020 could look when full while keeping in mind that may not be Feb. 5.
Quarterback — Arkansas is going to sign at least one quarterback in this class. They are set to bring in Missouri City (Texas) Fort Bend Marshall four-star Malik Hornsby on Jan. 24-26. The key will be do the Hogs look to add a grad transfer at quarterback? They have been linked to at least two or three so far, but Hornsby is the one quarterback with an offer to the Hogs right now. Projection: 1-2
Running Back — The Hogs signed Crowley (Texas) High School’s Dominique Johnson early. He was committed to Missouri, but flipped to Arkansas on Dec. 18. Arkansas is bringing in Marietta (Ga.) Cherokee three-star Ebony Jackson Jan. 17-19. The Hogs are also getting a visit from Carthage (Texas) four-star Kelvontay Dixon who was once committed to them. Dixon is looking hard at Texas and Arkansas. He’s an athlete who could play wide receiver or running back. The previous staff liked him at running back, but he looked outstanding at wide receiver in the state championship game when he grabbed three touchdown catches. Projection: 2
Wide Receiver — Arkansas signed Memphis (Tenn.) Central four-star Darin Turner early. He’s now enrolled at the UA. He can play wide receiver or safety. He considers himself a wide receiver, but has said repeatedly he will play wherever the Hogs need him. Dixon and Marshall (Texas) High School three-star Savion Williams are other possibilities here. As noted, Dixon is likely to choose from Hogs or Texas (where his brother goes to school). Williams also was once committed to the Hogs. He will also be at Arkansas on Jan. 17-19. In addition to Arkansas, Williams is looking at SMU and TCU. He took an official visit to SMU the Dec. 13-15 weekend. Projection: 2-3
Tight End — The Hogs need help here. They only have two scholarship tight ends on campus. They had two committed prior to Chad Morris being fired, but both opted to decommit. The good news is that both Crockett (Texas) three-star Allen Horace and McKinney (Texas) North three-star Brandon Frazier are gonna give this staff a chance to get them back. Horace will be at Arkansas Jan. 17-19 and then Frazier the following weekend. UTSA and Maryland will get visits from Horace while Frazier will take a trip to Auburn and is also looking at Alabama and others. Arkansas could be in the market for an older tight end from either junior college or graduate transfer as well if one they liked became available. Projection: 1-2
Offensive Line — It seems with the hiring of Pittman and Brad Davis the concerns about Arkansas’ offensive line are a thing of the past. When Pittman left for Georgia following the 2015 season the numbers got down on the offensive line. Dustin Fry worked hard in recruiting to get the numbers back up and this should be a very much improved unit in 2020 and beyond. The Hogs signed Memphis (Tenn.) White Station three-star Ray Curry Jr. in the early signing period. Arkansas got a visit from Memphis University School four-star Marcus Henderson Dec. 13-15. He’s looking hard at Arkansas and Alabama. Arkansas is set to bring in Lithonia (Ga.) five-star Broderick Jones and St. Louis (Mo.) Trinity Catholic three-star Jalen St. John the Jan. 17-19 weekend. Jones committed to Georgia when Pittman was there. He also will visit Georgia and Auburn. St. John was committed to Missouri prior to Davis and Barry Odom leaving. He decommitted from Missouri and now the Hogs and Florida State are trying to land him. Conway three-star Robert Scott is still committed to Ole Miss, but didn’t sign early. He will be at Arkansas Jan. 24-26 and also is looking at Florida State as well. Projection: 3-5
Defensive Line — Arkansas signed Hazen three-star Blayne Toll and East Mississippi Community College three-star defensive end Julius Coates during the early period and have picked up a commitment from Fort Valley (Ga.) Peach County three-star defensive end Jaquavis McGhee. Arkansas had hoped to get a visit from three-star defensive tackle Montra Edwards from Mississippi, but he committed to Missouri. Jonesboro’s Jashaud Stewart can play defensive end or linebacker. He signed early, but Hogs appear to be gonna look at him at linebacker first. The Razorbacks are bringing in Pensacola (Fla.) Booker T. Washington three-star Eric Thomas on Jan. 17-19. He could also play linebacker, but is a pass-rushing specialist off the edge. Arkansas is also set to bring in LaGrange (Ga.) Troup County four-star Andy Boykin the Jan. 31-Feb. 2 weekend. Projection: 3-5
Linebacker — The Hogs signed Stewart, Bryant three-star Catrell Wallace and Harvey (La.) Helen Cox three-star Kelin Burrle in the early signing period. As noted, Stewart and even Wallace may eventually move to defensive end. Both are players. Arkansas also has a commitment from Joe T. Robinson’s JT Towers to sign in February. Towers made the most of his year with the Senators after previously being a quarterback at Glen Rose. Atlanta (Ga.) Woodward Academy three-star Jaccorei Turner is visiting the Jan. 17-19 weekend. He was offered by the Hogs this past Monday. Arkansas is still involved with West Memphis three-star Kendarrius Moore though scholarship numbers are getting very tight at linebacker now. This projection is based on Stewart being a linebacker. Projection: 4-5
Defensive Back — Arkansas signed Broken Arrow (Okla.) four-star Myles Slusher early. They have also since gained a commitment from New Orleans (La.) Brother Martin three-star Nick Turner. They will have Suffield (Conn.) Academy three-star Khari Johnson and Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside three-star Rashad Battle on campus Jan. 17-19. Then on Jan. 24-26 Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College four-star Art Green will visit. He was coached at Hutchinson by Rion Rhoades, Arkansas’ new linebacker coach. Green is also looking hard at Iowa State and Illinois. One of his teammates at Hutchinson, defensive lineman Latrell Bankston inked with Iowa State during the early signing period. Projection: 4-5
Arkansas will likely be adding recruits to the visit list and some will drop off it in coming days and weeks.