With the 2018 Razorback signing class complete, Chad Morris said this to start his press conference on Wednesday.
“It’s a great day to be a Razorback!”
In this class, defense was a priority with 10 signees being on that side of the ball. Especially up front, where the Hogs signed 5 defensive lineman, including the top rated JUCO defensive end Dorian Gerald.
“I thought that, especially getting our defensive staff together and going through the depth of what we had,” Morris said to the media on national signing day. “On January 4th, we all reported back and really kinda dove into that and kinda looking at the personnel that we had. And then going from a 3 down back to a 4 down front and we gotta have a great need for that true rush end, coming off the edge.”
In the early signing period, the Hogs added Ladarrius Bishop to their defensive back room, and this week they added two more in Myles Mason and Joseph Foucha.
“Myles and Joe are two talented guys,” said secondary coach Ron Cooper. “Myles is 100% all safety. He can play strong, he can play free. Joe can do a little bit of everything. Joes’s safety, but Joe can play corner. He can play nickel for us. You know, nickel’s a big position for us. So, he’s got something to him that we’ve had in the past, that I’ve seen in the past, something special. But both of those two are two talented guys.”
At the linebacker position, the Hogs signed third generation Razorback Bumper Pool in the early signing period and then added New Orleans native Andrew Parker.
“This is a young man that’s got an incredible upside,” said Morris. “I believe the sky’s the limit for him. Meets all the intangibles, extremely fast. He’s big, he’s got the height and obviously the explosion to go along with it.”
This week the Hogs added two more offensive lineman, including Jonesboro native Noah Gatlin.
“Just his frame, his size,” said offensive line coach Dustin Fry. “He’s kind of untapped where I really think we can put some really good weight on him and kinda grow him up physically. I’m kinda pumped to see how he comes in and what we can do with him in this offense.”
Despite having five scholarship running backs already on the roster, the Hogs added JUCO transfer running back Rakeem Boyd.
“He’s fast, he’s big, he’s violent,” said offensive coordinator Joe Craddock. “He changes direction well. I mean, he’s just overall what you’re looking for in a running back. In my opinion, he fits our system, he fit our system at SMU, like I said it was a pipe dream to get him there.”
On Wednesday the Hogs also added their second quarterback of the class in Razorback legacy John Stephen Jones.
“He’s a guy that’s been on our radar for quite some time,” said Morris. “(He) was on our radar at SMU and just a winner. I think his stats and his records and his ability to play, speak for itself.”
There’s no question this class is smaller than many would like to see, but Barry Lunney Jr. sees a benefit to the smaller class.
“It made us be able to zero in more finite on exactly what we were needing and who we were targeting.”