By Otis Kirk
Arkansas is now at 23 public commitments with the latest being Mansfield (Texas) Legacy defensive lineman Taurean Carter.
Carter had known for awhile where he was going, but chose the Oct. 24 date to announce it. He is the second player from his school to choose the Hogs.
Now, Arkansas coach Chad Morris and his staff, who have done an amazing recruiting job, turn their attention to finishing up the class. Despite 23 commitments, the Hogs still have needs.
It has been reported in this space since the North Texas game the Hogs would likely try to add a junior college or grad transfer at quarterback. While there were reports of Arkansas interested in a particular junior college quarterback this week there doesn’t seem to be any legs to that.
Former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant was at Arkansas last weekend for an official visit and he is the priority. Bryant would have one year at Arkansas and would allow Sardis (Miss.) North Panola quarterback KJ Jefferson to learn from him for a season.
Bryant said Sunday he hasn’t even heard from Oregon. Many have speculated he would end up at Oregon, but Bryant said he has been to North Carolina and Arkansas while Missouri is his next stop this weekend. He said he has nothing set up at this time beyond that.
But beyond Bryant, what else are the Hogs looking at getting to close the class? One big need remains offensive linemen, particularly tackles. That is where one can enter an impressive group of junior college offensive tackles.
The Hogs are on Iowa Central Community College’s Myron Cunningham, 6-6, 300. He will visit the Dec. 7-9. Just in the past three days Cunningham has been offered by Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi State, Missouri and Arizona. That’s in addition to all his previous ones. He had a birthday on Oct. 22 and the Hogs didn’t pass up the opportunity to greet him.
— Myron Cunningham (@CunninghamMyron) October 22, 2018
Another key offensive tackle prospect is Lackawanna (Pa,) Community College’s Chibueze Nwanna, 6-8, 320. He will visit along with Cunningham the same weekend. Both are midterm and would be impact commitments if the Hogs could land them. Nwanna is from Maryland and the Terrapins have made him a priority. Louisville would also love to land him.
There’s turmoil around the Maryland program and Louisville is struggling this season. While the Hogs have also struggled, Morris, Dustin Fry and the staff have sold the idea of what they are building to both Cunningham and Nwanna.
A couple of high school offensive linemen to watch are Camden Fairview’s Stacey Wilkins, 6-7, 290, and Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab’s Dylan Ratchke, 6-5, 290. Wilkins is committed to Oklahoma, but is slated to visit Arkansas for the LSU game at this time. Ratchke doesn’t hold an offer to Arkansas, but that could change after Saturday’s unofficial visit for the Vanderbilt game. Kentucky, Colorado State and others are involved with him.
Arkansas only has one linebacker committed in this class. They need at least two. Fullerton (Calif.) College’s Caleb Johnson, 6-1, 215, was on campus for an official visit this past weekend. He was once committed to Iowa State, but he also loves Texas. Oregon and Nebraska continue trying to land him as well.
If Johnson opts for elsewhere, it’s possible that Dyersburg (Tenn.) High School’s Chris Russell, 6-2, 220, could move up on the pecking order. He’s currently committed to Memphis, but the Hogs had him in for an unofficial visit to the Alabama game.
In the secondary, Arkansas remains in the hunt for some impressive talent. New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr cornerback Devin Bush, 6-0, 180, will take an official visit to Arkansas for the LSU game. Don’t be surprised if an announcement on his college choice soon follows that visit.
Arkansas is also on a third prospect at Mansfield Legacy. Safety Jalen Catalon, 5-9, 180, has been a priority for the Hogs since they were hired. Mark Smith leads the recruiting charge for him. He visited with Carter and Enoch Jackson for the Alabama game. He’s also looking at Texas, Oklahoma and TCU.
A pair of cornerbacks committed to other SEC schools remain on Arkansas’ list of possibilities. They are Houston (Texas) Madison’s Bobby Wolfe, 6-1, 180, and Harvey (La.) West Jefferson’s Gregory Brooks Jr., 5-10, 178. Wolfe is pledged to Texas A&M while Brooks to Mississippi State. Wolfe has already officially visited Arkansas and Brooks is expected for the LSU game.