By Otis Kirk
Arkansas’ football crop in 2020 has some prospects who have already gained Power 5 offers and several others who could add one in future.
The Razorbacks, for instance, have extended three offers inside the state for 2020. The upcoming combines, spring football and then summer camps will likely see a few more gain an offer.
Here’s a look at what’s inside the state in 2020. Remember there’s usually a sleeper or two in the state who may not appear on this list now, but could really emerge with a strong spring, summer and then fall.
1. Jacolby Criswell, QB, 6-1, 208, Morrilton
A strong-armed dual-threat quarterback. He was injured and missed some games as a junior, but then came back strong to finish out the season. He completed 89 of 157 passes for 1,350 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions. He also rushed 72 times for 392 yards and four touchdowns. He holds offers from Arkansas, Colorado, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Georgia, Oklahoma State, NC State, Memphis, Arkansas State, South Alabama, UCA and Seton Hill.
2. Catrell Wallace, OLB-DE, 6-6, 215, Bryant
Talented defensive player who helped lead his squad to the Class 7A state title. Finished 2018 with 79 tackles, two sacks and three blocked kicks. Holds offers from Arkansas, Arkansas State and Virginia. One to watch for sure. Has size and athleticism to be force in college.
3. Jashaud Stewart, DE, 6-2, 216, Jonesboro
Really Wallace and Stewart are 2A and 2B. They are both about equally talented. As a junior, Stewart had 98 tackles, including 71 unassisted, 26 tackles for loss, seven sacks, 13 quarterback hurries, one interception, three forced fumbles and four recovered ones. He has offers from Arkansas and Arkansas State. He and Wallace could challenge for No. 1 player in this class in future.
4. Blayne Toll, TE-DE, 6-5, 235, Hazen
Plays both ways for Hazen including quarterback on offense. He could be a tight end or defensive end at the next level. Very intelligent kid as well. Holds offers from TCU, Oklahoma State, Louisville, Arkansas State, Texas State, Southern Miss, Memphis and Rutgers.
5. Chris Hightower, WR, 6-2, 185, Little Rock Christian
Was one of Justice Hill’s top targets on their way to a Class 5A state title. Caught 58 passes for 986 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior. Holds offers from Memphis and Kansas. Also standout on hardcourt.
6. Chris Harris, ATH, 5-11, 180, Dumas
Another outstanding athlete. Could play football or basketball in college. Plays quarterback for the Bobcats. In 2018, completed 133 of 208 passes for 1,807 yards, 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Also rushed 191 times for 1,539 yards and 21 touchdowns. Returned seven kickoffs for 116 yards. In spot duty on defense, Harris had 18 tackles and three pass breakups.
10 More to Watch (Listed Alphabetically)
JaJuan Boyd, DB, 6-0, 167, Springdale
Could also play wide receiver in college. More likely to play in the secondary. In 2018, caught seven passes for 66 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, finished with 62 tackles, including 32 unassisted, three interceptions, three pass breakups, three forced fumbles and three recovered fumbles. Also had four kickoff returns for 81 yards and two punt returns for 19 yards.
Donte Buckner, RB, 5-11, 185, White Hall
Had a good showing in San Antonio this week at a national combine. Easily topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark as a junior. Keep an eye on him.
Bryant Burns, TE-DE-OLB, 6-3, 215, Ozark
Not only is Burns talented, but he is very versatile. He could play at several different spots in college. Holds early offers from Henderson State and Ouachita Baptist. As a junior, rushed one time for three yards, caught 27 passes for 637 yards and seven touchdowns on offense. On defense, added 48 tackles, including 32 unassisted, eight tackles for loss, eight sacks, eight quarterback hurries, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles, one recovered fumble and returned one kickoff for two yards.
Kevin Compton, DB, 6-2, 165, Watson Chapel
This kid is outstanding in baseball as well. Has SEC schools and many others looking at him. As a junior, caught 18 passes for 290 yards and six touchdowns. He was 0-1 passing. On defense, Compton had 38 tackles, including 15 solo, 10 interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. Also returned four kickoffs for 67 yards and one punt for three yards.
Connor Flannigan, WR, 5-10, 166, Fayetteville
Very talented wide receiver who will play at the next level. In 2018, caught 112 passes for 1,809 yards and 21 touchdowns. He rushed 15 times for 110 yards and a touchdown. He returned one kickoff for eight yards and six punts for 26 yards. He has attention of Arkansas and others.
John Oliver, RB-FB, 6-2, 248, Helena-West Helena Central
Had a good junior season. Needs to get speed down, but he brings power and punishes tacklers. As a junior, he carried 102 times for 452 yards and eight touchdowns while catching three passes for 39 yards and one touchdown. Has a ways to go, but one to certainly watch. Has great attitude.
Michael Powell, DL, 6-5, 308, Clarksville
This kid will likely play on defense in college, but also is a possibility for offense. Either way, if he has a strong spring and then shows out at camps he could start to see offers roll in at fast clip. As junior, finished with 27 tackles, including 17 unassisted, 11.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, four quarterback hurries, two pass breakups and a blocked field goal.
Erin Smith, OL, 6-5, 285, North Little Rock
This kid is certainly someone to watch. Plays for one of the best programs in the state. Tulane has offered, but it won’t be his last offer. Has very good academics as well. Took unofficial to Arkansas last season.
Brandon Thomas, RB, 5-11, 194, North Little Rock
Ran behind Smith and his other blockers to gain 1,805 yards and 14 touchdowns despite sharing rushing load with others. Keep an eye on Thomas.
Derriun Thompson, DB, 6-1, 170, Prescott
This kid is probably bigger than his size listed on the Prescott online roster. Definitely one to keep an eye on since his recruiting could really blowup soon. On offense in 2018, Thompson rushed 119 times for 963 yards and 15 touchdowns while catching 13 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown. On defense, added 53 tackles, 24 unassisted, three interceptions and four pass breakups.
Others With Known Offers
Cannon Turner, QB, 6-0, 195, Arkadephia — Offers to Harding and Ouachita Baptist. Helped lead Badgers to state title again in 2018.
Travarus Shead, S, 6-1, 200, Drew Central — Arkansas-Monticello and Lyon College. As junior, 0-3 passing, rushed 64 times for 416 yards and four touchdowns, caught 21 passes for 565 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, finished with 28 tackles, 18 unassisted, one pass breakup, two forced fumbles and returned five kickoffs for 101 yards.
Jason Lambel, OL, 6-5, 315, Malvern — Offered by Texas State.