FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas’ Mark Smith has his group of defensive backs preparing for the season opener on Aug. 31, but recruiting is never far from his mind.
Chad Morris has placed a strong emphasis on recruiting since arriving from SMU. Arkansas currently has 14 commitments in the Class of 2020. Smith talked about Arkansas’ remaining needs.
“We’re always looking for fast, but really skill positions, speed, is always like a premium,” Smith said. “But we’re looking really for DBs. There will be probably another three or four DBs that we’ll take commitments from and sign in December or February, but really it’s the skill position spots.”
Arkansas currently has a quarterback, one running back, two wide receivers, a pair of tight ends, an offensive lineman, three defensive ends, a pair of linebackers, one cornerback and an athlete committed.
Smith talked about how Arkansas goes about determining the numbers at each position when they are limited to 25 each year.
“We kind of have a gauge of a number that we keep in mind, but it’s always a moving target,” Smith said. “Things happen on your current team, and sometimes you anticipate it and sometimes you don’t. It’s kind of a moving target. We always set the number high, and that way we’re recruiting enough guys at each spot. Then we kind of see where the numbers fall out, but it’s something that we always want to shoot higher than we need.”
Arkansas’ talented Class of 2019 was heavy on wide receivers and linemen on both sides of the ball. How close is Arkansas to now getting its numbers right at each position?
“I think that this training camp is a good example of that,” Smith said. “We’ve got a full load of guys out there in a 120-man roster, so we’re building the depth that we need, and it’s still a really young team. Still the majority of our team are either true freshmen or redshirt freshmen or redshirt sophomores. The team is still really young, but numbers-wise we’re able to go four groups now out there, so we couldn’t do that a year ago.
“So now we’ve got four groups, you’re developing guys all across the field, which benefits everybody, and that’s just something we weren’t in a position to do a year ago. So hopefully we take another step with that and now we’ve got some depth even in the 4-deep that we have a year from now.”
Arkansas’ Class of 2020
Chandler Morris, QB, Highland Park, Texas
John Gentry, RB, Houston North Shore, Texas
Kelvontay Dixon, ATH, Carthage, Texas
Savion Williams, WR, Marshall, Texas
Mason Mangum, WR, Austin Westlake, Texas
Brandon Frazier, TE, McKinney North, Texas
Allen Horace, TE, Crockett, Texas
Ty’Kieast Crawford, OL, Carthage, Texas
Blayne Toll, DE, Hazen
Jashaud Stewart, DE, Jonesboro
Tyrece Edwards, DE, Knoxville West, Tenn.
Drew Francis, LB, Knoxville West, Tenn.
Martavius French, LB, Memphis Whitehaven, Tenn.
Jamie Vance, CB, New Orleans Edna Karr, La.