Arkansas taking no breaks recruiting with focus shifted to next class

Welcome to SEC Country’s  daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook . In this edition, we discuss shifting focus to the 2019 class, a new running back offer and wide receiver scholarship numbers.

Arkansas using spring as vital recruiting time for 2019

Arkansas put the finishing touches on its 2018 recruiting class last week and has wasted no time making future classes the center of attention.

The Hogs hosted a prospect day on campus Sunday, extending offers to two 2019 recruits in attendance. Arkansas coach Chad Morris estimates the Razorbacks will have “ seven or eight” total days this spring similar to Sunday with a focus on bringing recruits to campus. 

The most vital such date is likely to come Feb. 24 when the Hogs are set to host a junior day. A big-time list of 2019 targets is expected to be on campus that weekend. So, while the Hogs may not have a 2019 commit just yet, the coaching staff believes it is in great shape to potentially add some in the near future.

“I love where we’re at with ’19s,” Morris said. “We have a lot of offers out. We have a lot of momentum right now. It gives us a chance to build some relationships. By no means, we’re not behind at all.”

As of now, the projection is for Arkansas to sign 20 to 22 players in the 2019 class. That number could obviously increase because of attrition between now and then.

Arkansas offers Memphis RB Eric Gray

In addition to offering in-state defensive end Zach Williams, Arkansas offered a scholarship to 2019 running back Eric Gray during his visit to campus Sunday.

Gray (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) attends Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis, Tenn. He is a 4-star prospect according to the 247Sports composite. His offer list includes LSU, Michigan, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M and several other Power 5 schools.

As a junior, Gray rushed for 3,151 yards and 45 touchdowns while leading Lausanne to a second consecutive state title and undefeated season. He received a Tennessee Mr. Football Award as one of the state’s best players. It was his second straight year earning that honor. Arkansas running back Chase Hayden was the other finalist for the Mr. Football honor Gray won in 2016. Hayden attended St. George’s Independent School in Collierville, a Memphis suburb.

Gray was reportedly set for a transfer to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., for his senior season. But those plans changed just two weeks after his transfer intentions were made public. As of now, the plan is for him to stay at Lausanne.

Additional blueshirt further limits 2018 recruiting efforts, alters 2019 WR numbers

It wasn’t a surprise to see offensive lineman Ty Clary and outside linebacker Hayden Henry placed on scholarship last December. That was the agreement made with both players as blueshirts in the 2017 class — play your first semester as a walk-on, then be placed on scholarship.

However, it was a surprise when Morris recently told reporters that wide receiver Gary Cross apparently had the same agreement with the previous staff. Cross, a junior college transfer in the 2017 class, was also put on scholarship just prior to Morris’ hiring. Former coach Bret Bielema had mentioned Clary and Henry as blueshirts on several occasions over the past year but had never divulged Cross.

It’s now more clear why Morris indicated shortly after his hiring that there were some unforeseen restrictions on scholarships for the 2018 class. Arkansas signed 17 players in the group.

It also means the Hogs will have three seniors and 12 total wide receivers on scholarship next season. That’s assuming Maleek Barkley remains at running back, where he’s been moved for at least this spring. If Barkley stays at running back, the Hogs would likely be in line to sign two wide receivers in the 2019 class. Morris prefers to have 10 or 11 on scholarship.

Here’s the list of wide receivers on scholarship in order by their class:

  • Jared Cornelius, Sr.
  • Gary Cross, Sr.
  • Jonathan Nance, Sr.
  • Brandon Martin, Jr.
  • La’Michael Pettway, Jr.
  • Deon Stewart, Jr.
  • Jarrod Barnes, So.
  • Kofi Boateng, So.
  • Jordan Jones, So.
  • De’Vion Warren, So.
  • Koilan Jackson, R-Fr.
  • Michael Woods, Fr.

Miss a previous edition? Find every SEC Country daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook  right here.

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