Top 3 Can’t Miss Prospects at UA Junior Day, New In-State Offers + More Arkansas Recruiting Nuggets

Troy Pless, Anthony Kennedy Jr., Arkansas football, Arkansas recruiting

Arkansas will host its second Junior Day of the offseason this weekend, giving recruits from around the country an opportunity to get in front of coaches and vice versa.

Quite a few players have announced they’re attending Saturday’s event, but here are the top three names to know…

1. Troy Pless — OL — 2026 — Killeen (Texas) Shoemaker

The Razorbacks didn’t offer Troy Pless until this past Sunday, but he has been on offensive line coach Eric Mateos’ radar for quite some time. In fact, he was offered by Baylor last summer while Mateos was still with the Bears. Texas Tech was actually his first major offer and more are likely to follow for the 6-foot-6, 275-pound sophomore, especially after a strong showing at the 2024 National Combine earlier this month.

2. Tay Lockett — DB — 2026 — Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco

This is a name Arkansas football fans should recognize because he committed to the Razorbacks back in August. However, since then, he’s picked up offers from Florida and Mississippi State. Lockett is coming off a season in which he made another five interceptions and earned All-America accolades from MaxPreps, so other suitors will likely emerge. That’s why it’s a good sign he’s making the long trip to Fayetteville for Junior Day — although it’s worth noting that he’s about as solid of a commitment as you can be considering his family ties to the state and his public support of the Razorbacks.

3. Tristan Norman — ATH — 2025 — Montgomery (Ala.) Carver

Alabama has turned into a recruiting hotbed for the Razorbacks, so it’s not particularly surprising someone from that state is among Saturday’s visitors. Tristan Norman is a bit of an under-the-radar prospect right now, but he does have offers from Cincinnati, Vanderbilt and a handful of Group of Five programs. Listed as an athlete, he’s likely viewed as a receiver by the Razorbacks because he tagged new wide receivers coach Ronnie Fouch in his tweet announcing the visit:

Other Arkansas Football Junior Day Visitors

Among the other players to announce they are attending Saturday’s Junior Day are two Class of 2025 commitments — quarterback Grayson Wilson and kicker Evan Noel.

The list also includes several in-state players, the most notable of which may be Prescott athlete Dwayne White. He’s a Class of 2025 prospect who already has offers from Arkansas State and Colorado State.

A trio of Benton players — 2025 linebacker Walter Hicks, 2025 tight end Bronson Coolis and 2026 quarterback Drew Davis — are coming to Fayetteville, as well as Greenwood athlete Jadyn Johnson.

Another in-state player who’s said he’ll attend actually isn’t an underclassman. Mabry Verser is a 2024 prospect who has played safety, wide receiver and tight end at Rogers. He has offers from UCA and several in-state DII programs, so he may be a preferred walk-on candidate for the Razorbacks.

Upcoming Junior Day Visitor

The Razorbacks’ third and final Junior Day is next Saturday, Jan. 27. One notable visitor that weekend is Grant Smith, a 2026 quarterback from Texas.

Playing at Grand Oaks High School, a Class 6A program in Spring, Texas, he split time at quarterback as a freshman and took over as the starter this past season as a sophomore.

What makes him an intriguing prospect to watch next weekend is the fact that he received his first offer from Texas A&M when Bobby Petrino was the Aggies’ offensive coordinator. That came last March.

Smith had an opportunity to work directly with Petrino at a camp in College Station last summer and Petrino must have really liked what he saw because about a week after getting hired at Arkansas, he offered Smith again. His other offers include Baylor and TCU, as he’s also worked with and impressed former offensive coordinator Kendal Briles.

Signing day for 2026 is still a ways off, but it’ll be interesting to see which direction the Razorbacks go at quarterback in that class because it also includes Greenwood phenom Kane Archer.

In the past few days, Arkansas and Petrino have offered at least five other quarterbacks in the 2026 class, as well. That list includes the No. 1 quarterback in the class, Jared Curtis out of Nashville Christian School in Tennessee. He did announce a Top 6 in late December that excluded Arkansas, but it did include Texas A&M. Given he had previously announced a top 10 that included the Aggies in September, it’s safe to assume former Aggies OC Bobby Petrino has inroads there. That may still pay off in the future in case things change.

Arkansas has also offered a couple of California products — Luke Fahey from Mission Viejo and Derek Garcia from Ventura.

The other quarterback offers went to Legend Bey from Horn High School in Mesquite, Texas, and Jackson Presley from Glazier High School in Kalispell, Mont.

Head Hog Visits No. 2 Recruit

All of the Arkansas football coaches have hit the road recruiting this month and that includes head coach Sam Pittman. One of his stops on Wednesday was Nixa, Mo.

That’s just a couple hours away from Fayetteville, but significant because that’s the home of Jackson Cantwell, a 6-foot-8, 300-pound offensive lineman ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect in the 2026 class by Rivals.

The Razorbacks aren’t usually a major player for recruits of Cantwell’s caliber, but he seems genuinely interested in Arkansas. He made two trips to Fayetteville last year, so it makes sense that Pittman returned the favor.

Of course, there’s quite a bit of competition for the prep standout. Cantwell’s latest offer came from USC, which joins a list that already includes Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma and many others.

In-State Offers from Arkansas Football

Over the past week, the Razorbacks have offered a pair of younger in-state players being pursued by multiple other SEC programs.

The first of those was Anthony Kennedy Jr., a 6-foot-6, 265-pound defensive end at Little Rock Southwest. He was offered on Saturday after being offered by Georgia and Auburn earlier this month. His first offer was from Missouri last May.

Danny Beale, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman out of Cross County High School, also received his first offer from an SEC school last summer, with Mississippi State extending one in June. That was followed by Ole Miss in September and Auburn earlier this month before Arkansas pulled the trigger on Thursday.

It’s unclear to which side of the ball he projects in college, as he tagged both offensive line coach Eric Mateos and defensive line coach Deke Adams in his offer tweet. Both of those players are in the 2026 class.

As far as in-state players go, one to keep an eye on in the 2025 class is Marcus Wimberly.

The safety from Bauxite was originally committed to the Razorbacks, but backed off his pledge following a visit to Michigan for the Ohio State game. The Wolverines are a trendy pick for him, but he has since added offers from Tennessee and Oklahoma.

Other Recent Arkansas Football Offers

Here’s a list of several other prospects who’ve received Arkansas football offers in the past few days… 

  • Phillip Bell III — WR — 2025 — Mission Viejo (Calif.)
  • Kash Courtney — OL — 2025 — Carthage (Texas)
  • Deion DeBlanc — WR — 2025 — Houston (Texas) North Shore
  • Tavaris Dice — OL — 2025 — Fairburn (Ga.) Langston Hughes
  • Markel Ford — S — 2026 — Mesquite (Texas) Horn
  • Leo Hannan — QB — 2025 — Anaheim (Calif.) Servite
  • Chase Loftin — TE — 2025 — Omaha (Neb.) Elkhorn North
  • Jaylon Parnell — ATH — 2025 — Pascagoula (Miss.)
  • Cooper Perry — WR — 2025 — Scottsdale (Ariz.) Notre Dame Prep
  • Ke’Rynn Smith — RB — 2026 — New Orleans (La.) Holy Cross
  • Tylan Wilson — S — 2026 — Pascagoula (Miss.)

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