Memphis Recruit Chooses Hogs over 5 SEC Programs, Bolsters Historically Shallow Position

Dion Stutts, Arkansas football, Arkansas recruiting
photo credit: Twitter / Arkansas Athletics

It had been nearly four months since the Arkansas football team last landed a recruit, but that drought ended Saturday afternoon with the commitment of Dion Stutts.

A high three-star defensive lineman in the Class of 2024 on most outlets, he lives in Batesville, Miss., but goes to Memphis University School in Tennessee and announced his pledge via Twitter.

The decision comes on the heels of a second unofficial visit to Fayetteville this year, as Stutts was also on campus for Junior Day on Jan. 28. His most recent trip allowed him to sit in on meetings and watch practice because Arkansas has already begun spring ball.

“I would say it wasn’t too hard a decision,” Stutts said. “When I came up here in January for my first visit, I knew that I wanted to call it home. But I wanted to get my family, my brothers up here, to see how they felt about it, see if they liked it. They loved it. The coaches stay in contact with me. They treated me like I was family. They talked to my parents and my brothers, so it was an easy decision.”

The Razorbacks now have two players committed for 2024 and both of them happen to be defensive linemen, as Stutts joins Leeds, Ala., four-star defensive end Kavion Henderson, who announced his choice way back on Nov. 6.

Entering Saturday, which was yet another big Prospect Day on campus, Arkansas was tied with Mississippi State and Missouri among SEC schools for the fewest pledges in the class. The Tigers also picked up a commit Saturday, so now the Razorbacks are tied with them and Kentucky for the second-fewest in the conference.

Recruitment of Dion Stutts

Just two days after Dion Stutts received his first Division I offer, from Austin Peay at the FCS level, Arkansas football threw its name into the ring. That was last May.

In the months leading up to his junior season, several other FBS schools entered the mix, including SEC foes Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and South Carolina.

Stutts took a handful of visits, all to SEC schools, during the season and even got to see the Razorbacks in person when he was in Starkville, Miss., on Oct. 8. It’s a game Arkansas fans would probably like to forget, as the Bulldogs cruised to a 40-17 win, but it apparently didn’t scare him off.

As he picked up more offers from the likes of Missouri, Indiana, Louisville, Stotts made his first trip to Fayetteville at the end of January. It was such a productive visit that he chose to return again this weekend and this time, he didn’t leave without calling the Hogs.

Although he considers himself as a defensive end in his Twitter bio, Stotts is listed at 6-foot-3, 265 pounds and will likely play defensive tackle at Arkansas. That’s how he is classified on Rivals and where the Razorbacks are recruiting him.

“I’m perfectly fine with that,” Stutts said. “If they want to put me at tackle, I’m fine with that. My mindset is to go where they need me to go and do the best I can at that position.”

Regardless whether he ends up playing inside or outside on the defensive line, he has the mindset you want in a lineman, previously telling the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that his favorite thing about playing defensive line “is the opportunity to go out and kill the man holding the ball every single play.”

“I have a great motor,” Stutts said after his commitment. “If I want something, I’m going to get it. They watched my film and they said I’m a very good competitor. I will find ways to get to the ball and I won’t give up until I get it. I have a good mindset. They can coach me and mold me into what they need me to be. They know that I have the motor and mindset to go get it.”

While he is a three-star recruit across the board, Stutts is knocking on the door of four-star status on Rivals and On3, which give him a 5.7 and 89 rating, respectively. He has an .8759 rating in the 247Sports Composite.

Defensive Tackle Recruiting for Arkansas Football

Assuming he sticks on the inside for the Razorbacks, Dion Stutts will be just their fifth high school defensive tackle in five classes under Sam Pittman.

Two of the last four — Andy Boykin and Solomon Wright — have transferred out and one of them still hasn’t arrived on campus, as Ian Geffrard is a 2023 signee who won’t get to Fayetteville until this summer.

The exception is Cameron Ball, who was pretty productive as a redshirt freshman last year and is potentially on the brink of a breakout season.

To make up for the lack of high school recruiting at the position, Arkansas has brought in quite a few transfers. That includes a pair of JUCO signees in Jalen Williams and Taylor Lewis, but neither of them played a single snap for the Razorbacks. Williams transferred after one year in the program, while Lewis left before his first season.

The transfer portal has been vital, as John Ridgeway from Illinois State became an NFL Draft pick and Markell Utsey from Missouri and Terry Hampton from Arkansas State were key contributors.

The constant turnover on Arkansas’ coaching staff has likely played a factor in that, as it has had five different defensive line coaches the past five years, but current defensive line coach Deke Adams recently agreed to an extension that will end that run of change.

Slow Start to 2024 Class

As mentioned above, Arkansas football is near the bottom in the SEC in terms of total commitments for the 2024 class.

That isn’t necessarily uncommon for the Razorbacks, though, because they usually do most of their damage on the recruiting trail over the summer. In fact, in the 2022 and 2023 classes, more than half of their commitments happened between April and July.

July has been the most active month of all, with 11 total commitments in the past two classes, so the biggest part of Arkansas’ 2024 class is still probably a few months away.

However, it is a bit unusual that the Razorbacks have only two at this point. In each of the last two classes, they already had seven commitments by mid-March.

Here’s a look at how Arkansas stacks up with the rest of the SEC through March 11…

  • LSU – 11
  • Georgia – 9
  • Tennessee – 5
  • South Carolina – 5
  • Texas A&M – 4
  • Alabama – 4
  • Florida – 4
  • Vanderbilt – 3
  • Ole Miss – 3
  • Auburn – 3
  • Missouri – 2
  • Kentucky – 2
  • Arkansas – 2
  • Mississippi State – 1

Class of 2024 Arkansas Football Commitments

  • DE Kavion Henderson — Leeds (Ala.) — Nov. 6, 2022
  • DL Dion Stutts — Memphis (Tenn.) University School — March 11, 2023

Check out some highlights of Dion Stutts here:


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