More than a decade after being left at the altar, Arkansas football is once again a major contender for a five-star prospect from southwest Missouri.
The Razorbacks hosted offensive lineman Jackson Cantwell, a top-10 overall recruit in the Class of 2026, on an unofficial visit last weekend for the BYU game.
Ranked No. 3 nationally by Rivals and No. 6 by 247Sports, he is listed at 6-foot-8, 300 pounds and hails from Nixa, Mo. That is just south of Springfield, where wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, the No. 1 recruit in the 2012 class, was once considered an Arkansas lean before picking Missouri instead.
Despite being just a sophomore, Cantwell already has a slew of offers. In addition to the Razorbacks, schools like Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Miami (Fla.), Oklahoma, Penn State and many others have already extended offers.
It’s easy to see why. Not only is he massive, but he has excellent bloodlines as the son of two former Olympians. His father, Christian, is a Mizzou grad who won a silver medal in the shot put at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, while his mother, Teri, was a two-time national champion in the shot put at SMU before competing in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Cantwell is a world record holder (for the 12- and 13-year-old age groups) in the shot put himself and is also very smart, having scored a 33 on the ACT before his freshman year of high school.
He appears to be the total package and would be an excellent addition to a 2026 recruiting class that already features defensive back Tay Lockett and offensive lineman Bear McWhorter. Those two commitments, which happened a few days apart last month, caught Cantwell’s attention.
McWhorter, who also made the trip to Fayetteville for the BYU game, has openly discussed his plans to persuade Cantwell to join him at Arkansas.
The Razorbacks hosted a pair of in-state 2026 recruits from Greenwood — quarterback Kane Archer and offensive lineman Cody Taylor, both of whom have multiple Power Five offers — on Saturday, as well.
Arkansas Basketball Also Hosts 2026 Recruits
Eric Musselman also used the big football weekend to his advantage, welcoming in several recruits for unofficial visits.
Included among them were Maumelle guard Jacob Lanier and Rogers guard Aidan Chronister, both of whom are in-state prospects and ranked among the top 30 players in the 2026 class by various outlets.
Arkansas also hosted LaDaryl Robinson Jr., another 2026 in-state prospect from Marion who has recently picked up offers from Arkansas State and Drake.
Of course, the headliner of the weekend may have been BJ Davis-Ray, as he’s a year ahead of them — in the 2025 class — and is a top-50 recruit from Duncanville, Texas. That is the same school that produced Anthony Black and Ron Holland.
Ole Miss Nabs In-State Prospect
The small town of Ashdown has been good to the Razorbacks in recent years, producing a trio of four-star signees: defensive backs Montaric Brown and LaDarrius Bishop, and tight end Shamar Easter.
Those prospects came through the school in the 2017, 2018 and 2023 classes. Ashdown’s next big recruit is Darnell Williams, a four-star athlete in the Class of 2025.
However, Arkansas has yet to extend an offer to him. If the Razorbacks eventually decide to throw their hat into the ring, they’ll have to flip him from an SEC rival because Williams committed to Ole Miss on Sunday, a day after watching the Rebels beat Georgia Tech in Oxford.
Other Arkansas Football Recruit Highlights
Pine Bluff didn’t have to throw it much in its 35-6 win over Vilonia, but Arkansas wide receiver commit Courtney Crutchfield still caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. The score came on this sweet one-handed catch:
All three of Arkansas running back commit Braylen Russell’s touchdowns Friday night came in the second half of Benton’s wild 49-42 win over Little Rock Catholic. He finished with 146 yards on 30 carries. His last touchdown came with 3:30 remaining and proved to be the game-winner, snapping the Rockets’ 12-game regular-season winning streak.
He’s known more for sacking the quarterback, but Arkansas defensive end commit Charleston Collins also displayed his athleticism on special teams during Little Rock Mills’ 35-0 win over Watson Chapel:
In a 43-42 loss at Harmony Grove, 2025 quarterback commit Grayson Wilson completed 14 of 19 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns, plus added another score on the ground.
Here are some clips of 2025 safety commit Marcus Wimberly in Bauxite’s 34-33 win over Lamar:
Check out some highlights of Arkansas football target Jackson Cantwell’s first four games of his sophomore season:
More coverage of Arkansas football and Arkansas recruiting from BoAS…