Baseball is over and the next Arkansas football season is right around the corner.
It is still the summer, though, so recruiting is at the forefront for Sam Pittman and the Razorbacks right now. After last weekend’s surprise commitment, the 2023 class has been put to bed, but things are starting to heat up for 2024 – and even 2025 – prospects.
Currently, the 2024 Arkansas recruiting class has 10 commits and ranks 17th nationally in the 247Sports Composite, but Pittman and company are hungry to add more names to that ledger and furthered those efforts with seven official visitors this past weekend.
Among them was defensive lineman Kendall Jackson, a four-star recruit, according to On3. He made the trip from his hometown of Gainesville, Fla., after using his first official visit to the Gators. That might seem to make him a longshot to choose Arkansas, but he downplayed the significance of an SEC school being in his backyard.
“I want to go to a college that will develop me the right way to get to my next goal,” Jackson said. “I want to be (in the) Hall of Fame. I have that goal and aspirations, so I want a program that’s going to help me get close to that goal.”
Two recruits who had much shorter trips to Fayetteville were defensive back Ahkhari Johnson and running back Nate Palmer, both of whom are from Texas.
Johnson, a high three-star recruit at Pleasant Grove High in Texarkana, said the Razorbacks are recruiting him as a cornerback and made him feel like a priority. He has visits to TCU and Stanford coming up, but hopes to make a final decision before his senior season.
It was such a successful visit, though, that Johnson said Arkansas was “at the top, for sure.” It probably doesn’t hurt that one of his former high school teammates, defensive end Landon Jackson, is already with the Razorbacks.
“Played with him my freshman year,” Johnson said. “Just having somebody here that I already know is just another level of comfort.”
As for Palmer, a four-star prospect at Decatur High, he said he was thoroughly impressed by the success of Arkansas’ running backs – particularly in the Liberty Bowl after Rocket Sanders went down with an injury.
Having already been to TCU, he previously said he would visit North Carolina, USC and Duke. After time in Fayetteville, though, Palmer stated he may only make one more visit. It sounds like Arkansas made a positive impression.
“Coach Pittman is really welcoming and it’s nice to see a head coach you can actually have a conversation with and you don’t have to be scared to talk to and you can talk to him about anything,” Palmer said. “The same for coach Jimmy Smith, the running backs coach, we had a great conversation. We talk basically every other day.”
Talented In-State QBs Camp at Arkansas
In addition to the official visitors, Arkansas also hosted numerous other prospects – from the next several classes – for the first of its summer camps.
Included among them were a pair of the best in-state quarterbacks in the next two classes: 2025 commit Grayson Wilson from Central Arkansas Christian and 2026 target Kane Archer from Greenwood.
Wilson, who chose Sam Pittman and Dan Enos over Bret Bielema and Barry Lunney Jr. at Illinois back in April, used the time to get in some work with Enos, the Razorbacks’ new offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.
Great Arkansas Camp! Love being home on the Hill! 🐗🐗@CoachDanEnos @CoachSamPittman @Willkennedy1010 @DKief10 @RRainwater1037 @ArRecruitingGuy @DannyWest247 @k_sutherlandAR @OtisKirk23 @tctabler @Wess_Moore @sully7777 pic.twitter.com/TKYzXDSVmV— Grayson Wilson (@graysonrwilson) June 12, 2023
“It’s great to be back up here getting some coaching experience from my future college QB coach,” Wilson said. “He’s very specific and fundamental. I really like that he takes time to work with everyone. If you are doing something wrong he will come correct you. He won’t let you just mess up.”
Despite just being a rising sophomore and not being a full-time varsity starter, Archer is already a well-known national prospect because of the early attention he received on the recruiting trail.
Schools like Arkansas, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas A&M and several other Power Five programs have already extended offers.
Brown Enjoys Official Visit One County South
Bentonville wide receiver CJ Brown, a 3-star prospect in the 2024 class, took an official visit to Arkansas the first weekend of June and was blown away at how smoothly everything ran.
He acknowledged that getting treated to Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Rogers was a highlight.
“Ate dinner and had a really good conversation with Coach Pittman and Coach Guiton,” Brown said. “I got a nice seafood platter like crab, lobster and all that stuff. We ordered some cheesecake and some mac and cheese. Whatever we wanted. Then we came back and talked to some of the players.”
Brown said how well he fits into the team’s system will determine his collegiate decision.
“Whether I can play early and how much I like the position coach, the coordinator and head coach because I’m going to be around them basically my entire time,” Brown said. “So those will be the two big things that will play a part.”
Arkansas is up there because it’s been home for 13 years since Brown, who was born in Cleveland, moved to Bentonville from Minnesota in first grade.
“They have an advantage on everybody because it’s where I’ve lived most of my life,” Brown said. “But other schools are fighting hard because they know Arkansas has an advantage. They’re going to do everything they can to get me.”
Some of those schools include Kansas State, Minnesota, Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt. Louisville, Purdue and Tennessee are also hot on his heels.
Bentonville’s proximity to campus definitely has his family in the Razorbacks’ corner.
“That short drive means they can be at almost every game and away games I can buy them a ticket,” Brown said.
Arkansas Cracks Top 10 for Recent IMG Transfer
A lot has transpired since our exclusive interview with four-star defensive end TJ Lindsey just a little over a month ago.
Lindsey has since decided to move on from Bryant, as well, as the 2024 prospect is now going to attend IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. – where Hjalte Froholdt played his senior year of high school before signing with the Razorbacks in 2015.
He’s also released a top 10.
Arkansas is included along with SEC brethren Auburn, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas A&M, plus future SEC foe Texas.
“Whatever school I choose, it will be if it’s everything I feel I need or want in a school,” Lindsey previously told Best of Arkansas Sports. “I am looking for a school that has a great game-day atmosphere, makes me feel at home, and can develop me for the next level.”
Natural State Flavor at Nike Elite 100 Camp
In basketball, three players from Arkansas were announced on Thursday for the Nike Elite 100 camp that was being held at the Simon Recreation Center on the campus of Saint Louis University.
Kellen Robinson (little brother of KK) of Little Rock Episcopal, Isaiah Sealy of Springdale and Jashawn Andrews (son of former Arkansas OL Shawn Andrews) of Little Rock Christian were selected.
Check out our recent feature on Sealy, in which he gives an update on his recruitment and discusses what he has overcome to reach this point.
As a bonus, here’s an update on another top in-state prospect, Annor Boateng out of Little Rock Central:
2024 Hog target & Nat’l Top 10 / 5-star K. Annor Boateng @annor2024 (6-5 wing, LRCentral, 17U Arkansas Hawks) helped USA Select to the championship game @ Adidas Euro Camp in Italy on Sunday, & he was named to the all tournament team …— Kevin McPherson (@ARHoopScoop) June 11, 2023
(@ARHoopScoop sponsor Parkway Automotive) pic.twitter.com/USED3vYdCB
Baseball Signees Earn Prestigious Honors
Dave Van Horn doesn’t ever have to rebuild, he just reloads his arsenal with new talent and two of his signees were recently named Gatorade Player of the Year in their respective states.
Walker Martin (Colorado) and Dylan Questad (Wisconsin) earned the recognition.
Martin, a 6-foot-3 shortstop, batted .636 with 20 home runs and 74 RBIs. His team went 28-0 and made the 3A state championship. He was also the 3A state player of the year as a quarterback in 2022.
He is currently 28th on MLB Pipeline’s list of the top 200 prospects for this summer’s MLB Draft.
Questad is a 6-foot-1 right-handed pitcher who didn’t allow an earned run while leading his team to the Division I regional championship game. He struck out 69 batters in 33 2/3 innings and also batted .383 as an outfielder when he wasn’t on the mound.
He is the No. 42 overall recruit in the 2023 class, according to Perfect Game.
More coverage of Arkansas recruiting and Arkansas football from BoAS…