Alabama Looks to Be Both Bane and Boon for Hogs Given Jockeying Before National Signing Day

J'Marion Burnette, Jadan Baugh, Arkansas football, Arkansas recruiting, Alabama, National Signing Day

On the eve of the Early Signing Period, the 2024 Arkansas recruiting class is hemorrhaging.

What was once shaping up to be one of the stronger classes in recent memory has lost a quartet of four-star recruits since August, including three in the past month and a half.

The latest was running back Jadan Baugh, who backed off his pledge Monday night. It wasn’t a particularly surprising move, as the Columbia High product had wandering eyes the last several weeks. In fact, he has taken official visits to both Florida and Alabama recently.

Legendary coach Nick Saban even did an in-home visit with the Georgia native and the Crimson Tide have now “moved to the top of the list,” according to On3’s Chad Simmons.

(UPDATE: Jadan Baugh ended up picking Florida over Alabama.)

It’s certainly a tough blow to the Razorbacks, but they do still have Benton four-star running back Braylen Russell on board — albeit after a de-commitment and re-commitment.

Arkansas was still trying to keep Baugh, though, as evidenced by head coach Sam Pittman and running backs coach Jimmy Smith doing an in-home visit with him a week earlier.

That said, Pittman and Smith seemed to know it was a possibility because they were still pursuing running backs in the transfer portal, but they’ve come up empty on that front so far.

A pair of Arkansas natives are transferring into the SEC — North Little Rock product Oscar Adaway (North Texas to South Carolina) and Little Rock Central alum Samuel Franklin (UT-Martin to future SEC member Oklahoma) — and the Razorbacks offered Jaquez Moore, who has withdrawn from the portal to remain at Duke.

Luckily for them, they still have a solid 1-2 punch in junior Rashod Dubinion and sophomore Isaiah Augustave, plus Dominique Johnson will be a fifth-year senior.

4-Star RB Planning to Visit

On top of those players and Braylen Russell, the Razorbacks are also trying to replace Baugh with another top running back in the 2024 class.

Former Auburn commit J’Marion Burnette, a four-star prospect from Andalusia, Ala., is set to take an official visit to Fayetteville next month, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

He backed off his pledge to the Tigers in November after being committed for more than seven months and also has offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan and several other Power Five programs.

The Razorbacks are getting an assist with Burnette from defensive end commit Kavion Henderson, who has led the charge with other prospects in Alabama since becoming one of the first players in Arkansas’ 2024 class.

Other De-Commitments from Arkansas Football

Here’s a quick rundown of the other players who have de-committed from Arkansas in the 2024 class…

  • ATH Noreel White: It had long been rumored that Noreel White would flip to Ole Miss and it finally happened in August. He was committed to Arkansas as a defensive back, but pledged to the Rebels as a wide receiver. However, he re-opened his recruitment on Sunday.
  • WR Courtney Crutchfield: A four-star and top-100 recruit from Pine Bluff, Courtney Crutchfield backed off his pledge moments before the Florida game. Bobby Petrino made a push for him, but it was too late. He committed to Missouri over Arkansas, Auburn and LSU on Tuesday, prompting an epic dig from Eli Drinkwitz.
  • OL Kai Greer: The Razorbacks flipped Kai Greer from Stanford in August, but he de-committed following the news of Cody Kennedy leaving for Mississippi State. He ended up committing to another school known for academics – Georgia Tech.
  • TE Greg Genross: Arkansas landed Greg Genross shortly after he visited late in the season, but less than two weeks later, he de-committed. Since then, he’s announced an offer from Colorado, but no plans regarding a new decision.

Another Commit on Flip Watch

Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, they might not be done losing commitments in their 2024 class.

Four-star wide receiver Ashton Bethel-Roman visited Texas A&M over the weekend, according to his Instagram, and also visited Missouri late in the season.

Playing at Ridge Point High School in Missouri City, Texas, he is ranked as high as No. 114 nationally by 247Sports and is one of the Razorbacks’ top remaining commits.

Losing him would probably be more damaging than Baugh simply because it’d leave Arkansas with only one wide receiver in the 2024 class – three-star CJ Brown from Bentonville.

At one point, it looked like the Razorbacks would bring in Bethel-Roman and Courtney Crutchfield, both of whom are among the top 25 wide receivers in the country.

If Bethel-Roman flips, then neither of them would come to Arkansas after Crutchfield’s committment to Missouri on Tuesday.

Arkansas vs Clemson for 4-Star LB

There aren’t many uncommitted high school targets still available for Arkansas, but one such player is linebacker Bradley Shaw.

A teammate of three-star defensive back commit Jeremy Cook at Hoover High in Alabama, Shaw is ranked as high as No. 101 nationally by 247Sports.

He officially visited Arkansas over the summer, but was seen as a longshot because of how many other big-time schools were also recruiting him. His offer list includes the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame, Georgia, USC and others.

However, with the early signing period just one day away, it’s believed to be a two-team race for Shaw. He told 247Sports that his top options are Arkansas and Clemson.

Landing Shaw would be a huge recruiting win for the Razorbacks, who already have a pair of four-star linebackers committed in Julius Pope from Mississippi and Justin Logan from Georgia, plus an in-state high three-star linebacker in Wyatt Simmons out of Harding Academy.

It’s a major position of need considering the losses Arkansas is experiencing, with Antonio Grier out of eligibility and Chris Paul Jr. and Jordan Crook entering the transfer portal.

JUCO Efforts Coming Up Empty

After signing just one junior college player in his first four recruiting classes at Arkansas, Sam Pittman has seemingly prioritized that area in the 2024 class. Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, those efforts have largely come up empty.

As mentioned above, first-team NJCAA All-America tight end Greg Genross out of Dodge City C.C. was committed, but that lasted less than two weeks before he re-opened his recruitment.

Arkansas has also hosted several other JUCO prospects that it felt good about landing, but almost all of them are headed elsewhere.

The Razorbacks tried to flip high three-star safety Tyler Woodard out of East Mississippi C.C. and four-star cornerback Cedrick Beavers out of Jones C.C., but they’ve announced that they are sticking with Mississippi State and Ole Miss, respectively.

They also went after three-star offensive lineman Jaekwon Bouldin from Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. and four-star defensive end Kemari Copeland from Iowa Western C.C., but they have since committed to Purdue and Virginia Tech, respectively.

East Mississippi C.C. cornerback Brylan Lanier, who has spent time at Alabama and Indiana, was originally only going to visit Arkansas and North Carolina State, as he told Hogville’s Otis Kirk, but he ended up taking an official visit to Georgia this past weekend. He’s still uncommitted as of Tuesday.

(UPDATE: Brylan Lanier says he’ll sign next week.)

Another player still on the board is Independence C.C. wide receiver Tobias Burrell, who was actually a high school teammate of Lanier. He joined Lanier on his visit to Georgia over the weekend, as well.

2025 QB Commit Earns Army Nod

Finally, some good news: Central Arkansas Christian quarterback Grayson Wilson, who’s committed to the Razorbacks in the 2025 class, has been selected to play in the U.S. Army Bowl next year.

Despite being just a three-star prospect, he is coming off a huge junior season in which he showed considerable improvement from his sophomore campaign.

Wilson completed 67.9% of his passes for 3,413 yards, 41 touchdowns and only two interceptions, plus added another 837 yards and 15 scores on the ground while leading the Mustangs to a 10-3 record and conference title.


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