Few appreciate a good Razorback-Texas connection like Jerry Jones.
Before the Dallas Cowboys owner built a two-time Super Bowl champion and marketing juggernaut the envy of all other professional teams, he helped lead Arkansas to its only football national championship.
No doubt he’s feeling pretty good these days. The Cowboys are in first place in the NFC East and his Hogs are opening an impressive recruiting pipeline deep into the heart of Texas.
Of the 20 players the Razorbacks signed on Early Signing Period, five* are from the Lone Star State. That’s two more than second-place states Arkansas and Oklahoma.
The result, so far, has been Arkansas’ highest rated class of the SEC era. That got Jerry Jones to hopping into his office and directly addressing the incoming recruits:
“…I’m a proud Razorback alum, fan, parent and grandparent. I could not
be more excited about this class and the future of the Razorback football
program under Chad Morris. Congrats on joining our family.
This is just the beginning.”
“I could not be more excited about this class and the future of Razorback Football.” – Pro Football Hall of Famer and Arkansas alum Jerry Jones pic.twitter.com/83W5upMMiS— Arkansas Razorbacks Football (@RazorbackFB) December 20, 2018
Jerry Jones has known Chad Morris, an east Texas native, for awhile. For one, Morris used to coach in the DFW metro at SMU. The two men also have a family connection.
Many Hog fans already know that Morris coaches Jerry Jones’ grandson: Razorback freshman John Stephen Jones. Fewer know about the tie between another one of Jones’ grandsons, Paxton Anderson, and Morris’ son.
Paxton Anderson and Chandler Morris are high school juniors on the same Highland Park football team. Chandler Morris is a three-star dual threat quarterback, while Anderson’s “dual threatness” mostly comes from playing football and basketball.
Watch Chandler Morris (No. 4) do his thing:
Back-to-back champ Highland Park advances to a third straight semifinal after 21-point 4th quarter comeback.— The Old Coach (@TheOldCoach) December 10, 2018
Highland Park QB @Chandleram4
“I’ll beat you and make you like it.”@HPSCOTSFB 42 John Tyler 35@ibifirimp4? | @NickWaltersTV? pic.twitter.com/Fe4P53kddE
Chandler Morris has traveled with the Jones family a few times to Dallas Cowboys games, Jerry Jones told the Dallas Morning News: “His [Chad Morris’] son has traveled several times with us because I have a grandson that is also a sophomore. And they’ve traveled with us to Cowboy games. So, I’ve gotten to know his son real well. He’s going to be and is a top quarterback.”
From GAs to Janitors, Chad Morris Expects All Hands on Deck When Recruiting
This past fall, Chad Morris flew to Dallas a few times to watch his son play. He also spent time scouting the elite competition Highland Park played. At the time, some Hogs fans criticized Morris for leaving Fayetteville during the football season. Expect that criticism to wane if the talent he brings in starts delivering.
It’s important to remember that Morris is far from a one-man band when it comes recruiting. He has ample help back home when he’s away. Morris relies on his young, energetic staff, with assistant director of football operations Sean Tuohy often taking the lead [read more details in the story below].
Morris doesn’t stop there.
He not only asks for any help he can get from folks around the athletic department, but demands it.
“Every person that walks in this door and works in this building and has an impact on football… they are in charge, they have a recruiting responsibility,” he told sports commentator Bo Mattingly.
“And the moment you do not have a recruiting responsibility, you do not survive in this program. It’s time to move on. And that’s for the people who are cleaning the building, who are doing the small details of the recruiting department, to the coaching staff, everyone has a recruiting responsibility.
That’s the way we’ve built the programs I’ve been apart of in the past. It has to start with recruiting.”
Did you see @PeteThamel‘s story (https://t.co/r4QehFMNeN) on Arkansas being the surprise of signing day ?— Bo Mattingly (@SportsTalkwBo) December 20, 2018
Hear what Chad Morris had to say about the full staff effort that goes into recruiting: pic.twitter.com/ov20F0JJwL
Bottom line: Woe to the closet LSU fan janitor who finds himself cleaning Morris’ office.
*Here are the five Class of 2019 Texans who became Hogs in the Early Signing Period:
Jefferson (Jefferson, TX)
6-3, 188 pounds
Mansfield Legacy (Mansfield, TX)
6-3, 260 pounds
6-0, 290 pounds
Mansfield Legacy (Mansfield, TX)
Fort Bend Travis (Richmond, TX)
6-3.5, 204 pounds
Robert E. Lee (Tyler, TX)
6-5, 280 pounds
NB: Three-star safety Myles Brooks, out of Pflugerville, TX, has orally committed but is waiting to sign.