Arkansas Has Already Signed Most Blue Chip Recruits In Program History

Razorbacks class of 2019

Evin Demirel

After three days of the Early Signing Period, the final numbers are in: Arkansas signed 21 players during the three-day event. With a last day signing by cornerback Devin Bush, the Razorbacks inked 13 blue chip recruits — far and away the most in recent program history. Coincidentally, Arkansas’ class so far comes in at No. 13 nationally (according to Rivals).

What do I mean by “blue chip recruits”?

I mean recruits ranked as four or five stars, the two highest designations on most recruiting services. The major recruiting service Rivals has archived each Arkansas recruiting class dating back to 2002. The second-highest is the class of 2009 which included the likes of Knile Davis, Darius Winston and Ronnie Wingo, Jr. That was part of the foundation of the Bobby Petrino-coached teams which would eventually lead Arkansas to a No. 3 national ranking and Sugar Bowl berth.

Those teams also got a big-time QB transfer in Ryan Mallett. It’s yet to be seen if Chad Morris can get such a transfer, or JUCO quarterback, though there are plenty of possibilities still out there in the wake of Kelly Bryant’s decision. A few days ago, Morris said: “Absolutely we’re still exploring options to bring an older quarterback in.”

Talent matters, and the teams which load up on it will win. That was seen in the Frank Broyles era, in which he occasionally recruited classes that would have ranked in the Top 15 nationally had recruiting services existed then. We saw it in the Bobby Petrino era, and we’ll see it again in the Chad Morris era so long as he keeps the same drive he’s shown so far.

Of course, not all his blue chip players will pan out. Just take a scan down the following names and you’ll see a few “can’t-miss” guys who whiffed. You’ll also see quite a few future All-SEC players. And the chances of a four or five-star player turning into such a player are much higher than with a three-star or below. That’s a basic rule which fuels the success of the “blue blood” programs year after year.

Year-By-Year List of Arkansas Blue Chip Recruits (via Rivals)

(NB: Unless otherwise noted, all players below were ranked as four stars)

2002: Arkansas national recruiting rank: 25

Marcus WhitmoreLBIndependence, KS6’2″220
Cedric WashingtonQBBryan, TX6’0″183
Tony UgohOLSpring, TX6’6″275
Chris BakerATHOsceola, AR6’2″1850N/A
Vickiel VaughnDBPlano, TX6’1″1870N/A
Lucas JacksonLBWest Monroe, LA6’1″2200N/A

2003: Arkansas national recruiting rank: 29

Farod JacksonRBLittle Rock, AR6’1″2350N/A
Robert JohnsonQBWaco, TX6’3″1950N/A
Chris BakerWRChatham, VA6’2″1850N/A

2004: Team Recruiting Rank: 22

Peyton HillisRBConway, AR6’2″2455.8N/A
Cedric LoganWRFayetteville, AR5’11”1605.8N/A
Fred BledsoeDTLittle Rock, AR6’4″2805.8N/A
Michael GrantATHStone Mountain, GA6’0″1755.8N/A

2005: Razorbacks’ National Recruiting Rank: 24

Darren McFaddenATHLittle Rock, AR6’0″19856.1N/A
Marcus ShaversDEAllen, TX6’4″2505.8N/A
Felix JonesATHTulsa, OK5’11”1975.8N/A
Kevin ThorntonDBLittle Rock, AR6’2″1875.8N/A
YouTube video

2006: Hogs’ National Recruiting Rank: 27

Mitch MustainQBSpringdale, AR6’3″2086.1N/A
Freddie BarnettDTAthens, TX6’1″300N/AN/A
Jim HartOLPocahontas, AR6’6″3005.8N/A
Van StumonLBNorth Little Rock, AR6’2″2385.8N/A
Damian WilliamsWRSpringdale, AR6’1″1805.9N/A

2007: Arkansas National Recruiting Rank: 31

Grant FreemanTEParis, AR6’7″2435.8N/A
David WilliamsTELittle Rock, AR6’2″2405.8N/A
Jermaine LoveLBGarland, TX5’11”2205.8N/A
Kareem CrowellDTChatham, VA6’4″2905.8N/A

2008: Arkansas National Recruiting Rank: 36

Matt HallOLRussellville, AR6’10”3205.8N/A
De’Anthony CurtisRBCamden, AR5’10”2095.9N/A
Jarius WrightWRWarren, AR5’11”1805.8N/A
Tyler WilsonQBGreenwood, AR6’3″1825.8N/A
Jerico NelsonATHDestrehan, LA5’10”1865.8N/A
Joe AdamsDBLittle Rock, AR6’0″1675.9N/A
YouTube video

2009: Arkansas Recruiting Rank: 16

Darius WinstonDBWest Helena, AR6’0″18056.1N/A
Colby BernaOLFayetteville, AR6’4″2755.8N/A
Austin MossLBRockwall, TX6’2″2095.8N/A
Anthony OdenOLChatham, VA6’8″3285.9N/A
Knile DavisRBMissouri City, TX6’0″2095.9N/A
Rudell CrimDBEl Dorado, KS6’0″1905.9N/A
Anthony LeonDBVisalia, CA6’4″2305.8N/A
Ronnie Wingo Jr.ATHSt. Louis, MO6’3″2125.9N/A
DeQuinta JonesDTBastrop, LA6’4″3055.8N/A
YouTube video

2010: Arkansas National Recruiting Ranking: 49

Cam FeldtOLPilot Point, TX6’5″2905.8N/A
Calvin BarnettDTTulsa, OK6’3″3305.9N/A
Byran JonesDTJunction City, AR6’3″2975.8N/A

2011: Arkansas National Recruiting Ranking: 24

Brandon AllenQBFayetteville, AR6’1″2145.8N/A
Brey CookOLSpringdale, AR6’7″3145.8N/A
Marquel WadeWRNew Berlin, NY5’11”1805.8N/A
Tevin MitchelDBMansfield, TX6’0″1755.8N/A

2012: Arkansas National Recruiting Ranking: 34

Jonathan WilliamsRBAllen, TX5’11”2055.8N/A
Otha PetersLBCovington, LA6’1″2215.8N/A

2013: Arkansas National Recruiting Rank: 27

Hunter HenryTELittle Rock, AR6’6″2355.9N/A
Reeve KoehlerOLHonolulu, HI6’3″3215.9N/A
Denver KirklandOLMiami, FL6’5″3335.8N/A

2014: Arkansas Football Recruiting Rank (National): 29

Rafe PeaveyQBBolivar, MO6’2″2055.8N/A
Bijhon JacksonDTEl Dorado, AR6’2″3275.9N/A
Brian WallaceOLSt. Louis, MO6’6″3045.9N/A

2015: Arkansas Recruiting National Rank: 25

Ty StoreyQBCharleston, AR6’3″2105.96/26/13SIGNED
Jamario BellDEJunction City, AR6’6″2505.88/18/13SIGNED
Hjalte FroholdtDTBradenton, FL6’5″2905.8N/A
C.J. O’GradyTEFayetteville, AR6’5″2305.9N/A
Jeremiah LedbetterDEHutchinson, KS6’4″2705.8N/A
Will GraggTEDumas, AR6’4″2415.8N/A
Jalen MerrickOLNew Smyrna Beach, FL6’5″2955.8N/A

2016: Arkansas national recruiting rank: 30

Briston GuidryDTMetairie, LA6’3″2755.9N/A
T.J. HammondsATHLittle Rock, AR5’11”1965.8N/A
McTelvin AgimDEHope, AR6’3″2696N/A
Devwah WhaleyRBBeaumont, TX6’0″2055.8N/A


Arkansas national recruiting rank: 24

Jeremy PattonTEYuma, AZ6’6″2505.9N/A
Chase HaydenRBGermantown, TN5’11”1905.9N/A
Montaric BrownDBAshdown, AR6’1″1755.8N/A
Brandon MartinWRPerkinston, MS6’4″2205.9N/A
Chevin CallowayDBDallas, TX5’10”1805.9N/A

2018: Arkansas National Recruiting Rank: 61

Bumper PoolLBLucas, TX6’2″2175.8N/A
Ladarrius BishopDBAshdown, AR6’0″1905.8N/A

Not Finished Yet

A Razorbacks class of 2019 dubbed by Pete Thamel, national college football writer, as “pound for pound” as good as any program’s will get even better. Three blue chip recruits — four-star Adonis Otey, Treylon Burks and Hudson Henry — have committed and will sign in February.

What do you predict this class will end up accomplishing in the next three to five years? A 10-win season? A win or two against Nick Saban’s Alabama? An SEC West championship (which essentially guarantees a Final Four spot)?

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