FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas’s first signing class under head coach Chad Morris will only be a glimpse of what’s to come in Razorback recruiting. The 2018 haul is being pieced together on the fly due to the short amount of time with which Morris and his partially-filled staff have had to work.
The new head Hog was officially introduced on December 7 and didn’t hit the recruiting trail until the following morning, which basically left him with nine days to play catch-up on prospects who had been in contact with other programs for several weeks, even months.
The prolonged coaching search resulted in some of Arkansas’s commitments jumping ship, but Morris has made the best of it.
Arkansas officially added a quality group of early signees on Wednesday, and Morris has a very detailed blueprint of how he’ll attack recruiting going forward.
“First and foremost, the most critical part of getting this program back to where it once was is you have to lock the border in the state of Arkansas,” Morris said in a radio interview with Sports Talk. “We’ve got to keep the 5-7 SEC, Division 1 players in our state coming to the University of Arkansas.
“How you do that – and how I plan to do that – is you’ve got to get on these guys early. We’ll have ten coaches in the state of Arkansas recruiting this spring. There will not be one high school in this state that won’t have an Arkansas coach go through there. They may not have ever had a Division 1 player in that school, but that doesn’t matter to me. It’s all about relationships. Because one day, one day they will, and that relationship along the way is going to help send that young man to the University of Arkansas, being the flagship university of our state.
“If you say five to seven, traditionally, seven may be on the high end,” Morris said. “There may be years you have eight or nine, and then some years you may only have four. We’ve just got to make sure those guys get to the state of Arkansas.”
Morris, a popular figure among his peers in Texas, plans to maximize his resources in the Lone Star State.
“Secondly is taking the relationships that we have in the state of Texas,” Morris continued. “I’ve been a high school coach there for eighteen years, served on the Board of Directors, I’m up for the Hall of Fame ballot – there’s so many relationships that I have in that state that want us to succeed. They want us to be successful.
“So let’s say on an average year you sign twenty. I know you get twenty-five, but sometimes you’re not able to sign all twenty-five each year. Say you sign twenty a year and you get five to seven from Arkansas, there’s no reason why we can’t go down to the state of Texas with the relationships we have, and pull eight to twelve great players out every year.”
Arkansas made a push in Oklahoma in Bret Bielema’s final signing class of 2017, reeling in linebacker Kyrei Fisher and cornerbacks Kamren Curl and Jordon Curtis.
It was the first time the Hogs had made a concerted effort in Oklahoma in several years, but Morris appears to place more value on the area.
“Obviously I coached at Tulsa, so our relationships in Oklahoma, especially in the Tulsa area, are very important to me. We’ll go into Missouri and Memphis, but I think your footprint sits in the state of Arkansas and overlaps down into Texas and Louisiana.”
The Razorbacks expect to sign a total of 15-16 total scholarship players in the 2018 class.
The traditional National Signing Day for this year’s class is February 7, 2018.