FAYETTEVILLE — With under ten days remaining until National Signing Day, fans of every team across the country are asking the same question: “Will we have a strong finish?”
For Arkansas, the answer appears to be yes. There may not be a ton of signing day drama next Wednesday for the Hogs, but that’s because Chad Morris’s staff already has most of its hay in the barn after adding five of their most wanted prospects since January 21.
Four of them came in a span of 48 hours last Sunday and Monday, and the latest happened this Monday evening when Memphis (Tenn.) Christian Brothers offensive lineman Ryan Winkel announced his pledge via Twitter.
Winkel, a 6-7, 285-pound tackle who visited the Hogs over the weekend, chose Arkansas over other finalists Tennessee and Mississippi State. He also held offers from Nebraska, Virginia, Northwestern and others. Winkel was yet another important target for Arkansas, especially after in-state talent Luke Jones of Pulaski Academy decided to flip his commitment from the Hogs to Notre Dame in late December.
The Razorbacks needed at least one more offensive lineman to go along with Noah Gatlin of Jonesboro and Silas Robinson, an early signee from Yoakum (Texas).
Winkel joins a list of recent commitments that includes running back Rakeem Boyd of Independence (Kan.) Independence Community College, linebacker Andrew Parker of New Orleans (La.) Wright, defensive end Courtre Alexander of Owasso (Okla.), and safety Myles Mason of Trussville (Ala.) Hewitt.
There is still work to be done, though.
On Wednesday, the Razorbacks will host the nation’s top junior college defensive end target when Dorian Gerald of Santa Clarita (Calif.) College of the Canyons makes his way to Fayetteville for a two-day midweek visit. Gerald, 6-3, 260, has also visited Louisville and Texas A&M, and will head to Florida after leaving Fayetteville on Friday.
Arkansas is still involved with one of the nation’s most wanted high school defensive ends, as well, in Tyree Wilson of New London (Texas) West Rusk. Wilson, 6-5, 230, visited Fayetteville on the Jan. 19-21 weekend and hosted Morris and his assistants on an in-home visit earlier this week. He remains committed to Texas A&M but tells HawgSports.com that he’s facing a “very tough decision” down the final stretch.
At linebacker, the Razorbacks appear to be in very good shape for four-star Aaron Brule of Metairie (La.) Rummel, and his decision could come anytime between now and signing day. Brule has already visited Georgia, Oklahoma State and TCU but canceled this weekend’s scheduled trip to Mississippi State after receiving an in-home visit from the Hogs earlier this week.
Another heavily recruited defensive prospect from Louisiana that would put the icing on Arkansas’ cake is safety Joseph Foucha of New Orleans McDonough 35 High School. Foucha’s offer list consists of several big-name schools, such as LSU, Florida State, Oklahoma, Michigan and others, but he’s eyeing three SEC finalists in Auburn, Arkansas and Ole Miss. He visited the Razorbacks on Jan. 19-21, the Rebels this past weekend, and he’s expected to be in Auburn this coming weekend.
Things appear to be headed in Arkansas’ favor for the 5-10, 195-pound safety.
There are others who could give the Hogs an even stronger finish, too.
That group includes quarterback John Stephen Jones of Dallas (Texas) Highland Park, wide receiver Treveon Johnson of Brenham (Texas), linebacker Jaylen Moody of Conway (S.C.), and defensive end Caleb Okechukwu of Washington D.C. St. John’s.
Jones, the grandson of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and Okechukwu will be in Fayetteville this weekend, while Johnson and Moody have already used their official visits at Arkansas.