Arkansas isn’t going to climb very high into the recruiting rankings this year.
What many fans don’t believe (or refuse to) is they weren’t going to be that high regardless of what coaching staff came in.
Without running off a bunch of players there simply weren’t going to be enough numbers to shoot the Razorbacks into the Top 10.
The guys in Fayetteville who do a great job following all the recruiting stuff have said in a year with normal recruiting numbers (20-25), the Hogs would be ranked in the Top 20 based on the quality they are getting.
Let’s face it, Bret Bielema and the previous staff didn’t run off a lot of players. That wasn’t their style. At Alabama and other places across the league it is not unusual for players to be “encouraged” to transfer if they don’t meet expectations. The coaches actually help them find places more suited for them to contribute more.
Bielema and his staff didn’t do much of that. Whether that was right or not is more for each individual to decide. One way or the other isn’t for everyone.
But what Chad Morris and his staff are doing is drawing attention, both from recruits and others across the league.
For starters, the guess here is their style of play fits more quality players. Let’s face it, there aren’t a lot of high school football teams that still huddle, much less anything else Bielema’s offense did.
On defense, new coordinator John Chavis’ style is more aggressive, which is going to give Hog fans something completely new to look at.
It’s already paying off with four commitments after the first weekend of official recruiting visits. Players committed to other schools flipped to Arkansas, which happens every year. The Hogs have flipped two players from Mississippi State and the players they are getting have been offered by other SEC and Power 5 schools.
That is progress. I doubt Arkansas will ever be a consistent challenger for No. 1 in recruiting, but early appearances are this staff is going to be signing players regardless of their position.
If nothing else, this staff is all over Twitter constantly as they appear to be working the recruiting angle almost constantly.
And that is the biggest positive change. Others are noticing, too.
“This is the hardest I’ve seen an Arkansas staff recruit in years,” was how one former SEC coach summed it up.
Don’t start comparing this staff to what you’ve seen in Razorback recruiting the past 10 years. The impression I always got was they viewed chasing high school youngsters as a necessary evil and viewed it the way NFL teams view the draft.
The results speak loudly. Like a run-of-the-mill NFL team when they caught some breaks, avoided a ton of injuries and the schedule was favorable, well, they had a good record (2010 and 2011).
When all of that went the other way they didn’t.
By all appearances and having covered other teams in the SEC, this staff is taking more of the approach of teams that are at the top of the standings every year.
Getting consistently into the Top 10 every single year in recruiting might be a stretch to expect. That’s why the approach this staff has in schemes, etc., is going to make a big difference.
And I don’t think it’s going to take as long as some do.