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Morris, staff, recruiting way out of what they inherited

The announcement of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, four-star wide receiver Trey Knox committing to Arkansas on Monday was hailed as making it the best group of playmakers in program history.

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The announcement of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, four-star wide receiver Trey Knox committing to Arkansas on Monday was hailed as making it the best group of playmakers in program history.

Yes, the foursome of Knox, Treylon Burks, Shamar Nash and TQ Jackson has the potential to be better than that signing class of 2008. That was the Jarius Wright, Greg Childs, Chris Gragg and Joe Adams group, just to refresh some memories.

This group of commitments is rated higher than that 2008 class Bobby Petrino used as the foundation of a 34-17 run over his four years. After they left, Bobby flew through the handlebars, was shown the door and the Hogs fell to 4-8 in 2012.

Some put the blame on Petrino’s exit. I said the day after the Cotton Bowl win over Kansas State that 2012 was going to be a 6-6 season … at best. That was with Petrino around. They lost three of those four playmakers.

To win in the SEC over the last decade or so you have to have playmakers on both sides of the ball. The reason the Hogs are struggling now offensively is no one has stepped up to be a playmaker.

Freshman Mike Woods is showing signs of becoming one, but he’s not quite there, yet. C.J. O’Grady has the ability if he can keep his head on straight and quit pouting when he doesn’t like something. That’s not my opinion, but what people who have known C.J. since he was a youngster have told me.

The defensive improvement has come for Arkansas this year with the rise of playmakers in the front seven of the defense. Chad Morris has said the performance of Dre Greenlaw and De’Jon Harris in the 24-17 loss to Texas A&M may have been the best he’s ever had as a coach.

In the front line, they have done a stellar job of keeping blockers off the linebackers so they can make plays.

It’s like watching a building that was blown up getting put back together.

Morris’ offense needs playmakers and the wide receiver and tight end positions to work. That sets up the running game, which sets up everything else with the offense.

Morris has hit the recruiting trail as hard as any coach since the days of Frank Broyles on the field coaching.

Right now, regardless of which recruiting service you want to believe, the Hogs have the best class they’ve had in a decade.

At Rivals, they are ranked 14th, No. 34 at ESPN and the 247Sports.com composite has them at No. 30.

And they aren’t finished, either.

There are still more targets Morris and his staff are going after, most notably tight end Hudson Henry at Pulaski Academy.

Morris, unlike the two previous staffs, goes hard after playmakers. He’s proving it’s not just Texas where this staff can go in and get players. Steve Caldwell and John Chavis are getting them into Tennessee, particularly the western side of the state.

As the Hogs get into a part of the schedule that will at least see some teams not quite as good as the ones they’ve played the last three weeks, we’ll see if the games become as intriguing as what they are doing recruiting.

The first signing date is 10 weeks from Wednesday.

Which should be a big day for Hog fans.

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