Arkansas's Top Sleeper Prospects on the HawgBeat Big Board
Every year there are certain top prospects that don't necessarily pop out at you on paper but end up rising in the rankings or picking up a slew of new offers later in their recruitment. Arkansas can capitalize on that by doing a lot of early evaluation and taking chances on guys that for one reason or another have been off the radar of major programs. Here are five high-priority prospects for the Hogs that are getting slept on so far:
Picking up seven new offers since the end of his junior season is Lufkin 3-star Ja'Lynn Polk, whom the Hogs offered way back in July. While other schools have been sleeping on Polk, he's been staying in close communication with Arkansas and he plans to be back on the Hill March 9th. Polk recently visited Houston and participated in the Under Armor All-American camp where he performed well.
If John Gentry wasn't backing up the no. 1 running back in the nation at North Shore High School there's a great chance he'd never make a list like this but, so far, only two programs have bought into his talents, Arkansas and North Texas. Gentry recently visited Houston and UNT, and has plans to be on the Hill March 9th. We'll have highlights of Gentry in action from Rivals 3-Stripe Camp in Houston this weekend.
Playing 4A DI high school football in Texas is a mean offensive lineman with a high motor, 3-star Garrett Hayes out of Athens. He's a sleeper because he's very off the normal recruiting radar, as in not many people have seen or talked to him, but he has reported 17 offers. We do know for sure that he has interest in Arkansas because he camped and visited Fayetteville in 2018 but he doesn't want to make a decision until late in his senior year.
The fact that neither Texas nor Texas A&M have offered Hayes is really what makes him a sleeper.
Not your typical sleeper target here given that De'Arre McDonald is a Rivals 4-star and edging close to the Rivals100, however, he's still on the low side as far as offers go, which gives Arkansas an advantage on schools who will inevitably try to come in late here. McDonald hails from Murfreesboro, home of 4-star wide receiver signee Trey Knox, but he attends Oakland High School, not Blackman, where they missed on a couple prospects last cycle.
McDonald has two SEC offers, from Arkansas and South Carolina, just picked up a Memphis offer and he's visited Louisville and Virginia Tech already. The no. 13 ranked player in Tennessee says he definitely wants to visit Arkansas this March.
A linebacker target that is mostly a big question mark is 3-star West High School standout Drew Francis. He's got reported offers from Arkansas, A&M and Vanderbilt, as well as Purdue and Western Kentucky. However, his twitter account only reflects the latter two offers. He reported the offer from Purdue in mid-January but other than that his recruitment has been pretty quiet for awhile.
His junior tape features him coming off the edge a lot, mostly from a standing position. He looks quick off the line, looks like he tackles with good form, has good speed and good play anticipation. He's moved down in the position rankings since debuting as the no. 20 linebacker prospect in the nation.
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