Examining the summer arrivals set to join Arkansas
Spring camp provided a first look at more than half of Arkansas’s incoming recruiting class as 13 early enrollees began their college careers with the Razorbacks. In a few days, Arkansas will welcome in the rest of its class as 11 high school enrollees are set to join the program this weekend.
Here’s a look at the players the Hogs will be adding.
Arkansas added Lucas Coley to the quarterback room this spring but don't forget about Parkview dual-threat QB Landon Rogers. At 6-foot-4, 215-pounds, Rogers is an imposing figure behind center and as his 22 rushing touchdowns proved in his senior season, he'll beat defenders consistently when he decides to bail out or in RPO situations.
Though the Little Rock native almost rushed for as many yards as he threw for in 2020, giving him a reputation as more of an athlete, he improved his completion percentage dramatically from 54% to 61% year over year. He's unlikely to battle for immediate playing time but there's no telling what he could do over the course of his career under Kendal Briles' tutelage.
Oklahoma 3-star wideout Bryce Stephens had business to finish in the classroom and on the track, hence why he didn't join Kenny Guiton's three other new weapons on the Hill this spring. At this weekend's Oklahoma 5A track championships, Stephens took home first place in the 100 m. with a PR of 10.64.
As John Marshall's top target, Stephens scored nine touchdowns in eight games and averaged 21.4 yards per carry in 2020. Wide receiver reps are up for grabs after Mike Woods' departure but we could still see a redshirt for Stephens as he adds strength.
The Razorbacks already have a pretty deep running backs room but the addition of AJ Green gives them an extra boost in the speed department. Despite finishing fourth, he posted a 10.41 at the 6A state meet and helped his 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 squads take first, second and third, respectively. Green had offers from all over including Tennessee, Texas, LSU and Michigan, making him one of the top prizes in this class.
Despite his modest 5.7 rating by Rivals, Green has all the tools of a premier back at the next level. He possesses game-changing speed and has the ability to make opponents miss in open space. He'll need to add to his frame but even as is, he could still contribute in 2021.
One of Parkview's top weapons, Erin Outley suffered a meniscus injury that sidelined him for most of his senior season. His junior season, however, with 48 catches, made Outley a national recruiting name.
He's put on a lot of size as he's rehabbed from his injury and begun prep for arrival at Arkansas, giving himself a better opportunity to contribute early. The Hogs only have four other scholarship tight ends (including converted WR Koilan Jackson), which puts Outley in an ideal position entering summer workouts.
Here's Outley working out next to 290lb+ defensive lineman Jared Summons, for comparison's sake:
None of Arkansas's offensive line signees were able to come in a semester early but none of them have been resting on their laurels. They all reported weighing over 300 pounds as they ready for their arrivals on the Hill.
Terry Wells, Cole Carson and Devon Manuel each come from small towns where resources for development weren't always readily available, giving all three a high-ceiling for their potential.
Manuel will rival only Dalton Wagner in size when he hits the Hill at 6-foot-9, making him an obvious tackle prospect. Carson and Wells can be more flexible but both also played most of their snaps at tackle.
While Manuel and Wells both dabbled in basketball to aid in their athleticism, Carson competed in field events for his track team and he also played nose tackle.
Former Razorback defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc helped the Hogs sign two before being replaced in the off-season by Tulsa DL coach Jermial Ashley.
Cameron Ball moves extremely well for someone of his size at 6-foot-5 and over 300 pounds already. Offered by more than 30 DI programs, Ball's signature was a big win for the Hogs. He was extremely active in the six games he played for his Georgia high school this season, racking up 42 tackles with six tackles for loss, four sacks, three pass breakups, a forced fumble and two recoveries. Arkansas added the Missouri transfers and John Ridgeway to the line this off-season, making the likelihood of Ball contributing in a major way in year one pretty low.
At 6-foot-1, Solomon Wright will hit the Hill as the shortest of Arkansas's defensive linemen. The Oklahoma native has a very similar build to recent departure Enoch Jackson and his quickness off the line and aggression are also reminiscent of the Texan's play coming out of high school. Wright will definitely have to add weight before contributing on Ashley's line.
The Razorbacks already have one 2021 defensive back signee getting second team reps in safety Jayden Johnson and they have two more coming into compete in Barry Odom's secondary in a few days.
Keuan Parker, ranked No. 5 in the state of Oklahoma, picked Arkansas over Baylor, Nebraska and others. Opposing teams have known to stay away from Parker for a couple years now, keeping his interception numbers low, but the tough corner can lay a strong hit and he's got very sound coverage fundamentals.
Chase Lowery is a corner that probably could've found a Division-I home as a receiver if he wanted to go that route and his two-way athleticism is worth more than the 5.5 rating he finished the cycle with. As a senior for Frisco HS, Lowery had 14 catches for 403 yards (28.8 ypc) and two touchdowns while making 26 tackles, four interceptions, one pass broken up, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble in seven games.
Both Lowery and Parker are slim but it wouldn't take much for them to be at 185 by the time the season arrives.