Recruiting Roundup: Pair of new commits, PWOs galore, new offers and more
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Each Friday, HawgBeat's Alex Trader will write a recruiting notebook filled with tidbits on Arkansas commits and top targets, as well as the Razorbacks' latest offers.
For the first time in more than three decades, Arkansas had a pair of signees selected as McDonald’s All-Americans earlier this week. Nick Smith Jr. and Jordan Walsh - the top two players in the Razorbacks’ touted 2022 class - will play in the game on March 29 in Chicago.
Smith, who is playing his senior year at North Little Rock, is the No. 16 overall player in the class, according to Rivals, and is a rare five-star signee for the Razorbacks.
Playing at Link Academy in Branson, Mo., Walsh is just outside the five-star range on Rivals, checking in at No. 31 in the Rivals150. He’s a five-star prospect by other outlets.
The last time one McDonald’s All-American Game featured multiple Arkansas signees was actually 1992, when Corliss Williamson and Michael Lloyd played. However, Lloyd never made it to campus because of academic issues.
You have to go back to 1988 for the last time a pair of actual future Razorbacks played in the prestigious game. Both of the guys that year eventually led Arkansas to a Final Four and became first-round picks: Lee Mayberry and Todd Day.
Assuming they both make it to campus as expected, Smith and Walsh will be the 15th and 16th McDonald’s All-Americans to play at Arkansas.
Big Board SZN
In this week's edition of my 2023 Arkansas Football Big Board, we took a look at arguably the most important position on the field - Offensive Tackle.
Headlining the group was none other than 6-foot-7, 355-pound Frisco Wakeland (Texas) four-star Connor Stroh. Stroh only recently added his offer from the Razorbacks, but Sam Pittman and Cody Kennedy have taken a real interest him, and visits to a number of Texas schools will have the staff in a dogfight for their second O-Line commit of the '23 class.
Strong Visitor List for Junior Day Three
Arkansas has hosted a slew of key visitors over its first two weeks of Junior Days, and the Razorback staff shouldn't be expecting any less for the finale.
Among the group will be a primary '23 quarterback target and a number of high-three-stars, as well as a commit and a Rivals100 prospect. For information about who you should be on the lookout for Saturday, as well as updates as we get them surrounding everything Junior Day, check out our thread over at The Trough.
The Razorback staff has been on just about as hot a streak as you could imagine of late, and they continued their roll this weekend with a pair of massive commitments in the 2023 class.
Just days after Mansfield (Texas) three-star defensive end Kaleb James announced his commitment to Arkansas, two top-'23 targets followed suit in 5.9-four-star Luke Haszand 5.5-three-star Everett Roussaw.
Hasz, who was also in town last weekend, comes after a four-month-long commitment to Oklahoma fell apart following Lincoln Riley's departure from the school.
He becomes the third highly-touted tight end to jump aboard Arkansas' 2023 class, likely closing out an impressive first full cycle for Dowell Loggains. With a historic grouping and plenty of touches for everyone anchoring their recruiting pitch, it will be interesting to see whether the Hogs are able to ink all three come early signing day 2022.
For more on Hasz's decision to call the Hogs, Rivals' own Sam Spiegelman went one-on-one with the Rivals100 prospect.
As for Roussaw, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker prospect out of Cedar Grove (Ga.) chose Arkansas over Louisville, Mississippi State, Missouri, Virginia Tech, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina and UCF.
Roussaw adds to the growing list of Cedar Grove athletes to follow former head coach and now Arkansas running backs coach Jimmy Smith to Fayetteville.
The pair's commitments vaulted Arkansas to third nationally in Rivals' 2023 team rankings with eight members in the group.
A Big Week for Preferred Walk-Ons
They may not come with the same fanfare as traditional commitments or portal additions, but preferred walk-ons play a vital role in the health of a program and Arkansas was busy in that department this week, landing several for the 2022 class.
Brock Burns, an in-state offensive lineman from Ozark, got things started when he committed Sunday evening. He is a two-star recruit on Rivals and was actually committed to Kansas on scholarship for several months before decommitting last February.
The next domino to fall was actually at a position of need, with defensive tackle Randall Dennis Jr. pulling the trigger Tuesday morning. He turned down a handful of FCS offers to play for the Razorbacks as a walk-on. While he’s from Georgia, it will be a homecoming of sorts for Dennis because his father is originally from Blytheville.
Later that night, Blake Ford jumped on board. Ranked the No. 11 overall kicker in the 2022 class by Chris Sailer Kicking, Ford played in the All-American Bowl with several other Arkansas signees. He has a very strong leg, as evidenced by him booting a 73-yard field goal in practice, and is the presumed replacement for Vito Calvaruso - who transferred to Wisconsin this offseason - as the Razorbacks’ kickoff specialist, assuming Cam Little doesn’t add those duties.
The fourth preferred walk-on commitment happened Thursday, with Kai Hamilton picking the Razorbacks. He’s a 6-foot-4, 305-pound offensive lineman from Hope, the same high school that produced McTelvin Agim a few years ago.
Another player to keep an eye on is Daryl Searcy Jr. from Joe T. Robinson, as he posted about being offered as a preferred walk-on Tuesday. The all-state running backs also recently took an official visit to Missouri State.