NCF On The Trail: Arkansas Razorbacks

Some players flipped their commitments while other’s had memorable signing-day moments. Here is a closer look at the five most intriguing recruitments from the SEC.

Completed class: Arkansas Razorbacks

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
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Arkansas Razorbacks

Arkansas has announced its 2015 class:

ESPN 300
Hjalte Froholdt, DT -- IMG Academy, Florida
C.J. O'Grady, TE-H -- Fayetteville High School, Arkansas
Will Gragg, TE-Y -- Dumas High School, Arkansas
Jalen Merrick, OG -- New Smyrna Beach Senior High School, Florida
Jamario Bell, DE -- Junction City High School, Arkansas

ESPN JC 50
Dominique Reed, WR -- Coffeyville Community College, Arkansas
Jeremiah Ledbetter, DT -- Hutchinson Community College, Georgia

Four-stars
Zach Rogers, OG -- Hebron High School Texas
Ty Storey, QB-PP -- Charleston High School, Arkansas
LaMichael Pettway, WR -- Nashville High School, Arkansas

Three-stars
Deon Stewart, WR -- Highland High School, Arkansas
Austin Cantrell, TE-H -- Roland High School, Oklahoma
Nate Dalton, S -- Cypress Falls High School, Texas
Derrick Graham, OLB -- Hardee County High School, Florida
Kendrick Jackson, ILB -- Haynesville High School, Louisiana
Rawleigh Williams, III RB -- Bishop Lynch High School, Texas
Willie Sykes, S -- Spring High School, Texas
Blake Johnson, K -- Los Alamitos High School, California
Ryan Pulley, ATH -- Riverdale High School, Florida
Daytrieon Dean, DT -- Northside High School, Arkansas
Colton Jackson, OT -- Conway High School, Arkansas
T.J. Smith, DE -- Colquitt County High School, Georgia
Dre Greenlaw, S -- Fayetteville High School, Arkansas

Late Qualifier
Josh Allen, OG -- University Christian High School, Florida
We're officially less than 24 hours from signing day. Seventeen of the nation's top high school recruits will announce their college decisions on live television Wednesday, and if we've learned anything from the past five years, expect the unexpected.

Players have become more creative. Parents have become more involved. And nothing is official until the fax comes in.

Here are five of the SEC's craziest signing day moments in recent years.

Not so fast (2011): On national television, five-star offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio announced he would be attending Auburn. There was just one problem. The fax never came through. Instead of signing his letter of intent and sending it off to the Plains, Kouandjio left his high school to "figure things out." Three days later, word got out he would be joining his big brother at the University of Alabama. Kouandjio went on to play three seasons in Tuscaloosa, won two national championships, and now he's in the NFL as a member of the Buffalo Bills. He not only spurned Auburn. He spurned Auburn for its biggest rival.

Puppy announcement (2011): In a world dominated by Twitter and Instagram, high school recruits have gotten more creative when it comes to announcing big decisions. The hats on the table are still popular, but baby alligators and break-dancing elves have both been used in the past year. Still, nobody can top five-star running back Isaiah Crowell and the bulldog puppy he pulled out when he committed to Georgia on signing day. Does it get any cuter? It's a good thing he didn't choose Alabama. How exactly does one go about obtaining a miniature elephant? I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we see one at a recruit's news conference.

Going against mom (2011): Floyd Raven was torn between Ole Miss and Texas A&M all the way up until signing day. When the big day arrived, his mother was happy to lend a hand. And by lend a hand, I mean forge his signature and fax a letter of intent to Ole Miss without him knowing about it. Awkward. The Rebels thought they had inked the three-star cornerback only to find out that he was not the one who sent the document. Later that day, Raven faxed a real letter of intent to Texas A&M where he went on to play the next four years. For what it's worth, former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt was a good sport about the whole thing.

Going against mom, Part 2 (2013): Forging your son's signature might be in a class of its own. But Alex Collins' mother deserves runner-up honors after she refused to sign her son's letter of intent on signing day two years ago. She wanted her son to stay close to home and play for Miami, but the ESPN 300 running back had other ideas. He was ready to join new coach Bret Bielema at Arkansas. The saga dragged on for an entire day before eventually the father stepped in and Collins was able to send off his papers the next morning. This past season, the sophomore back rushed for 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns.

In-state shocker (2014): The Iron Bowl rivalry is no joke. So when Rashaan Evans holds a signing day news conference at Auburn High School, there's no way he picks Alabama right? Wrong. To the chagrin of most everybody in attendance, Evans announced his intentions to sign with the Tide. It went from bad to worse for Auburn when the university website added Evans' bio to the page with all of the 2014 signees. Too soon? The ESPN 300 linebacker played sparingly at Alabama this season and finished with 14 tackles, two for a loss and one sack. He'll make his return to the Plains next fall for the Iron Bowl.
Brandon Martin surprised observers by coming out of nowhere to become one of the nation’s most highly-coveted prospects. He also surprised many when he made a commitment to Missouri last weekend. However, Martin showed us with his latest move, the surprises aren’t over yet.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

January, 20, 2015
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National signing day is less than three weeks away and it’s coming down to crunch time. This past weekend was one of three remaining weekends for recruits to take official visits before signing day and some of the top prospects took full advantage of the available weekend. Auburn had a monster recruiting weekend and, though not to the same extent, so did Alabama, Texas A&M, Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and others. Here’s a closer look at the top news from this past weekend.


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One of the biggest success stories in the 2015 recruiting class has been Arkansas with its in-state recruits. The Razorbacks were 10-for-10 on players they had offered in Arkansas, but that changed Sunday when ESPN 300 receiver K.J. Hill backed off his pledge.


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SEC's top recruiting visits 

January, 16, 2015
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With national signing day less than three weeks away, it is officially crunch time. There are only three recruiting weekends left for visits, and most schools plan to take full advantage of those available weekends. Here are a closer look at some of the top visits around the SEC this weekend.

Auburn


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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- At the American Football Coaches Association convention, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer's ability on the recruiting trail was the talk of high school coaches from all over the country.


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The Arkansas Razorbacks' latest addition, offensive tackle Jalen Merrick, is a former basketball player that has only been playing football for two seasons. He has all the tools and it's clear that his best football is ahead of him.


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Ohio State and Oregon have different recruiting philosophies, but both have made it work on the way to an appearance in Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T.


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UA practice notebook: Day 3 

December, 31, 2014
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Todd Wofford knows a good football player when he sees him.

As the coach at Central Gwinnett High School, Wofford has worked with some special players over the years, including ESPN 300 outside linebacker and current Alabama commitment Adonis Thomas and current Ohio State linebacker Trey Johnson. So it speaks volumes when he gushes about the running back talent he is tutoring this week at the Under Armour All-America Game.


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Recruit and return: Arkansas Razorbacks 

December, 29, 2014
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Arkansas' 2015 class will go down as a major step forward, even if the Hogs don't register in the top 15 or the upper half of the SEC. This was a season to remember with top-flight local talent, and Arkansas landed seven of the top nine players in-state and every player it offered a scholarship to. Keeping the local players at home and away from SEC rivals should help Arkansas continue to turn the corner on the field.


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Midyear additions:  Arkansas

December, 17, 2014
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Arkansas has announced that the following players will enroll in January, according to the program's official site ArkansasRazorbacks.com:

Daytrieon Dean, DT
HT: 6-3 WT: 265
Positional Rank: #86 DT
Stars: 3

Hjalte Froholdt, DT
HT: 6-4 WT: 285
Positional Rank: #13 DT
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#97)

Jeremiah Ledbetter, DT
HT: 6-3 WT: 280
Positional Rank: #4 DT (JC)
Stars: 4
ESPN JC50 (#28)

Zach Rogers, OG
HT: 6-2 WT: 297
Positional Rank: #32 OG
Stars: 4

Ty Storey, QB-PP
HT: 6-3 WT: 213
Positional Rank: #19 QB-PP
Stars: 4

SEC season recruiting superlatives 

December, 8, 2014
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Looking back at the just-completed regular season, it has been another wild year in the SEC, both on the field and in recruiting. There have been several huge commitments, some big decommitments and, as always, a few surprises. Here’s a closer look at the the SEC’s recruiting superlatives.


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Early Offer: Malik Jefferson's final 7 

November, 24, 2014
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Malik Jefferson reduced his list to seven schools on Monday, and though the list is hardly a surprise, recruiters think there are still some in store with the No. 35 player in the country.

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