Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook . In this edition, we discuss the importance of Sept. 1 and a freshman running back who thought he was destined to go elsewhere and more.
Social media has made Sept. 1 important date for Bret Bielema
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema won’t have much time to relax after the Razorbacks take on Florida A&M in their season opener next Thursday night (Aug. 31). Instead, he’ll be momentarily shifting his attention away from the current team and to recruiting for the 2019 class.
Per NCAA rules, coaches are not allowed to contact recruits in the upcoming class via direct messages on Twitter until Sep. 1. As was the case last year, Bielema is likely to be sending out some messages when the clock strikes midnight.
“Social media is so different now, so I’m waiting for Sept. 1, because then I can start social media relationships,” Bielema said.
Last year, the Hogs’ coach stayed up to send messages until past midnight in every time zone. That’s a strategy he’ll likely employ once again.
Offensive line coach Kurt Anderson sees special value in Arkansas’ in-state recruits
Arkansas offensive line coach Kurt Anderson is from Illinois and played at Michigan. None of his first four coaching stops were closer than 500 miles from Fayetteville. So, it’s obvious the University of Arkansas, and the state in general, was a foreign place when he was hired in January 2016.
But entering his second season on the job, Anderson has developed a strong sense of what the Razorbacks mean to the state. That’s particularly true on the recruiting trail.
“These guys that grow up in this state and have played in this state have a great understanding already of what they’re walking into in terms of the traditions, the university, navigating their way around,”Anderson recently told SEC Country.
“All that plays an important role because it’s not just important to that individual. But you’re talking about a team that’s important to parents, their grandparents, their cousins, their town.”
Anderson’s position group is reaping the benefit of talented in-state players in the 2018 class. Both of the Hogs’ offensive line commits — Luke Jones (Little Rock) and Noah Gatlin (Jonesboro) — are from the Natural State.
“Any time that you can get something that was grown in your own state like that and have a strong recruiting class within a state, it obviously makes the program better,” Anderson added.
RB Chase Hayden was initially all about Tennessee
True freshman running back Chase Hayden is making a strong first impression with the Razorbacks. He’s worked his way into position to play significantly this season.
Hayden, though, didn’t begin to envision himself at Arkansas until late in his junior year at St. George’s Independent School in Collierville, Tenn. Before then, he was always going to follow in the footsteps of his father, Aaron, who played running back at Tennessee from 1991-94.
“At first, he obviously thought I was going to Tennessee,” Chase Hayden told reporters Wednesday. “I thought I was going to Tennessee. But once he got around the coaching staff and saw all the coaches and stuff, he felt like Arkansas would be a good place for me to go to.”
Tennessee offered Hayden but didn’t make him feel like a significant priority. It was almost as if the Vols expected him to commit right away and the process to end. Instead, their loss appears to have been the Hogs’ gain.
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