Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook . In this edition, we discuss which assistants Arkansas next coach would be wise to keep and the top 2018 in-state recruit.
Arkansas’ next coach would be wise to retain Barry Lunney Jr.
Arkansas is set to hire a new head coach any day now, likely within the next week. Whoever that person is, they’ll have to get to work quickly recruiting and building a staff of assistants. If they want strong help in both those departments, they’d be wise to look within the current staff left over from the Bret Bielema era.
Tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. would be an outstanding piece to keep on staff. That’s especially true considering the circumstances Arkansas will be in with the early signing period (Dec. 20-22) closing in fast.
Lunney, who is an ace recruiter within Arkansas, can serve as a bridge between old and the new. He can also be a familiar face to any in-state prospects the Hogs choose to offer late, and the star-studded 2019 Natural State class.
Since 2013, Arkansas has produced 11 recruits labeled as 4-star by the 247Sports composite. The Razorbacks have signed eight of them, with Lunney playing a strong role in their recruitment. He also helped with the initial contact of 5-star defensive end McTelvin Agim, the state’s only 5-star recruit during that time period and one of the top recruits Arkansas has ever signed.
Beyond Lunney, the new staff could always benefit greatly in recruiting by retaining wide receivers coach Michael Smith. He’s been the primary recruiter in Louisiana since 2013 when he arrived in Fayetteville and has done a masterful job building a pipeline in the state.
The Hogs had 14 Louisiana natives on their roster this season, and Smith played a significant role in recruiting all of them. Among those 14 players, 11 have developed into starters or regular contributors. That list includes leading tackler De’Jon Harris (LB), team captain Santos Ramirez (S) and kick return specialist De’Vion Warren (WR).
It’s no secret the Razorbacks’ next staff must recruit better in Texas. But they would also be wise to keep the strong connections within their own state and in Louisiana. Keeping Lunney and Smith would do just that.
ICYMI: Byron Hanspard II re-opens recruitment
Arkansas officially lost the commitment of 2018 cornerback Byron Hanspard II on Wednesday evening.
Hanspard is a 4-star recruit according to the 247Sports composite from DeSoto (Texas). He said the firing of coach Bret Bielema last week was his primary reason for denouncing his pledge.
Tanner McCalister, another cornerback from the Dallas area, announced his intentions to explore other options earlier this week. For the time being, he remains committed and plans to make a firm decision on his future once Arkansas hires a coach.
That leaves the Hogs’ 2018 class with 10 commitments, several of which are currently evaluating their options in the wake of Bielema’s departure.
To read more about Hanspard’s decision, click here.
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