Arkansas recruiting mailbag: Is Arkansas overlooked as a top destination?

Welcome to SEC Country’s weekly Arkansas recruiting mailbag with reporter Trent Shadid. In this edition, we discuss the Razorbacks’ national perception and a pair of top 2018 targets.

From a recruiting perspective, I do think Arkansas gets overlooked nationally at times as a good destination in the those three main sports. But I think that’s just initially, and never by athletes within the state.

The consensus among a lot of the football recruits I talk to from outside Arkansas is they never imagined themselves considering the Razorbacks. It’s usually for all the stereotypical reasons — too small, too country, etc. Those concerns usually are quickly alleviated by the coaching staff, and definitely don’t stick after recruits visit. In fact, I think sometimes it helps because the school far exceeds expectations.

So, I don’t really think Arkansas gets hurt by that initial perception. The recent recruiting classes in basketball and baseball have been strong. During the Bret Bielema era, the football program is recruiting nationally above where it’s finishing on the field.

Is there a perception out there nationally that Arkansas isn’t a great destination? At times, yes. Does it hurt the athletic programs significantly? I don’t think so.

The chances that Luke Ford is still considering Arkansas are 100 percent. The 4-star tight end who was once committed to the Razorbacks has stayed in regular contact with Bielema and the staff. It’s clear he hasn’t totally closed the door on the Hogs.

I don’t think he’ll end up at Arkansas, though. Alabama is the favorite all the way and probably will nail down his commitment if the Tide’s offensive game plan heavily involves tight ends as expected this season.

But outside Alabama, the Hogs are right there in the thick of the race with several top programs. Ford probably will wait until the February signing period to make things official. Obviously, a lot can happen between now and then, so remaining among the possibilities gives Arkansas a glimmer of hope to secure his pledge.

There’s not much going on surrounding 4-star Earle, Ark., quarterback Gerry Bohanon Jr.

The last time I talked to Bohanon, about two weeks ago, he didn’t have a commitment timetable. He seems really torn about making a final decision.

His top six choices are Arkansas, Baylor, Georgia, Louisville, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. I’ve got those six in three different categories. Baylor is alone as the most realistic possibility. Arkansas, Georgia and Ole Miss remain slight possibilities. I think Louisville and Mississippi State, with quarterbacks already committed, are out of the mix.

Arkansas has a quarterback in the class as well, but it is willing to sign two and has the in-state advantage. Georgia is going all-in for local quarterback Justin Fields, the No. 1 overall recruit in the class. If they miss on him, Bohanon becomes a stronger possibility. Ole Miss appeals to Bohanon, and is by far the closest to home (110 miles) of his top choices. But the Rebels obviously have some serious issues looming over their program.

That leaves Baylor as the only school without a 2018 quarterback committed, and Bohanon at the top of its priority list.

To submit a question for recruiting mailbags, email or send a message to  @Shadid13 on Twitter.

The post Arkansas recruiting mailbag: Is Arkansas overlooked as a top destination? appeared first on SEC Country.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.