The state of Arkansas will have a healthy list of football players signing with Division I programs in the 2018 class. With that in mind, SEC Country will be ranking the Natural State’s top 25 recruits for the class.
These rankings will be released once a month throughout the football season. The list is based on evaluation by SEC Country reporters, offers, stats and ratings from the main recruiting outlets (247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout).
The Arkansas Razorbacks hold commitments from five players in-state players — more than any other FBS program. Three others are pledged to Arkansas State. Several others also have opportunities to play at the next level.
Here are SEC Country’s top 25 prospects in Arkansas for 2018:
(Note: Star ratings are from the 247Sports composite or Rivals. If 247Sports did not have a rating for a player, Rivals was used. Those with an * are from Rivals.)
25. ATH Payton Copher (6-foot, 185 pounds); Air Force
Primarily a running quarterback at Har-Ber in Springdale, Payton Copher projects to play safety at the next level. He rushed for 962 yards and 12 touchdowns in 11 games last season. He committed to Air Force in late June over offers from Army and Louisiana-Monroe.
24. T Will Burgess (6-4, 340); uncommitted
Will Burgess broke his foot this summer just as he was on the verge of potentially gaining his first FBS offer. Arkansas and Memphis have previously shown strong interest in the tackle from Lake Hamilton in Pearcy. For now, his scholarship options include FCS and Division II programs.
23. 2-star* LB Hunter Swoboda (6-4, 220); uncommitted
Hunter Swoboda transferred from Joe T. Robinson in Little Rock to Bentonville West this summer. He played tight end and linebacker at Robinson, gaining offers from Air Force and Army in the process. The plan at Bentonville West is to have Swoboda play inside linebacker and H-back. A broken leg suffered at a camp this summer has set him back, but his return to action soon should help his recruitment get back on track.
22. 2-star* WR Trajen Johnson (6-2, 190); uncommitted
Trajen Johnson is an impressive athlete in both football and basketball at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock. He caught 43 passes for 923 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior. In the classroom, he scored a 30 on the ACT and has a 4.13 GPA. With that combination of talents he’s garnered offers from all three service academies and six of the eight Ivy League schools.
21. 2-star WR Demetrice Holliday (6-3, 200); Arkansas State
Demetrice Holliday is a two-way standout defensive back and wide receiver for Batesville. In his high school career, he has 50 catches for 949 yards and 11 scores. He pledged to the Red Wolves on April 1, picking them over Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana Tech.
20. 3-star G Biron Rossell (6-4, 265); Louisiana Tech
Biron Rossell had only a handful of FCS and Division II offers until the Louisiana Tech coaching staff saw him at a camp over the summer. The Bulldogs offered him on the spot and he committed two weeks later following a visit to the campus. From West Memphis Christian, he’s likely garner more offers with a strong senior season.
19. 3-star* DT Alejandro Ramirez (6-2, 295); uncommitted
At the FBS level, Alejandro Ramirez holds offers from Arkansas State and Navy. He’s also received interest from Arkansas, Memphis and Missouri. Ramirez is a talented all-around athlete at Har-Ber where he is also a standout on the wrestling team.
18. 3-star* DT Dayonte Roberts (6-2, 280); uncommitted
Dayonte Roberts is a popular target for Sun Belt schools with offers from Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe and Texas State. He’s a well-rounded defensive lineman with pass-rushing and run-stuffing ability. A standout defensive tackle at Cabot, he could player either tackle in a 4-3 defense or anchor a 3-4 scheme at nose guard.
17. 3-star* TE Adam Shepherd (6-4, 225); uncommitted
Adam Shepherd has enough size and athleticism to play tight end at the FBS level. He caught 36 passes for 600 yards and 9 touchdowns while playing tight end and wide receiver at Little Rock Christian last season. Harvard, Louisiana-Monroe, Princeton and Yale are among his offers with Arkansas and Mississippi State having shown interest.
16. 3-star T Jax Gasaway (6-7, 275); uncommitted
Jax Gasaway was presented with a preferred walk-on opportunity by Arkansas in June. The Star City native holds scholarship opportunities from Air Force, Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Marshall and Texas State. With his height, he has the potential to add some weight to his frame and at least physically become an ideal FBS tackle.
15. 3-star G Jake Hardage (6-6, 326); uncommitted
Jake Hardage, from Pocahontas, projects to play guard in college and already has the size to do so. He holds an offer from Mississippi State. Fellow SEC schools Arkansas, Auburn and Ole Miss have also previously shown some interest.
14. 2-star DT Terry Hampton (6-2, 265); Arkansas State
Terry Hampton is entering his fourth season has a starter at defensive tackle for El Dorado. That’s the positive he’ll play at Arkansas State, where he committed in May and expects to sign in December. He chose the Red Wolves over Louisiana-Monroe.
13. 2-star RB Detravion Green (6-0, 174); Arkansas State
Detravion Green is the feature back for an Ashdown team loaded with talent entering the 2017 season. He’s rushed for 1,768 yards and 20 touchdowns while averaging 7.1 yards per carry over the past two seasons. He committed to Arkansas State in late July over Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana Tech.
12. 3-star DT Billy Ferrell (6-3, 331); uncommitted
Billy Ferrell is a prototypical defensive tackle who has enough athleticism to also be used at tight end for Fordyce. He had 37 tackles and 4 sacks as a junior. His offer list includes Arkansas State, Colorado State, UMass and Memphis. Arkansas has shown interest and there’s a small chance he could still end up being part of the Hogs’ class as a late addition.
11. 3-star* T Larry Clark (6-4, 295); uncommitted
Larry Clark was a dominant tackle in a run-heavy offense at Blytheville last season. He’ll have some work to do in order to be a better all-around lineman at the next level, but he has all the tools needed. He holds a pair of Power 5 offers from Iowa State and Kansas, and his list of interested schools is impressive with Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee among them.
10. 3-star LB Oliver Nasilai (6-1, 244); BYU
Oliver Nasilai unsurprisingly pledged to BYU over Oklahoma State in June. He attended camps at BYU for several years and has built a close connection to the school, which his family has long been very fond of. He had 61 tackles with 14 for losses in 11 games at Har-Ber as a junior. Nasilai reportedly moved from Springdale to Jessieville over the summer.
9. 3-star QB Jaden Hill (6-4, 220); LSU (baseball)
Jaden Hill sees his future on the pitcher’s mound rather than at quarterback. The right-hander committed to pitch at LSU last December and won’t waver on that committment unless something unforeseen happens. That hasn’t stopped football programs from extending offers. The dual-threat talent from Ashdown holds six FBS football offers, including Illinois and Missouri. He’s even spoken with LSU coach Ed Orgeron about the possibility of also playing quarterback for the Tigers.
8. 3-star T Noah Gatlin (6-7, 300); Arkansas
Noah Gatlin began the summer with offers from Arizona State, Indiana, Iowa State, Mississippi State, Texas Tech and several others. But he remained persistent on earning the one he wanted most — Arkansas. He did just that at the Trench Hogs camp in June, impressing the Razorbacks’ staff enough to earn an offer before he even left campus. He committed three days later. Gatlin fits the prefect profile of a future tackle, his primary high school position at Jonesboro.
7. 3-star DE Isaiah Nichols (6-4, 275); Arkansas
Isaiah Nichols is an under-developed prospect with a ton of upside. His first season of football came as a sophomore at Springdale High after moving to Northwest Arkansas from Little Rock. To this point, he’s played in less than 20 competitive games. The process of learning the game on the fly hasn’t stopped him from turning heads, though. Nichols’ film from his junior season and performance at camps landed him offers from such programs as Arkansas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Mississippi State and Missouri. He committed to the Razorbacks in mid-June.
6. 3-star ATH Nathan Page (6-0, 180); uncommitted
Wherever Nathan Page plays for Joe T. Robinson, he makes an impact. He has 8 interceptions over the past two seasons at defensive back. Offensively, he caught 45 passes for 1,118 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior. The results are also there as a return threat, having returned 2 kickoffs for touchdowns in his high school career. Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana Tech are his FBS offers to this point. However, several Power 5 programs have long been interested — a list that includes Arkansas, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas A&M. If all goes well with his academics over the coming months, expect some major offers to roll in.
5. 3-star CB LaDarrius Bishop (6-0, 205); Mississippi State
If this list were sorted by speed, LaDarrius Bishop would be at the top. The cornerback from Ashdown was clocked running a 4.35-second 40-yard dash during a camp at Mississippi State last summer. That display put him at the top of the Bulldogs’ priority list in the defensive backfield. Those efforts paid off as he committed to Mississippi State on July 15 over Arkansas and Oklahoma State. Baylor, Illinois, Iowa Sate and Purdue are also among his offers.
4. 3-star OL Luke Jones (6-6, 290); Arkansas
Luke Jones is the best in an impressive group of Natural State offensive linemen. From Pulaski Academy, got all the tools to potentially play guard or tackle at the next level. Arkansas extended an offer to him at the Trench Hogs camp, the same day Gatlin and Nichols were also offered. He officially announced his commitment five weeks later. He The Razorbacks beat out offers from Arizona State, Iowa State, Missouri, Oregon and Virginia.
3. 3-star ATH Sean Michael Flanagan (6-2, 195); Arkansas
Sean Michael Flanagan is talented enough to play either safety or wide receiver at a Power 5 program. In 14 games at Charleston he had 65 catches for 1,121 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also had 4 interceptions and returned 5 punts for touchdowns. Flanagan holds offers from Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma State, and committed to the Razorbacks in June. He’s projected to play safety next year in Fayetteville.
2. 4-star QB Gerry Bohanon Jr. (6-4, 213); uncommitted
Interest in Gerry Bohanon skyrocketed once film from his junior season at tiny Earle started making the rounds last winter. His first major offer came from Alabama. The Crimson Tide were soon followed by Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Georgia, Louisville, LSU and several others. Many schools, like Alabama, extended an offer without even specifying a set position. His combination of talent and size is appealing enough a lot of schools would take him as a linebacker or quarterback. But his desired position (by far) is quarterback, so expect him to end up signing with a school willing to put him behind center.
1. 4-star QB Connor Noland (6-3, 205); Arkansas
Noland threw for over 2,000 yards with 18 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions at Greenwood last season. He’s poised for a big senior season having added size and arm strength from a year ago. He committed to Arkansas in July of 2016, a pledge he has remained firm to ever since. As a result, his full offer list isn’t as extensive as it would be had he remained uncommitted longer. A number of major programs — such as Florida, Florida State, Penn State, Texas A&M and UCLA — have either offered or would have if not for his strong pledge to Arkansas.
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