National Signing Day is finally in the books. Ironically, Arkansas finished with 25 commits, which just so happens to be the 25th article of the “State Of The Hogs” series. The way the last 364 days of recruiting had unfolded, one would imagine the 365th day would have ended with fireworks.
Coach Morris had his sights set on four recruits when he woke up this morning. RB A’Montae Spivey, DB Adonis Otey, LB Lakia Henry, and LB Chris Russell. Going into the day it seemed reasonable to expect two and possibly three of the four to sign. Most people were confident with Spivey and Henry, with Otey and Russell being dark horses. Even though Adonis Otey was a Razorback commit he decided to have an announcement to where he will be playing his college football. Seemed a little fishy, and it resulted in the talented DB putting on the USC Trojan hat. An hour prior to Otey’s disappointing announcement we saw Spivey hold true to his commitment and stick with the Razorbacks even with a frantic 11th hour push from Ole Miss.
At this point Coach Morris was 1/2 with a near lock to go 1/2 on the linebackers. Roughly an hour before Lakia’s 1:00 PM commit time, reports came out it would be pushed back to 1:30 PM. That was the first red flag. The second red flag came shortly after the first when recruiting analysts started to change their prediction from “WPS” to “HottyToddy”. Not good, not good at all. The fear of only getting one of the four players started creeping in on Hog fans. 1:30 rolls around, leading to nervous Hog fans jumping into the live-stream of Lakia’s junior college gymnasium. After his speech Lakia picks up the Ole Miss ball-cap with his mother grinning ear to ear. Yes, it was a great moment for their family. But what a gut punch that was to not only the Razorback fan base, but also the coaching staff. This past weekend, Lakia had drove from Tennessee to Austin to meet with the Longhorns coaching staff. Directly after the Texas visit, he drives up to Fayetteville to meet with Coach Morris and the staff. He even went out to lunch with star Razorback linebacker De’Jon Harris. Oh and by the way, during this road-trip he had his girlfriend in the passenger seat. While on the visit, reports came out that he had great talks with the coaches and had maybe even made his choice. A four star LB from a junior college would have easily been in the two-deep and probably next to De’Jon in the starting lineup. Not getting Lakia was a blow to the sails of the U.S.S. Razorback.
Even with the disappointing finish, this class is still head and shoulders above what any Razorback fan could have imagined. Coming off of a two win year and making the “SportsCenter Not Top 10” on TWO separate occasions, who expected a top 20 class? It makes us wonder how good the recruiting can be coming off of a six, or even ten win season. Getting Adonis, Lakia, and Chris would have been a grand slam. I would say this staff hit a stand-up triple with this class that includes 13 four stars.
Nonetheless, the energy and passion of the coaching staff has drilled excitement into the hearts of fans who bleed Cardinal and White. It is a type of excitement that is hard to put into words. It’s a type of feeling when you know something great is bound to happen, but you are just not sure how long it takes to get there. The longer it takes to get to the promise land means the feeling will be that much sweeter when we get there.