Arkansas is light years away from having elite talent - don't believe the hype
By now most people know that recruiting matters in college football, and we are here to fight the nonbeliever out there, like our recent re-up piece on, why recruiting matters in college football.
But, most people know it matters, which is why college football recruiting has such a dynamic following. Recently a post was written on seccountry.com by Trent Shadid and they opened the panel for questions on Arkansas football.
One of the questions came from a fan asking," Compared to SEC recruiting monsters like Bama, LSU, Auburn, Ole Miss, and Georgia, Arkansas has always been a step(s) behind. What are the Razorbacks missing to gain that recruiting edge and to get a top 15-10 class? Will Morris ever achieve this? #WPS".
I like the guys and gals at SEC Country, as they do a good job, but on this particular instance, what we saw was some grand standing and "i have no idea" in the form of an answer.
You can read the entire article here, but the answer given was this and I quote, "The easy answer is to say Arkansas could never do it because of its location. The prep talent inside Arkansas just won’t quite stack up with Alabama, Louisiana or even Mississippi in any given recruiting cycle. Fayetteville being much closer to Oklahoma and Missouri rather than Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas doesn’t help either. But let’s avoid the easy answer here and focus on what could be the best-case scenario for Arkansas on the recruiting trail", Shadid said. He continued, "If Morris can’t get Arkansas some top-15 recruiting classes, I don’t know who could. He has the right connections in the right places. He is a relentless recruiter and a strong salesman with a penchant for building strong relationships. That’s all a recipe for recruiting success on The Hill."
To the authors credit, he did list the issues recruiting to Arkansas and the uphill battles of recruiting in the SEC West.
However, if history is an indicator, the Hogs luck won't change anytime soon in recruiting. If you go back all the way to the year 2000, Arkansas's 19 year recruiting composite is 26th in the country. That's not terrible, but when you are in the same division with Alabama, Auburn, LSU and others - it matters.
As we told you last week, recruiting matters and the average four year composite of a National Championship participant since 2000, is 8th in the country. The graph below shows just how far the Hogs are from even thinking about being an elite program.
Arkansas's average recruiting ranking is light years away from the elites of college football and they tend to spray classes, only once even touching the national line, back in 2001 under Houston Nutt. and the further away from the Gold line you go on the graph, the worse off you are, and Arkansas has been traveling the wrong way since about 2015.
Many feel Chad Morris could be the answer, and while Morris did recruit Deshaun Watson, Demarre Kitt, Chadd Kelly, Ben Boulware and Shaq Lawson to Clemson - he is a lazy recruiter per Dave Bartoo of the College Football Matrix. In this audio piece courtesy of Out of Bounds on our station on 105.9 in Jackson with Bo Bounds, Bartoo talks about Morris recruiting smaller players, bad player development at SMU and a smaller radius of recruiting than the previous staff under June Jones.
While Morris did take over a team that went 1-11 at SMU, and improved their win total to seven games a year ago, he still had SMU playing some of the worst defense in the country as they gave up 46, 36 and 37 points per game from 2015-17.
Of all the coaches hired in 2018 in the SEC, Morris is still the one guy who has to "show me", most over the next few years.
We start dropping our entire 2018 analytics on 4-4-18, but as we continue to throw bones out there, we have Morris the 41st best coach in 2018 with an Hour Glass Stamp of -1. Our average coaching value in 2018 is set at 3.75, so he has some work to do to even get back to the likes of a Mike Macintyre at Colorado or even Ed Orgeron at LSU.
Again - don't look for Arkansas to make any major moves in recruiting over the next few years. While they may land a top 20 class every now and again, their history is very average.
Just this year alone - on our new 2018 three year recruiting metrics, Arkansas sits outside the talent needed to even think about making the College Football Playoff, much less coaching and quarterback play.
2018 could be a tough year for Chad Morris.