It’s a big year for Arkansas, as the Razorback class gets a lot bigger and stronger, but the talent on the field isn’t exactly overwhelming.
The Razorbacks have more than $3.3 million in guaranteed cash in the 2015 class, but only $700,000 in guaranteed money in 2016.
The class boasts five players who are expected to sign with NFL teams in the next two years: tight end Jordan Mills, linebacker Jordan Davis, defensive end/linebacker Darius Lewis, linebacker Jarrad Davis and offensive tackle Jordan Moore.
That group could end up being the biggest haul for the Razorbeats in the recruiting class in years.
The only thing more impressive than this class is how it all came together.
The entire Razorback staff has been at work in 2017, and all but one of those recruits were recruited by one of the four schools that already has a scholarship available for this year.
The three players who aren’t likely to sign soon have all played in a high school game, as well.
But all four of the Razorbird commitments have a major upside.
Mills and Davis are both capable of producing, and they can be effective receivers in the NFL.
Davis could be the next standout pass-rusher to make an impact for the Cowboys, as his speed, strength and hands could be enough to help them run a balanced attack.
Mills is a much more polished athlete, and he can line up anywhere along the defensive line.
Davis can line back and play the run as well, and both have some of the best hands in the country.
Mills will have to put his career on hold after a career-high 15.5 sacks in 2015, but he’s already been compared to former LSU defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney, who was also recruited by the Cowboys.
There’s no guarantee Davis will be able to stick around in the league, but there’s no denying he’s a high-quality prospect and should get a lot of opportunities to showcase his skills in his second year.
Jones, the 6-foot-6 defensive end, will likely be the biggest impact recruit of the class.
Jones is an athletic freak with some nice size and athleticism, but his biggest strength could come on the defensive end.
He can run with the best of them, and his athleticism and quickness could help him make a difference on special teams, where he can get to the quarterback and force turnovers.
He’s also the kind of athlete that will help Jones make an immediate impact on the football field.
Davis and Moore are both very skilled and have the potential to become solid defensive ends in the pros.
Davis will get an opportunity to prove he’s the kind-hearted leader the Cowboys hope he can be in the locker room.
Davis’ senior year at Arkansas was marred by a torn ACL in the 2016 season opener, but Jones was a key cog on the team and was a force on special team plays throughout the season.
It’s unclear if Davis will ever be able, or willing, to make a similar impact as he did as a freshman.
That’s not to say he won’t be a good player in the future, but it’s hard to see him ever putting up similar numbers.
The talent is there for the team to make this a legitimate bowl team.
The key is to get Davis and Davis to sign quickly.
If they both stay healthy, the team will have a real weapon on the outside.
It might take a while to find the right fit, but this team could be very good.
The 2017 Arkansas Razorbacks are led by head coach Bret Bielema, defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and linebackers coach David Perry.