Huge numbers of early-enrollees will only help Arkansas recruiting class

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Sam Pittman
    American football coach

Times are not far gone from when a college football program getting about a third of its recruiting class to enroll in the spring semester was considered a wild success. Eric Zeier, Georgia’s iconic quarterback of the early 1990s is largely considered the first major early-enrollee and he did it in January 1991.

Since then, the number of high-schoolers opting to skip their second semester of senior year and become college freshmen has boomed. So much so that Arkansas, with its No. 19 recruiting class in the nation, per 247Sports, is going to have 18 of its 23 new players in for spring ball.

“You get a guy in spring ball, you have a chance,” coach Sam Pittman said. “You have a chance to play. Certainly the ones that are ready, we’ll get ready. The ones that aren’t, hopefully we can get them on some type of special teams and help us through there.”

Enrolling early doesn’t guarantee immediate playing time. What it does do, however, is allow for a faster adjustment to the college game (or a new team in the case of transfers) so that when the fall football season rolls around, things don’t feel quite as unfamiliar.

Arkansas has 22 seniors on the roster. Some, like linebacker Bumper Pool, cornerback Montaric Brown and defensive tackle John Ridgeway and running back Trelon Smith, could return because of the NCAA’s extra year of eligibility granted to players who played in 2020 through the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the Hogs are going to lose a number of players in the high teens.

What early enrollees do is allow the body count not to drop for those six months before high school graduation.

“I don’t think it was too many years ago when if you got one, you got two that graduated at Christmas, it was kind of a big deal,” Pittman said. “Now, you bring in 20 guys that you bring in the spring, you’re losing 20-something, you have a chance to continue to get better.”

Arkansas’ early enrollees

Athlete Rashod Dubinion (3-star)

Running back James Jointner (3-star)

Wide receiver Quincy McAdoo (4-star)

Wide receiver Jadon Haselwood (Oklahoma transfer)

Tight end Dax Courtney (3-star)

Tight end Tyrus Washington (3-star)

Offensive lineman Andrew Chamblee (4-star)

Offensive lineman E’Marion Harris (4-star)

Offensive lineman Eli Henderson (3-star)

Defensive end Landon Jackson (LSU transfer)

Defensive end JJ Hollingsworth (3-star)

Linebacker Mani Powell (3-star)

Linebacker Jordan Crook (3-star)

Linebacker Kaden Henley (3-star)

Cornerback Jaylen Lewis (3-star)

Safety Anthony Brown (3-star)

Punter Max Fletcher (2-star)

Long-snapper Eli Stein (2-star)