The Razorback coaching staff has made it clear they are rebuilding this team from the inside out. Already having four Offensive Linemen commits for 2019 (with a strong possibility of 1 or 2 more) they added their 9th pledge on the Defensive Line Wednesday night when Manfield (TX) Legacy’s Taurean Carter chose the Hogs over Michigan State and Wisconsin. He joins his current Legacy teammate Enoch Jackson on a commitment list that almost half of it includes guys along the defensive front.
With how grueling SEC schedules are year in and out, particularly in the SEC West, it is critical to not only get quality starters but also quality depth. These coaches have wasted no time in showing they are committed to getting the guys they need to rebuild. What is most encouraging about the whole scenario is they are not just settling on players. They are targeting guys other big time programs such as Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Auburn, Georgia, among others want as well. And they are having their way with it.
It is one thing to look good on paper, it is another to see the talent transfer from high school into Division 1 football. Defensive Line coach Steve Caldwell has proven throughout his coaching tenure that he is exceptional at transitioning his guys to the college level. During his first tenure with the Hogs in the Petrino era, he tutored Jake Bequette, Trey Flowers, and Chris Smith. While all three were NFL draft picks, Smith and Flowers to this day are major contributors to the Browns and Patriots, respectively. With the group they have on board so far it is likely the Hogs are in good position to have a solid group of not only starters, but also reliable key reserves.
The defensive front will only lose two players at the conclusion of the season (barring any transfers) so it is unpredictable to project the amount of playing time these incoming guys will see immediately. As I mentioned previously, the coaching staff understands the importance of having a developed and deep front which is what they are preparing for. All signs point to Carter being the last commit of this talented position group that has surpassed expectations. If all goes to plan, the Hogs can expect big things from these nine guys moving forward as they continue to hit the recruiting trail with full force.