By Nate Allen
Special to the News-Times
FAYETTEVILLE - Even if he had more time to recruit them, the eight players he added with Wednesday’s start of the February signing period and the eight he signed in the Dec. 20 early signing period would be a recruiting class he wanted to sign, new Arkansas coach Chad Morris said Wednesday.
Morris had been on the job just 14 days when and was still putting together a staff when he signed eight recruits.
He had completed his staff just weeks ago and had been on the job 61 days when the Razorbacks Wednesday inked defensive back Joseph Foucha of McDonogh High School in New Orleans; linebacker Andrew Parker, of Sophie B. Wright High School in New Orleans; Noah Gatlin, offensive lineman, Jonesboro; John Stephen Jones, quarterback, Dallas Highland Park; defensive back Myles Mason, Trussville, Ala.; offensive lineman Ryan Winkel, Christian Brothers High School in Memphis; defensive lineman Courtre’ Alexander, Owasso, Okla. and junior college running back Rakeem Boyd, who will transfer this summer from Independence (Kan.) Community College.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” Morris said if he would have signed all 16 had he a full year to recruit this newcomers class of 2018.
“These 16 guys right here are valuable to the success of our program moving forward. When we reflect back on this class over the next two to three years, I think you'll really realize the impact of what these young men have made to this university and this football program. I’m excited. I would take these guys all day long.”
Morris chose only to sign 16, though noting, “We're not done yet. We'll potentially have a few more.”
Recruiting services consistently ranked Arkansas’ recruiting 14th among the SEC’s 14 teams.
Morris maintained he’s unfazed whether his recruiting ranks high or low with the recruiting services and those putting the number of recruiting stars by which they rate prospects.
“Zero,” Morris replied. “Absolutely none. I don't care what other people think of other programs. I care about our program. What excites me is the fact that what we can do as we build this program up. Are we a better football program right now than we were 61 days ago?
“And the answer to that is yes. And that's the only thing that matters to me is, ‘Are we going to get better today?’ And we are.
“We signed eight guys that are going to make a contribution to this football program added to the eight in December and those 16 guys are going to come in and they’re going to make people uncomfortable.
“They're going to push people that maybe have gotten comfortable on this roster. When you get that, you've created some competition.”