Recruits stand strong behind Hogs

Posted: November 4, 2017 at 1 a.m.

Earle quarterback Gerry Bohanon scrambles as England defender Simeon Brooks pursues him during a playoff game Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, in England.

Before last Saturday’s 38-37 win at Ole Miss, Arkansas’ football program was having a tough October.

In fact, the Razorbacks had not led in a game during the month before Connor Limpert drilled a game-winning field goal with just four seconds left.

But even with that struggle, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was getting great comfort from not only other coaches on campus, but from his 2018 recruiting class.

Bielema let it be known that dealing with recruits hasn’t really been as bad as one might have thought during the skid.

“It really isn’t,” Bielema said. “Two weeks ago — and as head coach, I try to hit as many guys as I can — I wanted to make sure after the Alabama game that I made contact with every committed kid to us.

“I would often ask their parents to get on the phone with us and make a joint call together. We go after kids with great high character and demeanor and that was probably one of the more enjoyable parts.”

The win over the Rebels was followed by a wave of congratulations from the Razorbacks’ 11 current commits.

“After the game, you know you are going to hear from a lot of other people, right?” Bielema said. “But just the amount of responses from our current commits, our current commits’ parents, our current player roster and their parents, former players, not only the ones who played for me, but ones who played (at Arkansas) before me.”

Arkansas is hosting a pair of official visitors this weekend against Coastal Carolina. Cornerback Byron “B.J.” Hanspard Jr., of DeSoto, Texas, and uncommitted quarterback Gerry Bohanon (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) of Earle.

DeSoto’s only loss has been to Duncanville 24-14 on Oct. 27.

Hanspard has accumulated more than 30 tackles and a pair of interceptions this season while also catching 25 passes for 323 yards and a touchdown. He’s also rushed for nearly 100 yards and returned a kickoff 62 yards.

Hanspard has been selected to play in the Under Armour All-American game. He picked Arkansas over Oregon, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Vanderbilt and others.

“I can’t wait to get up there,” Hanspard said. “I just think it is where God has led me for this next chapter in my life.”

Bohanon is Hawgs Illustrated’s co-top player in the state along with Greenwood quarterback Connor Noland. Bohanon has had a big senior season. ESPN rates Bohanon the No. 8 dual-threat quarterback and the No. 122 overall senior.

He has completed 69 of 106 passes for 1,745 yards and 17 touchdowns while rushing for 835 yards and 13 touchdowns on 45 carries this season.

Bohanon has offers from Arkansas, Alabama, Louisville, Ole Miss, Baylor, Georgia, Mississippi State and others. He threw for 2,734 yards and rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a junior.

Arkansas will be Bohanon’s first official visit. He looks forward to spending time with the coaching staff.

“I want to really spend time with Coach Enos and Coach B, and also the players,” Bohanon said. “I want to get to know them as people, outside of football. If I end up there, I want to know what type of guys I’m going to be playing with and what the program could do for me as a player and as a young man.”

Dudley Dawson is the recruiting editor for Hawgs Illustrated magazine.