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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. works with players prior to a game against Texas A&M on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. - Photo by Ben Goff

Even during the heart of a football season, recruiting has to be a focal point for college football coaches around the country.

It’s no different at Arkansas, with 11 pledges and 13 spots filled (including two blue shirts currently on the roster) in a 2018 recruiting class that will be limited to 15-18 scholarships.

The Razorbacks (1-2) are hosting New Mexico State (2-2) at 11 a.m. today with Iowa Western offensive lineman Noah Banks (6-foot-7, 310 pounds) taking an official visit, and several unofficial visitors also scheduled to be on hand.

“We are doing our best to finish out this class in the best way possible,” Arkansas assistant Barry Lunney Jr. said. “We talk about recruiting every day in the staff room and sometimes it’s about a player, sometimes about a position and sometimes we are adjusting to what we need as we go throughout the season and learn more about our team.”

Arkansas’ staff, which seems to be looking at offensive linemen, linebackers, defensive linemen and a best player available to close out the class, is constantly using any free time to talk to both 2018 and 2019 prospects.

“It is just something that I think everyone just learns that when you have a moment or two free, you use it in social media or texting a kid or a coach or a parent,” Lunney said. “You just kind of use the open space to take advantage of it. It may be 11 o’clock in the morning and you have 30 minutes between meetings and you are going to get on there and check a kid’s Twitter and send him a message saying, ‘Good luck this week.’

“It’s just you take care of the opportunities and the windows there are, but there are also certain parts of the night that you set aside to make calls. You kind of get in a routine.”

The Arkansas staff began contacting 2019 recruits on Sept. 1, the date allowed by the NCAA.

“The one thing about the spring is that you can only deal with 2018, but when you add 2019s, then it can get hectic in a minute,” Lunney said. “It’s just the name of the game. You have to get out in front of it.

“But when you have a smaller class and get some commits out front, it does give you time to at least mentally turn the page a little bit to the next class, but from an activity point, you just stay right in there with them.”

Arkansas recently lost the pledge of Mesquite (Texas) Horn standout Maureese Wren (6-4, 215). The Razorbacks were recruiting Wren as an outside linebacker, but he came to the conclusion that he only wanted to play wide receiver.

The staff maintains constant contact with its pledges, according to Lunney.

“We recruit our guys that are committed just like they are not committed,” Lunney said. “That’s our philosophy. You stay with them, recruit them and develop relationships.”

The Razorbacks had a large contingent of prospects on hand at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for the annual Southwest Classic matchup with Texas A&M last week. The home team each year is allowed to give tickets to prospects, but cannot have interaction with the athletes while at the venue.

“Why would they pass up an opportunity to see us at the Cowboys’ stadium?” Lunney asked. “It was a good turnout and it’s a unique deal being the home team.

“You have to take advantage of everything you can in recruiting and that’s something that allows us to have a presence in an area that is vital to our program.”

Dudley Dawson is the recruiting editor for Hawgs Illustrated magazine.

Print Headline: No rest for coaches on recruiting trail

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