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Today is the day the Razorback Nation buries some of its grief, disappointment and anger as Chad Morris signs his first full recruiting class.

Last year, with just weeks on the job, he signed 17 players. That small number is enabling him to sign as many as 29 this year, but not all today.

Today is the first day of "early' signing, although it has become the main day in college football, surpassing the first Wednesday in February.

For many SEC coaches such as Nick Saban, Kirby Smart, Jimbo Fisher and Ed Orgeron -- whose recruiting classes are ranked Nos. 1-4 nationally -- Christmas is coming early.

Morris is looking for a cornerstone in a foundation that has been crumbling for seven long years. Seven years of the fans being led to believe next year would be better, only it wasn't.

Since Bobby Petrino left, the Razorbacks are 15-43 in SEC play. That's awful, especially since Petrino was 12-4 in his last two seasons.

The program became this broken for many reasons -- many long, winding roads and too many pit stops -- but Morris knew that when he agreed to leave the safety and sanctity of SMU to take on what is currently the biggest challenge in the SEC, which is the biggest, baddest football league in America.

Today he hopes to sign at least 19 of the already-committed 26 players. Eight pledges are four-star players who turned down other SEC schools to be part of the remaking of the Razorback program.

This year's class will join last year's 17 as true believers in Morris and his methods.

They won't be the only ones, either. While it was obvious there were too many characters last season and not enough character, that doesn't apply to the entire team.

There are at least 13 or 14 returning players who want to be in that Razorback uniform and on the field. Rakeem Boyd, Devwah Whaley, De'Jon Harris, Ty Storey and Chase Hayden are a few. Cheyenne O'Grady had a little trouble to start the season, but once he made up his mind to do better, he was as good as any tight end in the SEC.

Earlier this week, wide receiver Koilan Jackson tweeted he was on his way home for Christmas but wasn't ready to take a break. Instead, he wanted to get after it, and he was looking for a quarterback to throw to him while he's home.

He had offers, including from his dad Keith who said he just can't throw the deep ball anymore.

All of those guys have the right attitude. They want to win. There is no quit in them.

The guys Morris hopes to sign today need to be on board from day one. The commitments come from 11 different states. Six are from Texas and five from Arkansas. That's a good sign.

It is generally hard for freshmen to contribute because they need another year or two of maturity, growth and strength training.

True freshman Noah Gaitlin was called on to start at left tackle last season, and he may not have won every down but he fought to the end on every down. He just needs more strength. He's got the heart.

That's why the first person a lot of new head coaches hire is a strength coach. Bob Stoops did when he went to Oklahoma. Saban wasted no time in finding the right strength coach, and the list goes on and on.

Arkansas strength coach Trumain Carroll, who played defensive end at Oklahoma State, may be the greatest thing to strength training since the barbell, but last year was too soon to tell.

With their second recruiting class, Morris and his staff are adding players who believe. It is time to start laying a new foundation.

Sports on 12/19/2018

Print Headline: WALLY HALL: Razorbacks to reinforce foundation today

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