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NLR's Nick Smith makes top 10 of ESPN rankings

by Richard Davenport | September 1, 2021 at 12:58 p.m.
Sylvan Hills junior Nick Smith

North Little Rock guard Nick Smith Jr. jumped from an ESPN 4-star and the No. 35 prospect nationally to a 5-star and No. 6 overall in the 2022 class in ESPN’s updated rankings.

The previously highest ranked in-state prospect in the ESPN rankings was Bobby Portis, who was the No. 16 prospect in 2013.

Smith, 6-4, 170 pounds, is expected to make an official visit to Kentucky this weekend and will visit Arkansas during the Texas football weekend on Sept. 10-12.

Razorback target and ESPN 5-star Jordan Walsh jumped three spots from No. 10 to No. 7 nationally.

Walsh, 6-7, 200 pounds, played at Oak Cliff (Texas) Faith Family Academy as a junior but is attending Southern California Academy for his senior year. He officially visited the Razorbacks, TCU and Oklahoma in June.

He is expected to officially visit Arizona State on Sept. 10, Texas on Sept. 17 and Kansas on Sept. 24.

The Razorbacks’ three 2022 commitments are rated 4-star recruits and in ESPN’s top 100.

Magnolia guard Derrian Ford, 6-4, 205 is rated the No. 69 prospect after being No. 58 in the previous rankings, while small forward Barry Dunning, 6-6, 185 of Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen, was No. 70 but is now No. 77.

Morrilton guard Joseph Pinion, 6-6, 185, cracked the top 100 at No. 95.

Junior Bryson Warren remained an ESPN 5-star, moving from No. 15 nationally to No. 14 in the 2023 class.

Warren, 6-3, 162 pounds, of Link Year Prep in Branson, Mo., made an unofficial visit to Arkansas on Aug. 1.

Other prospects with Arkansas offers in the top 60 include 5-star point guard DJ Wagner, 6-2, 170, of Camden, N.J. Next is 5-star center Baye Fall, 6-11, 207, of Denver Prep Academy, who came in at No. 2.

The Razorbacks are in pursuit of 4-star prospects forward Taylor Bol Bowen, guard George Washington III, guard KJ Lewis and forward Assane Diop.

Bol Bowen, 6-8, 195, of Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy, is rated No. 24 nationally while Washington, 6-2, 175, of Christian Academy of Louisville, Ky., is No. 25.

Lewis, 6-3, 195 of El Paso (Texas) Chapin, comes in at No. 40 and Diop, 6-10, 194, of Denver Prep Academy, is rated No. 51.

Little Rock Parkview forward Dallas Thomas, 6-7, 185, is the lone Arkansan in ESPN’s top 25 prospects in the 2024 class. He is rated No. 23 nationally.

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