UA recruiting notebook: ’21 recruiting blasts off as Hogs still in mix for more

By Kevin McPherson

LITTLE ROCK — So much for second-year Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman being “extremely patient” during class of 2021 recruiting as he notched two commitments in a span of three days covering the past week, and the Razorbacks could be in line to add more in time for the early signing period in mid-November.

In an Aug. 3 zoom meeting with the media, Musselman said he and his staff would be deliberate in evaluating prospects due to the limitations of the NCAA’s ongoing, months-long recruiting dead period, yet a few days later he added pledges from 2021 ESPN national No. 44 / 4-star prospect Chance Moore who committed on Saturday, Aug. 8 (you can read all the details here … and 2021 247Sports national No. 2 junior college prospect Akol Mawein who committed on Tuesday, Aug. 11 (you can read all the details here …

With Arkansas’ three senior-graduate transfers — Vance Jackson, Jr., Jalen Tate, and Justin Smith — set to depart following the 2020-21 season, and with at least 2-3 more players potentially leaving following the season just based on the early-attrition-law-of-averages, Musselman will undoubtedly continue his heavy mining of the college transfer portal, but there are numerous 2021 high school names that the Razorbacks are still in the mix for at this time.

* One of the hottest names in 2021 recruiting is Memphis hooper Johnathan Lawson (6-6 shooting guard, Memphis Woodale, ESPN national No. 47 / 4-star prospect) who told on Friday that Arkansas is on his list of Top 5 schools that includes Alabama, Vanderbilt, Oregon, and Iowa State, and that he plans to announce a commitment on his birthday, which is Oct. 7 (you can read all the details here …

* According to a source, Arkansas is in “great shape” with 2021 Hog offer Michael James (6-6 wing / small forward, Orlando, FL, national No. 70 / 4-star prospect according to … James listed the Hoop Hogs in his Final 8 in July, and he recently relayed that he will make his commitment announcement on Sept. 9.

* 2021 Arkansas offer DaRon Holmes (6-8 combo forward, 2020 Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year, Montverde Academy, ESPN national No. 46 / 4-star propsect) on Tuesday, Aug. 11, told “Everything’s been pretty well with (Arkansas). I’ve been keeping up and talking to them through text message and even calling. It’s been great.” 

* A source on Thursday, Aug. 13, told this regarding Arkansas’ status with 2021 Hog offer Carter Whitt (6-3 point guard, Leesville Road High School, Raleigh, N.C., composite national No. 71 / 4-star prospect): “I think Arkansas’ chances are as good as anyone.”

* 2021 Arkansas offer James White (6-5 shooting guard, Conyers, Ga., composite national No. 94 / 4-star) told on Saturday, Aug. 8, that rumors suggesting he was a silent commitment to Arkansas were false. White included Arkansas on his list of Top 12 schools in July, but less than two weeks later he announced that he was re-opening his recruitment with the caveat that the Hogs were “absolutely” still in the running for his services.

* 2021 Arkansas offer Alex Fudge (6-8 combo forward, Jacksonville, Fla., composite national No. 47 / 4-star prospect) reportedly is in constant contact with Hogs coaches since picking up his offer in late May.

* 2021 Arkansas offer David Okwera (6-10 combo forward, Melbourne, Australia) was made a priority target days after associate head coach David Patrick was hired on July 1, and a source recently confirmed that the communication lines between the Hogs and Okwera have been ongoing and positive since that early July offer and that the Hogs are “still considering” him.

* 2021 Arkansas offer Kaleb Washington (6-7 wing / small forward, Peeblebrook High School in Mableton, Ga., national No. 100 / 4-star prospect according to has remained a Hog target since picking up his offer nearly a year ago (late August 2019).

* 2021 Hog offer Trey Alexander (6-4 combo guard, Heritage Hall in Oklahoma, national No. 33 / 4-star prospect according to may well be Oklahoma-bound, but a source told that Arkansas is on his short list of potential landing spots if he opts not to commit to the homestate Sooners.

* Technically, Arkansas has made the Top 8 lists for 2021 Hog offers Jordan Nesbitt (6-6 forward, St. Louis Christian Academy, composite national No. 81 / 4-star prospect) and Arthur Kaluma (6-8 forward, Dream City Christian Academy in Arizona, composite national No. 36 / 4-star prospect), but a source said the Hogs have only talked to Nesbitt less than a handful of times while there’s a sense that Kaluma may not be as much a priority as of late.