Van Horn continues roster revamp with additions as Kade Smith enters portal

By Dudley E. Dawson
on 2024-06-30 15:43 PM


FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas freshman baseball player and former Harding Academy three-sport star Kade Smith (6-0, 200) has decided to enter the NCAA transfer portal.

Smith, currently playing summer ball in Alaska, announced his decision via social media on Saturday and joins Jayson Jones (Oklahoma State) and Hunter Grimes as Razorbacks to enter the portal this off season.

“I’m thankful to the University of Arkansas and coaching staff for my opportunity and believing in me, but I’ve decided to enter the transfer portal with 4 years of eligibility,” Smith wrote on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.

After seeing a significant amount of time in fall scrimmages, Smith redshirted his true freshman season and didn’t play in any games in 2024.

Although Arkansas is expecting to lose several of its outfielders due to college eligibility being exhausted and the Major League Baseball Draft July 12-14.

But the Razorbacks have also added in a number of outfielders via the transfer portal as well as high school and junior college signees.

The Razorbacks have 31 roster additions – 17 high school players, 5 junior college and 9 portal transfers – for next season.

Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn noted during a Wednesday press conference that some more may be added to the list.

Southeast Community College catcher and first-team All-American Elliott Peterson, whose .517 batting average (98 of 176) led the junior college ranks and had 15 home runs and 91 RBIs in just 59 games last season, is expect to visit Arkansas soon.

Arizona State second baseman Ethan Mendoza (.315, batting average, 3 HRs, 24 RBIs in 54 games) is slated to do the same.

Coaching changes at Texas and Texas A&M could play into that and losing players to the draft could be factors per Van Horn.

“Well, we’re still pretty active, honestly, but I can’t put a number on it because there’s getting ready to be a lot more movement,” Van Horn said. “You’re going to see some movement from a couple teams in Texas, and some of them might jump from one team to the other.

“Or, maybe this is their time to get out and do something else. There will be some big names, but you’re talking a lot of money for some of these kids that are going to be out, and I mean a lot (of money).”

Van Horn noted that with name, image and likeness involved has made recruiting a very transactional process.

“I don’t think people realize what’s going on in the NIL scene in college baseball when you’re talking two, three, $450,000 to get a player,” Van Horn said. “There’s some that can do it a lot, some that can do it a little.

“It’s never over because of that draft that should have been last week, or the week before, which would have been nice. Because it affects everybody. It trickles down all the way to the incoming high school senior that’s coming to school.”

Smith is playing this summer for the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks in the Alaska Baseball League.

As of Saturday, he was hitting .158 (3 of 19) through eight games with five walks and also being hit by a pitch.

Smith committed to the Razorbacks on June 23, 2021 after a sophomore season win where he went 9-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings.

A member of Harding Academy state championship teams in baseball, football and basketball, Smith also was a star at the plate as a sophomore with a .544 average with 5 home runs, 27 RBis and 12 stolen bases.

Smith was rated the No. 2 overall prospect and the No. 1 third baseman in Arkansas by Perfect Game and Rated the No. 4 overall prospect and the No. 1 third baseman in Arkansas by Prep Baseball Report.

He was also a 2023 Perfect Game Preseason All-American, a 2022 Perfect Game Preseason Underclass All-American and a 2021 Perfect Game Preseason Underclass All-American.

Photo by John D. James

Arkansas transfer portal additions (9):

• Kuhio Aloy, 1B-DH, 6-1, 200, BYU
• Landon Beidelschies, .LHP, 6-3, 225, Ohio State

Carson Boles, OF, 5-11, 190, Lincoln Memorial

Charles Davalan, OF-2B, 5-10, 180, Florida Gulf Coast University

Carson Hansen, OF, 6-2, 220, Milwaukee

Aiden Jimenez, RHP, 6-3, 216, Oregon State

Maximus Martin, SS-OF, 6-1, 185, Georgia State

Logan Maxwell, OF, 5-10, 175, TCU

Rocco Peppi, OF, 5-11, 200, Fresno State

Arkansas junior college signees (5):

•  Brent Iredale, 3B, 6-2, 220, Hobbs (NM) New Mexico JC

Kolton Reynolds, OF, 6-2, 215, Neosho (Mo.) Crowder CC

Trenton Rowan, INF, 6-2, 200, Liberal (Kan.) Seward County CC

Carson Schrack, IF, 5-9, 170, Coffeyville (Kan.) CC

Justin Thomas, OF, 6-0, 190, Florida Southwestern State (Georgia)

Arkansas high school signees (17):

Tag Andrews, RHP, 6-0, 185, Maumelle

Zane Becker C, 6-0, 185, Flower Mound, Texas

 Kel Busby, RHP, 6-2, 200, Pulaski Academy

Brenton Clark, OF, 6-0, 190 Texarkana (Texas) Pleasant Grove

Eli Crecelius, RHP, 6-2, 210, Valley View
• Lance Davis, RHP, 60-4, 205, Valley View

Steele Eaves, RHP, 6-0, 195, Lonoke
• Jackson Farrell, LHP, 6-3, 210, Owasso (Okla.) Jenks

Ross Felder, RHP, 6-3, 190, Springdale Har-Ber

Gabe Fraser, INF, 6-2, 185, Westmister (Calif.) Orange Lutheran

Cole Gibler, LHP, 6-0, 175, Blue Springs, Mo.
• Sam Lee, OF, 5-011, 175, Montgomery, Texas, Lake Creek

Tyson Lewis, INF, 6-2, 195, Yulan (Neb.) Millard West
• Eli Lovich, OF, 6-4, 175, Overland Park (Kan.) Blue Valley West

Wade Mountz, RHP, 6-7, 230, Morgan Hills (Calif.) Bellarmine College Prep

Carson Wiggins, RHP, 6-5, 210, Roland, Okla.
• Carson Willis, C, 5-11, 195, Rogers P27 Academy

(Last updated: 2024-06-30 15:43 PM)