The Recruiting Guy

Razorbacks address offensive line needs in portal

University of Arkansas football Coach Sam Pittman and offensive line coach Eric Mateos took a big step toward addressing offensive line needs by landing three of the best linemen in the NCAA transfer portal.

Former Michigan State offensive lineman Keyshawn Blackstock was first to hop on board and commit to the Hogs on Nov. 20.

On3.com rates him the No. 7 offensive tackle and the No. 118 overall transfer in the portal.

Blackstock, 6-5, 315 pounds, made an official visit to Fayetteville for the Auburn game on Nov. 11 after previously visiting Ole Miss and North Carolina State.

He picked the Hogs over scholarship offers from Rebels and Wolf Pack along with other offers from Colorado, Louisville, Maryland, Penn State, Virginia Tech and Nebraska. He has two years of eligibility remaining.

Blackstock, who played at Newton High School in Covington, Ga., was a first-team junior college All-American in 2022 at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.

He was rated as the No. 1 interior offensive lineman and the No. 6 overall prospect in the junior college ranks by On3.com's industry rankings before signing with Michigan State last December.

Blackstock played in four games at Michigan State before entering the portal on Oct. 24 after the firing of Mel Tucker as the Spartans' head coach.

The Razorbacks then secured the commitment of On3.com's top interior offensive lineman transfer when Fernando Carmona of San Jose State told Pittman and Mateos he wanted to be a Hog on Dec. 15.

Carmona, 6-5, 314 pounds, chose Arkansas over offers from Auburn, Ole Miss, Michigan State, Texas Tech, South Carolina, Pittsburgh, Arizona State and Virginia Tech.

He made an official visit to UCLA before making his way to Fayetteville on Dec. 13-15.

He was major target for Auburn and was to visit the Tigers after Arkansas but canceled the trip after committing to Pittman and Mateos before leaving Fayetteville.

Carmona was a 6-4, 225 pound tight end out of Las Vegas when he signed with San Jose State in 2021. His transition to offensive lineman saw him start 24 straight games as a redshirt freshman and sophomore.

Tight ends moving to the offensive line and being successful isn't something new. Former NFL great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Thomas is the most notable after he converted from tight end to the line at Wisconsin.

In addition to being On3.com's No. 1 interior offensive lineman in the portal, Carmona also rates as the No. 38 overall transfer. He has two years of eligibility remaining.

Four days after Carmona announced plans to be a Razorback, Tennessee transfer offensive lineman Addison Nichols followed with his commitment to Arkansas.

Nichols, 6-5, 327 pounds, is rated the No. 21 interior offensive lineman and the No. 194 overall transfer by On3.com.

He played in every regular-season game for the Volunteers this season and played in 2 games as a freshman in 2022. He could play center or guard.

Nichols officially visited Georgia Tech and Clemson before visiting Arkansas. He has three years of eligibility remaining.

A consensus 4-star prospect as a senior at Greater Atlanta Christian School, he picked Tennessee over scholarship offers from Ohio State, Florida, Georgia, Southern Cal, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, LSU, Michigan and other schools in 2022.

All three will enroll at Arkansas in January and go through offseason workouts and spring practice.

Pittman indicated Wednesday the Hogs would like to add another interior offensive lineman from the portal.

Email Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

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