Recruiting Guy

Razorbacks’ in-state class takes a hit in rankings

When Pine Bluff receiver Courtney Crutchfield reopened his recruitment on Saturday after being committed to the University of Arkansas since April, the Hogs' in-state class took a hit in the recruiting rankings.

Prior to Crutchfield reopening his recruiting, he along with the other five pledges averaged 89.70 per prospect, according to On3.com's industry rankings which combines the ratings and rankings from all four major recruiting services.

Crutchfield said he's still considering the Hogs. Should he come back to the fold -- and he and the other commitments hold their current rankings -- the Razorbacks' 2024 class would rank as the second-best in-state class for the Hogs since 2010. Without him, the class average drops to 89.02 per recruit and would rank as the fourth best in that span.

The only in-state class with a higher per-prospect industry ranking average than 89.70 was the 2016 class, which had four signees and an average prospect ranking of 91.82. The class was headed by defensive lineman McTevin Agim's 97.41 ranking. Agim's industry ranking is the highest of any in-state prospect since 2010.

The only UA commitments with higher prospect averages are quarterback Mitch Mustain (98.95) in 2006 and running back Darren McFadden (98.67) in 2005.

Defensive line pledge Charleston Collins, 6-5, 270 pounds, of Mills, is the highest-rated in-state and overall prospect with an average ranking of 93.75. Crutchfield, 6-2, 175, is the second-highest rated in-state prospect with a 93.09 average.

Collins' position industry ranking is No. 13 nationally while being the No. 84 overall recruit in the country. Crutchfield's position industry ranking is No. 21 nationally and the No. 114 overall recruit in the country.

Benton running back Braylen Russell, 6-2, 230, is now the second-highest rated in-state commitment for the Razorbacks with an industry ranking of 89.79 and 4-star status. He's rated a 4-star by three recruiting services, while On3.com rates him a 3-star.

His industry rankings are No. 27 nationally at his position and No. 331 overall in the country.

Linebacker Wyatt Simmons, 6-3, 215 of Harding Academy, is now the third highest rated in-state pledge with an industry ranking of 88.56. A consensus 3-star prospect, Simmons' position ranking nationally is No. 48 and while his overall national ranking is No. 503.

While prospects often have an argument for being underrated, Simmons very well could have a strong case. He was a virtually unknown on the national level until the spring when he blew up with scholarship offers from Arkansas, Texas, Clemson, Auburn, Florida State, Oklahoma, Miami, Ole Miss, Tennessee and several others.

Simmons took official visits to Arkansas, Auburn and Clemson, while Oklahoma, Texas and Stanford were trying to convince to visit their campuses. Texas and Florida State continue to reach out several times a week and Auburn is also still making contact.

His explosiveness and closing speed are on par with the top linebackers in the nation while also being very physical. He's a candidate for an uptick in the rankings.

Receiver pledge CJ Brown, 6-1, 180, of Bentonville, has an industry ranking of 87.22 while coming in at No. 116 nationally at his position and as the No. 735 overall prospect in the country.

Fort Smith Southside offensive lineman Kobe Branham, 6-6, 320, rounds out the class with a 85.82 industry ranking. He's rated the No. 94 interior offensive lineman and the No. 1,049 overall recruit in the nation. He and Brown are consensus 3-star recruits.

South Carolina's five in-state pledges with an average of 91.97 leads the SEC in On3.com's industry rankings followed by Texas A&M's eight commitments with an average of 91.95. Georgia's in-state eight commitments come in third with a 91.67 average.

Florida's six commits have the fourth-best average with 91.27, while Auburn's nine commits come in next with a 91.19 average.

Alabama's nine commitments is sixth-best in the SEC with an 89.97 average. Tennessee's six pledges average of 89.71 has the Volunteers as the seventh-best in-state class.

The remaining SEC schools in order are Ole Miss (89.47), LSU (89.32), Arkansas (89.02), Kentucky (88.94), Missouri (88.83), Mississippi State (88.56) and Vanderbilt (86.26).

The Hogs' in-state class is 10th in the SEC without Crutchfield and eighth with him.

Texas and Oklahoma will join the SEC for the 2024 season. The Longhorns' 11 in-state commitments average 90.72, while the Sooners' six pledges average 89.97.

The early signing period is Dec. 20-22, so there's likely to be some additions and subtractions to some of the above classes.

Email Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

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