Arkansas Recruiting Notepad

By Otis Kirk

FAYETTEVILLE — It was a productive recruiting weekend for the University of Arkansas in various sports.

The football team picked up three new commitments to bring its total for the Class of 2023 to 17. The new pledges includes two recruits from Georgia and one from Mississippi.

From Georgia, Arkansas landed McDonough Eagles Landing cornerback RJ Johnson, 6-3, 180, and Fayetteville Clearwater defensive tackle Stephen Johnson, 6-4, 310. In Mississippi, Arkansas landed Oxford linebacker Alex Sanford, 6-3, 240.

Sanford moved to Oxford from Milwaukee, Wisc., so he had no ties to Ole Miss despite an offer from them. As a junior, Sanford had 120 tackles, 84 solo, 17 for loss, three sacks, five quarterback hurries, two pass breakups, one fumble recovery, blocked two punts and a kick.

What were the biggest factors for you choosing Arkansas on your first official visit you had scheduled?

“For one, me personally, I’m real family orientated,” Sanford said. “Come to Arkansas and it’s family everywhere. Coach (Sam) Pittman he’s like family, Coach (Mike) Scherer he’s like family. The players are like family. Everybody is straight family. I’m real family orientated so it’s got to be family first.

“Then the way this defense is set up for me. It’s set up for linebackers to make plays. When you come here you’re going to make plays. You are going to get playing time. So there’s lots you are going to do here. That’s why I’m coming here.”

RJ Johnson visited Arkansas the June 17-19 weekend. He chose Arkansas over offers to 27 other schools. He plays both ways for his high school. In 2021 on offense, Johnson caught 23 passes for 594 yards and six touchdowns.

Stephen Johnson chose the Razorbacks after narrowing his offers down to Maryland, Liberty and Arkansas. As a junior, Johnson had 65 tackles, 20 solo, a sack, one interception, a forced fumble and blocked a kick.

Getting On The Muss Bus

Eric Musselman picked up his first commitment for the Class of 2023 with a pledge from 6-2 point guard Layden Blocker.

Blocker held his press conference at his former high school Central Arkansas Christian. He now plays at Wichita (Kan.) Sunrise Christian Academy. Blocker is the No. 28 recruit in the nation according to ESPN.  In 13 games with Brad Beal Elite on the Nike EYBL circuit this spring, Blocker averaged 16.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists.

Blocker is a four-star recruit who chose the Hogs over Kansas, Kansas State, Maryland and many others. He took an official visit to Arkansas in early June then canceled his trip to the Kansas Jayhawks.

From Duke to Arkansas

Arkansas softball head coach Courtney Deifel announced the addition of infielder/utility player Kristina Foreman, a graduate transfer from Duke, to the program on Saturday. Foreman will be immediately eligible with one year of eligibility remaining.  

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Kristina,” said Deifel. “She is a proven competitor that has performed and produced at an elite level through her time at Duke. She brings a great deal of experience and power to our already dynamic lineup. On top of that, she is an incredibly impressive student and leader, and there is no doubt she will make an immediate impact on our program.” 

At Duke, Foreman had 165 starts in four years with the majority of those coming at second base. Foreman led the Blue Devils in batting average (.398), OPS (1.267), RBI (56), slugging percentage (.797) while ranking second on the team in hits (51), home runs (15), runs scored (41) and total bases (102) in 2022.

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