Arkansas leans heavily toward defense in 2017 class

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark-Arkansas entered National Signing Day with nine early enrollees, with hopes of a fast turnaround after last season’s disappointing 7-6 record.

The Razorbacks added to their early haul on Wednesday, signing 15 more high school standouts to bring their class to a total of 24 players.

After finishing 76th in the country in total defense last season, and allowing an average of 6.75 yard per play, Arkansas signed 14 defensive players _ highlighted by the signing-day commitment of cornerback Chevin Calloway.

Top 25 Class: On the bubble

Best in class: Montaric Brown, safety, Ashdown, Ark. The four-start safety was rated by 247Sports as the top rated player in Arkansas, and he decided to stayhome despite offers from other school such as Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Oklahoma.

Best of the rest: Melvin Johnson, DT, Riverside (Calif.) Community College; Jeremy Patton, TE, Arizona Western College; Brandon Martin, WR, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Late addition: Chevin Calloway, CB, Dallas, Texas.

One that got away: CB Brad Stewart committed Florida last weekend.

How they’ll fit in: Several freshmen on the defensive side of the ball will likely play next season, but it’s a pair of offensive standouts (Patton and Martin) who are likely to have the biggest impact in place of departed standouts Jeremy Sprinkle, Keon Hatcher and Drew Morgan.