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Three-star running back Chase Hayden commits to Arkansas over Illinois

The Fighting Illini made Hayden's Top 5 a few months ago.

Photo via Student Sports

Three-star running back Chase Hayden (TN) committed to Arkansas on Sunday night. The 5-foot-11 prospect had previously included Illinois in his Top 5, but he recently cut that list even further to include Oklahoma State and Missouri in addition to the Razorbacks. Hayden is currently the No. 344 overall player in 247Sports' class-of-2017 composite rankings.

"First I would like to thank my family and God for helping me in the position that I am today. I couldn't have done any of this without them. I am truly blessed to say that I am committing to the University of Arkansas.

~ Chase Hayden

Clearly not the best news for Lovie Smith and Illinois, but this commitment may perhaps have ramifications with another target. Three-star back Maleek Williams gave his own verbal to the Razorbacks in early June; the Florida native planned to visit Champaign, but the recruitment ended before those plans could be carried out. However since Arkansas just brought in another, better player at the same position, it's possible that Williams may soon get back on the phone with the Fighting Illini. We'll just have to wait and see.

Illinois' recruiting class currently ranks dead last in the Big Ten, and No. 84 in the country. I don't think it's quite time to start worrying, but if Lovie Smith isn't able to land a few commitments during the team's upcoming recruiting event, it might be time to start questioning the staff's short-term progress.