FAYETTEVILLE — No. 17 Arkansas is 4-2 on the season and has 18 commitments for the Class of 2022, but aren’t finished.
In addition to the 18 verbal pledges. Sam Pittman awarded a scholarship to wide receiver Warren Thompson, a transfer from Florida State. Thompson counts against the Class of 2022 total since he hadn’t been on the Arkansas campus for a year when awarded the scholarship.
So what is Pittman looking for to finish up the class of 2022?
“Well, and I don’t want to be vague, I want to answer your question,” Pittman said Wednesday. “The No. 1 thing is that we wouldn’t turn down, I think we’re going to end up getting to a number, I don’t know what that is, but we wouldn’t turn down a great one at any position, one that we go, ‘We have to have him.’ But we’re light at the wide receiver room.”
An interesting Class of 2022 recruit visiting for the Auburn game is Kennesaw (Ga.) North Cobb four-star wide receiver Samuel Mbake, 6-3, 205. He holds close to 30 offers including such SEC schools as Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee and South Carolina as well as national powers all around the country. The Razorbacks recently re-offered him.
Pittman continued on what he was looking for in the current class.
“We probably would take an exceptional tackle, offensively,” Pittman said. “We need pass rushers on defense. I think we’re doing well at linebacker. If you went to the portal and looked at some different things… We’d take a corner, a speed corner. Then you go in the portal and you start looking at, are you willing to take a tight end? Are you willing to take a rush end? Are you willing to take a corner? How about a wideout? There’s a lot of places that I think we could help our football team through the portal.
“We’ll have some scholarships saved for that reason. Not a bunch. I don’t believe in wholesale changes. I believe in building the program through the high school ranks. You just have to win enough games to be here to coach the guys. That’s the problem with doing it the way I want to do it. But I’m old and I’m going to do it like I want to. Hopefully it’ll work out.”
PAIR OF VISITORS FOR SATURDAY
Hogville.net has found out that Bryant Class of 2023 running back, wide receiver Chris Gannaway, 5-10, 170, will be at the Arkansas game on Saturday. Gannaway is a key member of the 5-1 Bryant team. This season, he has carried 80 times for 508 yards and nine touchdowns while catching 10 passes for 162 yards and two more touchdowns. Bryant faces winless Little Rock Southwest tonight.
Another visitor is Bentonville West Class of 2023 running back, linebacker Marcus Whitmore Jr., 6-0, 192. Whitmore’s father was a talented recruit from Independence (Kan.) Community College who played for the Hogs lettering in 2003 and 2004. Whitmore and his teammates are 3-3 and host 2-4 Har-Ber tonight in a conference game.
PITTMAN FAVORS RULE
Pittman offered up his thoughts on the recruiting topic of allowing up to seven scholarships to replace transfers you lose to the portal.
“I think you have to have something like that because I think there will be a lot of programs who will have more go out, and if you keep maximizing at 25, you’re going to be at 70 before you know it down the road,” Pittman said. “Then, they’re going to fire you, and the new guy comes in and has 68 guys on scholarship and they’re going to fire that guy. You could never catch up. Currently with us, we’re not in that situation. We actually have a lot. We have 85, and we don’t have very many seniors. So, I’m sure it will benefit most every program. I don’t know how much it will benefit us this year, but down the road it certainly will whenever you have more portal transfers and more seniors. I think it’s a good rule, and I think it will try to keep the playing field even. You’d hate to see one program with 70 scholarship players and the other with 85. I think it’s the NCAA’s way to try and keep it balanced as much as possible.”
Can those transfers help get a team over the top?
“I think so,” Pittman said. “You can look at our team. You can look at Ole Miss’ team because one of their best linebackers is a transfer and obviously Otis Reese on the backend was over at Georgia when I was there. Basically, you go after needs. I think a little bit, and it’s just my opinion and doesn’t make me right, but I think a little bit of this if it has hurt anybody has probably hurt junior colleges. Normally, when you’re going in there trying to get that veteran, that quick fix, you go to junior colleges. It had to hurt them some. Obviously, us and everybody else that elects to go that route is still going to recruit J.C kids, but I think it might have hurt them with the portal more than anybody.”
Pittman is also looking into how many of his current seniors will return since the COVID rule gave everyone another year of eligibility.
“Well, right now the numbers are – what’s the word – fluid?,” Pittman said. “I think anybody is this way, to be honest with you. How many guys are going to go in the portal? How many COVID seniors, how many can you get back? That’s going to cost you a number this year where it didn’t before. How many do you want back? I think there’s so many areas of – how many scholarships are you really going to have to fill out 85? I think you probably just keep recruiting for this class, and if you’ve got a guy you go, ‘Man we just have to have,’ not a think we can develop this kid, this is a sure enough, I think you take him and then you just kind of figure it out. Because I have no idea – we’re going to ask several guys to come back that are seniors, we’ll ask several of them to come back and I don’t know how many we’ll get back. Sure helped our football team this year. If we want them back, we’re going to ask them to be in that 85, but it’s just – I tell you, it’s scary a little bit because you just don’t know. What we’re doing right now in our 2022 class, we’re just recruiting like heck, and if we can get one of them that’s going to make a difference we’re going to take him and figure it out later. And that’s the honest answer, I don’t know how else to answer.”