Football Insiders...recruiting


What is preventing Arkansas from having a Top 10 or Top 15 recruiting class every year?

OU and UT (EOE-K) recruit very well out of state. As well as OSU (Cowboys).

Is it lack of facilities?
Lack of a big city? (entertainment, dinning, clubs, etc…)
Lack of superior recruiters (quantity and/ or quality)?

Just what does Arkansas need to do to be able to competitively recruit with the big boys?


I’m not an insider but have talked to a few over the years. Texas is tougher for us because we left the SWC and they blame us for it falling apart. There is one thing that stands out from some of the conversations is that we never got into some of the traditional power house HS in Texas and signed someone every year to develop a pipeline. OU used decades of slush fund relationships to develop pipelines and helped get OU loyal coaches in place at many pipeline quality HS.

Your die hard fans of Texas schools don’t like Arkansas, and jumped on our losing years when we joined the SEC. They loved how we changed coaches so much and lost our relationships in Texas high schools. A&M going to the SEC impacted Texas schools badly and they doubled down on walling off Arkansas. Danny Ford responded by signing more Alabama and Louisiana kids. HDN got back in texas but signed way too many projects from Texas. Petrino didn’t do much better than HDN in Texas outside of guys like Knile Davis. He pissed off many of the top Texas HS Coaches and Texas schools did everything they could to help remind everyone in Texas.

They have made it very tough for us at the same time other national programs signed more Texas HS kids (less loyalty to Texas) and the Texas HS FB culture changed to more spread offense.

One there is no history of getting it done in the modern era.

Is it lack of facilities? Absolutely not

Lack of a big city? (entertainment, dinning, clubs, etc…) Certainly is part of it. NWA just got its first urban station

Lack of superior recruiters (quantity and/ or quality)? Part of it - although as I have mentioned several times, it is the hardest working recruiting staff the has been here.

Location? Absolutely. The other schools have more athletes closer to them. Arkansas needs a great in-state class every year to have a chance to compete and some times do not get that.

Image? The state - sadly yes as other schools make it seem like it is still all hillbillies. The school? No.

Dudley, once again, is spot on. Arkansas does not have a history of ever having Top 10-15 classes, so I wouldn’t blame this staff for a failure to do what nobody else has done consistently here. You can blame them for a lot of things, but not that. What, I think, makes it harder for Arkansas now is that everybody else in the SEC West, with the exception of the Mississippi schools, do get those highly ranked classes. And Ole Miss was doing that some, too, though they are paying the price for that now (no pun intended).

Dudley, don’t forget your strong argument that NWA has lack of flight availability. You were real strong on this a little while back.

Fred, in part it is lack of flights and also the extreme expense of the flights that are available. Driving to Tulsa can save a huge amount of money.

Some of the reasons maybe valid, but spread offenses are the rage in Texas. Many kids want to play in that kind of offense. The offense puts up gaudy numbers. Coach B then went down to a coaches clinic and rubbed their noses in it by saying his fullback led ball control offense would beat there butts. Probably didn’t make too many friends with high school coaches.

I seriously doubt Arkansas leaving the SWC has anything to do with it. That 25+ years ago.

Yes, with what he mentioned. But IMO, he ignored the absolutely most critical element: winning and winning big.

Arkansas was having great success mostly when it was in the SWC, but also winning conference championships. Right up to the year it announced it’s departure for the SEC.

We immediately began a losing streak (not every game guys) that mostly continued until HDN and Petrino each had a couple good years.

From about 1990 onward, Arkansas became irrelevant in the state of Texas and has not recovered because we are not winning.

Even OU had some problems recruiting Texas three or four years prior to 2017 class, because it wasn’t winning like OU normally does.

And it doesn’t matter who recruits for us in Texas, we will sign a few that have no strong loyalties to the state, but we will never recruit Texas well until Arkansas can prove it’s relevancy by consistently winning at a high level.

I have some serious doubts we can do that with coach Bret. His offense is not geared to what most Texas kids are doing in high school right now.

The Austin-American released its fab 55 for 2018. These are the players we are in on plus the rank.

  1. Max Wright                     DE     Katy Taylor
  2. Jalen Green CB Houston Heights
  3. Al’vonte Woodard WR Houston Lamar
  4. Alston Oril LB Rockwall
  5. Bumper Pool LB Lucas Lovejoy - Commited
  6. Wrik Ezukanma WR Keller Timber Creek
  7. Miles Battle WR Houston Cypress Creek
  8. Keaontay Ingram RB Carthage

I’m sure this will change over the months.GHG!

An impressive list, no doubt. I know of Pool and watched Ingram in his state championship win at Jerry’s World this past season.

Be interesting to know which have ties, or not, to the state or the university.

I’ve posted this elsewhere, so forgive me if I am beating a dead horse: Texas recruiting is not about relationships with this staff, it is about relationships that date back 50+ years. Barry Switzer at OU was able to take advantage of relationships in East and North Texas that were established 20 years before he arrived. Relationships: not just people, but the “people-helping business.” The network of boosters working to help recruiting was built prior to integration by OU. UT and A&M had their own methods, but SMU, TCU, and Baylor were all about tossing cash, usually without a lot of concern for who noticed, at recruits.

OU and OSU really got burned in 2016 by payola. Stoops told a booster group that he wondered if OU could succeed in the modern recruiting climate in TX. We all know they did just fine this year.

Now, that requires players who are willing to be bought. Parents who are willing to let their child be a commodity. Coaches who are willing to lose their teaching credentials if caught. It only takes 1-2 recruits a year, though, to tip the scales. Arkansas seems to not want to play that game, and after being burned by a couple of elite recruits late in the 2016 recruiting cycle it is easy to see why. If you happen to not have a “plus” recruiter in that particular territory you never get a foot in the door. Lots of factors.

I think UA does a brilliant job of evaluating talent. I think they do a good job of building relationships with players and families, and especially those who find the academic/family/character message one that resonates. We need an additional plus recruiter, maybe, or a few more wins to keep a few more elite talents interested deep into the process.

i have a friend who is somewhat famous for his coaching ability (retired x 3 years) who is a grad of UT and in their Hall of Fame who when he did coach for UT had only one principal area to recruit, Allen TX plus the immediately adjacent area. They were going to cull what they wanted and focused on the highest yield so Allan knew kids from early on and those kids and parents and fans of the school knew when UT was in the house. So many staffs have well developed long standing relationships (word of choice in this thread) that are hard to lose. Arkansas has no compelling attractiveness to most of our TX targets compared to A&M or Ut, but still why do OU and OSU get more than their share? I think it is the BB attitude that comes across in most interviews and probably recruiting tact, he just does not make it seem that he gives a sh_t about how traditional a kid and his school might be, because it is only his view that counts. Simplistic? Yes, but it is hard to deny that a high school gets on a roll and keeps the talent rolling out because of their successful system. Why are we now out of Shreveport and South Dallas which would seem like excellent sites to get a kid to want to come to NWA. South FL kids like our topography and speed of living, but damn is it hard to get to XNA. Zilch presence in Nashville and not real strong in Memphis anymore. St Louis, KC? not much. More talent in both places than that which we get out of BB’s comfort roots in the Big Ten. Too much ego at the top in a negative way as opposed to Saban (much bigger ego) to ever get over the hump on recruiting. Tracy Rocker is still a great recruiter, but his wife would have preferred he stay in the NFL because of the attractions that appeal to her and the cost it extracts for Tracy to be a great recruiter, How many kids that he has to suck up to (her words) would ever be equal to Tracy in talent? close to zero obviously. He does it and continues on. Name anyone similar on our staff.

How about Va Tech? definitely more isolated than Fayetteville. Pretty damn successful consistently more so than us:

Every point made has a counter. We just don’t have enough recruiters on staff to match the talent in the SECW. Outcoach em? That would be a true insult to all the other staffs. If we continue the course, not much hope for a big change lest Saban gets injured or Coach O gets convicted of a crime or gets caught sleeping with a dead boy to borrow from Eddie Edwards long ago on why his machine kept rolling. Nothing that BB has put together suggests we will ever make a recruiting splash. That is the BB comfort zone. Analytics will tell you he was not the boy wonder of the Big Ten that we want him to have been. You can beat skill, but you cannot beat luck. How much of BB’s success was luck? mucho and a lot of serendipitous timing.

So you just assume he doesn’t give a sh*t because of what??

Both Dudley and Richard have said that no coaches have recruited as hard as CBB and his group ever.
Is it because you believe that they have to recruit Tx only and not other areas?
They and all schools must spread out to get any players they can that match their system. That is also one reason that he looks beyond TX, most now run the spread offense. He can get the recs and rb but the lineman simply do not run block as much.
Sure a good lineman can learn but it is just the same as a QB who has never been under center and you stick him back there. What happens?? fumble city.

I live in the Houston area and there are tons of great ath. Hell the high schools within 15 miles of me have more D1 talent than the whole state of ark.
However all run the spread, the lineman basically look like TEs
I firmly believe that CBB will get this going but we will NEVER be a top 10 recruiting team.
Most commits get the bump if they commit to ala and if they do so for Ark then no so much
There is a grading curve that is applied to us

When should we expect to reap the benefits in recruiting in Texas of aTm joining the SEC and playing aTm in Dallas every year?

You would be surprised. There are a lot of old Tejas school Alumni that still hate us and do anything they can to influence HS coaches. We have a very hard time getting into a TX HS and developing a pipeline with the HS coaches. We need pipelines like we are developing in Louisiana and Florida. We have a long history and a border with Tejas yet we do not have pipeline HS relationships like FL and LA. OU used decades of slush fund relationships to develop pipelines and helped get OU loyal coaches in place at many pipeline quality HS. Okie St has been successful the last 10 years in breaking through in better HS in TX.

I think the last piece of the puzzle is getting a highly respected recruiter that focuses on Tejas. Some teams hire a HS coach as a Liaison to constantly develop relationships. Maybe we need one that just focuses upon TX?

I think many of us have some egg on our face for thinking A&M would not be a negative. It doesn’t help that we are getting beat by A&M for a number of years in Dallas.

Dudley, don’t forget your strong argument that NWA has lack of flight availability. You were real strong on this a little while back.

Not one of his questions, but yes, I stand by that. Even gave your flight data.

You disagree?

When the coaches decide to take advantage of it.

People far more smarter than me have written articles with research.

Arkansas has dropped the ball by losing to Texas A&M so many times in a row now.

Even Stevie Wonder could see that

It will always be first and foremost about winning. I thought that was a given