I just returned from a Rotary meeting where Barry Grooms, of Hootens, was the speaker. Barry is a big supporter of, and believer in, Arkansas HS football. He is predisposed to believing that the Hogs (and ASU for that matter) should be recruiting the state more. I don’t get the impression that Barry is much of a Razorback supporter (he is an ASU grad). With that said, I was troubled by a couple of his remarks…
He spoke highly of Chad Morris because of his coming from HS coaching as Gus did, etc. I think Barry really likes Gus, so he probably likes Chad because of the association between the two. Nonetheless, he said the only negative he has heard about Coach Morris since he got here, is that he has not recruited the state of Arkansas hard enough. He said Stanford had sent a coach (lots of different ones) to every single one of a prospect’s (clearly Hudson Henry) spring practices, and Arkansas had not done that. He then implied that they haven’t worked hard enough on Treylon Burks and word is that LSU is a strong possibility. He also mentioned the likelihood that Wilkens would leave the state (of which I am aware). He did mention that Morris and staff obviously have great connections in Texas, so maybe he just thinks they are emphasizing Texas at the expense of Arkansas.
If an Arkansas kid doesn’t want to go to Arkansas I understand. But I don’t want it to be because we got outworked by another school. I am not posting this to cause trouble, in fact, I’d like to be told that Barry is wrong and that the Hog staff has done everything they can legally do on Hudson and Burks. Everything I’ve read about Morris’ staff is they seem to be recruiting better than any previous staff… so I was surprised to hear that we may be dropping the ball on two of the biggest recruits that have come from the state in a while. I hope this is not true, and Henry and Burks both end up being Razorbacks. In spite of the attention these two are getting from around the country, I fully expect them to be Razorbacks, but hearing what Barry said today has me worried.
I have a hard time getting worried about anything Grooms or anyone from that magazine says about Hog recruiting. They never get anything first on recruiting news, and they have a conflict of interest when it comes to evaluating Arkansas high school recruiting.
I used to buy the Hootens magazine when my sons were playing high school ball, and listen to them and Barry Grooms from time to time on the radio. While they include a Razorback section in their magazine, that bunch has not been happy with in-state recruiting since maybe the Houston Nutt days.
It’s pretty easy to understand, because they need high school coaches to give them information in order to get their magazine out. It’s good for business for Grooms, etc. to stroke those coaching egos.
They consistently walk on egg shells when it comes to high school coaches. There is always the possibility you will offend some high school coach if you compliment recruiting. Some coaches don’t like the Hogs, period. Others every year will feel like their player is not getting the attention he deserves or is just better than other prospects. On the other hand, from the Hootens’ point of view, you can’t really go wrong by criticizing in-state recruiting. It makes particular coaches happy, and it is unlikely to offend the rest of the coaches, even those who think the Hogs are doing a good job.
While they realized pretty early that they needed a college section in their pre-season magazine to give it that Dave Campbell’s Arkansas Football kind of feel, the Hootens are a lot closer to casual fans of college football than serious reporters on the Razorbacks. They don’t cover recruiting to any extent beyond their pre-season magazine, and if you have ever listened to them on the radio there’s a lot more second-hand gossip than reporting on recruiting.
I appreciate your comments here. They ring true with me. As I said in my post, it is clear that Barry is all about Arkansas HS football. When it comes to college football he is best when talking about the Gulf South. Those schools recruit the Ark HSs the most. Again, thanks for your thoughts.
Jon Mark Beilue, who recently retired from the Amarillo Globe News, wrote the stories about the hogs for their publication for several years. That should tell you all you need to know about Hooten’s and their Razorback coverage. Jon mark is a good guy and in is some way connected to the Hootens by marriage. He is Texas tech all the way and very straightforward about his loyalties. He does like the hogs though and has some contacts in Fayetteville and according to him the pleasure to interview Coach Broyles a number of times and Coach Beliema once.