Stars do matter

I always enjoy watching and listening to CEM. Always a learning experience. Tidbits of wisdom sprinkled throughout every conversation. Recommend to watch the recent 30 minute interview session from earlier this week. Among many astute CEM observations, to win in the SEC you need to recruit lottery picks. At worst, draft picks. Stated CSP would agree with him.
Thinking objectively, why has it been easier for CEM to recruit at a higher level than CSP? Comparing football and basketball, both have the same AD and administration, both have the same city and college, both have state of the art facilities, both have improved their team’s ranking. However, CSP has yet to recruit at the same level as CEM. Why is that?
UA…Campus of Champions

History has to be a part of it.

In football you are recruiting 20-25 High school players a year. In basketball, you are recruiting 3-5 HS players a year. Arkansas very rarely produces a 5-star football recruit (maybe once every 10-15 years).

Arkansas’ history includes two 8-10 year periods of great basketball recruiting and winning at the national level. 1978 through 1998. The football program hasn’t done that since the 1960s. There was a brief period in late 70s and early 80s with Lou Holtz. They also had 2 years with winning nationally, but not recruiting in 2010-11.

You can win big in basketball with 3 great recruits a year. You need 8-10 GREAT football recruits for 3 consecutive years to win at the national level in football in the SEC.

It’s very early for Sam, so he may yet accomplish top 10-15 recruiting classes and winning at the national level.

Apples and oranges, you can’t compare the two. We’ve been better in better, at least in the lifetime of the kids we are recruiting. The state of Arkansas produces many more 4*+ per capita for basketball, than football. These days the money from NIL is much easier to come up with for 7-8 basketball players, than the 40-45 you’d need for football.

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I totally agree. I also think, however, that Muss is unique. I am not sure there is any other coach in college basketball that could have come to Arkansas and recruited as well as he has.

Muss’s pro basketball background, his energy, and his marketing skills are such that I honestly don’t think anyone could come and duplicate what he has done here so far.

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Muss has exploited his NBA knowledge, connections, and experience that, as far as I can tell, exceeds any other current college coach. It has been widely acknowledged that he coaches his team to play like an NBA team, positionless basketball, complex drills and plays, etc. He then takes all of that appeal and pursues high caliber recruits (who all want to be lottery picks) extremely creatively and enthusiastically. The fact that he has a very attractive and articulate black wife is a huge cherry on top of all of that. That is a recruiting power package extra-extra-ordinary. Sam is solid, tough, loves his players, and is good as gold. That makes him a lot better recruiter than most of our previous coaches, but Muss has the real recruiting power and the overall results demonstrate that. JMVVVVVVHO


Sam can’t sell what Muss can. That’s the big difference.

As Hogmodo and others have mentioned, Muss has the knowledge of the inner workings of the NBA, and he has amazing contacts throughout the league. He uses drills and terminology with the Hogs that players will use with NBA teams. Big-time players who want to make it to the NBA have to consider that. He can prepare them for the next level.

Sam, on the other hand, still has a lot to sell. He can sell his family-values program. A lot of other programs claim to be a family, and no doubt some of them are, but it’s not just talk at Arkansas. At some places it is. Sam’s genuineness has been experienced by lots of players and families, and that spreads by word of mouth. He cares for his players, coaches, and ultimately his program – so much so, that he will still make tough decisions within that family atmosphere he’s created. (I think most would agree we’ve had other coaches in the past that refused to make hard choices because of their “we are a family” stance.)

They are very different, but each of them has charted a course that can lead to success if they continue to work hard at it and surround themselves with others who will as well.

Yes. Muss has an NBA background and an NBA system, which he sells to recruits as a pathway to the League. That’s a huge deal. Huge. Sam can sort of do it with linemen. But that’s about it. And, offensively, I’m not sure the Briles system will get you a 5 star pocket-style and/or elite passing quarterback, necessarily. Tougher sell.

Also, win more and the 5* recruits will come. Muss has had 2 Elite 8s is a short period. Sam is just beginning his winning, with hopefully a lot more in front of us.

Thank y’all for very astute observations.
CEM is right. To win in the SEC you need lottery picks and if not, need draft picks. Take Georgia football as an example. A total of 15 players were taken in the recent NFL draft.
If the UA wants to compete for National and SEC titles in football, they need to recruit draft picks and a lot of them.
UA…Campus of Champions


I’ve followed recruiting for a long time and i really love our football recruiting under Coach Pittman, especially this current class. It’s filled with size and speed. That’s the foundation for having really solid SEC teams.

I believe over all things CSP and his coaches know talent and are bringing plenty of it to the Hill.

of those 15 Georgia players drafted…i’d be interested in knowing how many of them was Pittman the primary recruiter…that would be a telling sign of our future success

Recollect comments from old Razorbacks football players about recruiting: They look at stars, but more importantly they gauge our potential for success based on what other teams we are recruiting against for a particular recruit. If we sign recruits with offers from other successful SEC & power5 teams, then we are better likely to find success on gameday. Otherwise, lower expectations.

That is the number 1 thing I watch.

One thing that is not mentioned here is I think football recruiting is far more complex.
In basketball, particularly the way Muss coaches, you are recruiting three positions, big, point and shooter. Some players check more than just one of those boxes.
In football you are recruiting to fill one to two dozen different positions and skill sets. If you suck in any of them your team is not going to excel at the level we want our team to excel.
Look at what a huge role Cam Little played in last season’s success. And that is a position some coaches don’t want to even use a scholarship on. Sam is smarter than that though. No Little last season equals less than 9 wins for sure.
You also have many more cooks in the kitchen. Look how many coaches CSP has let go due to, at least it is our understanding, recruiting weakness.
As was said earlier, apples and oranges.

Regarding football star ratings…a few years ago I calculated an average value for the SEC post-season first team offense, defense and kick specialists. I believe I used 247 numbers, which are available by name and freshman class.
The average was about 3 stars, sometimes a little less. I believe it was for all-SEC selections in 2018 and 2019.
Conclusion: don’t scoff at all 3* players. Some are very good.

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I think that’s my biggest frustration is when people dismiss kids not 4 or 5 stars.

The 5-stars usually have freakish athleticism along with good or great size. They’re usually easy to spot.

There are others who aren’t as developed for various reasons and have a high ceiling. Poster child for that is Jason Peters because he played different sports and didn’t see the weight room much in HS.


Wish we had a couple more John Ridgeways…who was a 2* out of HS.

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Stars matter a whole lot. A team of 4-5 stars will beat a team of 3 stars most of the time. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some really, really good 2-3 stars. However, you better get your fair share of 4s and 5s if you want to win a NC.

Thank you Richard for saying what I was thinking. Football and basketball are different. Our two coaches are doing a great job in each category. Some people look at Alabama and Georgia and think if we would recruit 5 stars we would win championships. They miss the development and coaching both teams provide. Evaluate well to recruit, develop, coach will do wonders. We almost beat Alabama last year. Do we not want the Grant Morgan’s in our state?

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There are a few of the 2star high school recruits who end up playing in the NFL and there are a few of the 5star recruits who don’t. You get better odds of success if you have mostly 5stars than you do with mostly 2stars. There is a good reason that Sam and the rest of the coaches try real hard to get 4 & 5 stars and then fill in the blanks with 2-3 stars when they have to. They know where the best odds of success are located. You don’t see whole teams of 2-3 stars playing at an elite level. You just see a few individuals who develop late, had unrecognized talent, etc. who end up elite.

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