Where is AD Long on his program recruiting plan?

It is obvious that Arkansas pales in comparison to recruiting advantages of the bigs in the SEC.

Is the plan simply hoping a coaching personality can overcome?

Or is there a plan where more R and D and resources are dedicated where the program can have a chance to overcome?

Or is it easier to just stand in the shadows of a coaching personality while spending time on football selection committee keeping name out there?

Systemic recruiting issues of this program is an Administration responsibility.

Even a Saban could not come here and overcome without historic AD resources and a plan.

Arkansas isn’t lacking for resources.

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What is the Administration plan for overcoming recruiting disadvantages?

Please tell me the plan isn’t simply relying on a coaching personality.

Are we doubling resources of top SEC programs?

Are we evaluating whether our AD recruiting plan is successful?

Is there any AD responsibility in recruiting?

Arkansas’ athletic department has been very generous in giving Arkansas coaches in all sports the resources to compete at a high level.

Not just stadiums and arena, but infrastructure and everything needed to recruit.

They can’t do anything about the lack of flights on Saturday mornings, can’t do anything about the lack of in-state talent in terms of numbers of prospects.

These guys have a plan for walking outside, much less a plan for recruiting.

That is not an issue

Thanks Dudley, I appreciate that,

My question goes more to whether, recognizing the disadvantages against bigs you recognize, whether we have a plan to overcome from the Administration.

Or are we content that our Admin, seeing the disadvantages, believes it is doing all possible?

My point is simply when losing to competitors, sometimes it takes much more innovation and R and D to overcome.

Maybe reliance on a coaching personality is all we can do.

Wish we were sitting on top 5 recruiting soil year after year but we are not.

And seems we get beat by top competitors.

I just don’t think systemic recruiting issues over the years can be solved by a singular coaching personality, and hopeful there is an AD plan.

I refuse to believe that little Arkansas can’t play at the top.

But if not a robust plan it can never happen.

  1. Arkansas can usually count on 4-6 SEC caliber in-state athletes a year. If the AD can increase that to 8 to 12 a year that would be a tremendous help, but I don’t see that happening.

  2. Every coach at Arkansas has to recruit 2/3 of his class from out-of-state. You must have a coach that can go into the back yards of the bigger schools and beat them for an occasional kid.

  3. Like I said resources isn’t the problem. Bret gets just about everything he wants.

  4. Never really heard an AD in charge of a recruiting plan. An AD is there to support the plans of the HC.

Let’s take a look :

College Station - not a bad place but nothing remarkable. Quickly becoming the school to beat in Texas.
Fayetteville - always named best town to live in , best whatever, etc. in magazines across the country
Oxford - again, nice town - most special thing is The Grove. No championships.
Starkville - Stankville . Cowbells? Can’t think of anything else.
Baton Rouge - Really? Nothing special there. A couple of rings. Lots of in state talent.
Tuscaloosa - Nice size town not to far from B’ham, not to far from the beach, but nothing too special. Lots of Rings.
Auburn - stones throw from GA, city on the plains, not to far from the beaches, not too big - rural. Have some tradition. Have won.

Columbia - nice town, halfway between St. Louis and KC. No easy way to get there. Behind in the arms race
Vanderbilt - Nashville, might be one of the best towns in the SEC, tough academic challenges
Knoxville- pretty similar in size to Little Rock. Scenic. Small airport. Tradition/have won.
Athens - pretty town, not far from Atlanta. Nobody has done less with more in terms of getting championships in the last 15 years.
Columbia - not far from the beaches, second fiddle to Clemson.
Gainesville - close to the beaches, cool town, probably easiest geographic area to recruit to. Rings.
Lexington - Are you kidding me? ok yes a little but nothing special. Basketball school.

So all the people who want to make it sound like Fayetteville is so much different or so much harder to recruit to are just silly. Yes, Bama has tradition as do a few others but geographically only Nashville and Gainesville offer what I would call true geographic recruiting advantages.

There are geographic recruiting advantages, and there are also talent base advantages. LSU has the huge talent base. Florida has both. Georgia has both; they haven’t won championships, but they also won 9-10 a year until they got fed up and ran off Richt. (Kirby Smart is Example A of why firing the head coach when he disappoints you is not always a good idea.) Tuscaloosa must be better than you give it credit for because they never have any trouble recruiting no matter who is running (or not running) their program. When Bama doesn’t win big it’s because they have a coach who underachieves relative to his talent (see Franchione and DuBose).

Swine, I agree with you on the talent base advantages. Clearly A&M, Bama, Georgia, and Florida have the talent base advantages. Arkansas is at a disadvantage there. What I am talking about is when looking at recruiting nationally we hear excuses about Fayetteville, when the truth is that it’s not really all that different than many other SEC schools.

I’ve communicated your very points to Bush Hog on more than one occasion. He either doesn’t go back to look for follow up posts or did not agree with what he read. And this must be the 57th (maybe a slight exaggeration) time to question what the AD’s recruiting plan is. Just hope he reads and absorbs your reply.

Silly? Having been doing this now for 36 years, I can say it over and over but if you are not going to believe me than I can’t make you.

It’s not about the city. Again, it is not about the city the school is in.

It’s about being in a section of the United States that doesn’t have geographic advantages.

That is - the number of prospects that can get to your campus in a reasonable amount of time.

I will go look for some specific numbers for you if that will help.

Did I mention it was not about the specific city?

If so, then maybe geographic makes sense, but I don’t agree. There is no airline service to Tuscaloosa, and Birmingham’s airport is 60 miles away, about the same distance as Tulsa to Fayetteville. Flights in to Birmingham do not seem to hinder recruiting to Tuscalooser.

How far away are sufficient airline services to other SEC schools? Ole Miss, for example, who has been out recruiting most folks in the SEC lately. Closest to them would be Memphis, which is how far away? About the same as Tulsa to Fayetteville?

Maybe there are no flights into Tulsa, and that would answer that.

Looked it up–for Southwest flying into Tulsa from Atlanta next Friday, with departure on Sunday. Just on Southwest there are over 5 options for next Friday’s arrival; there are 3 departures back to Atlanta on Sunday afternoon.

Therefore, there are no less available flights to/from Tulsa than Birmingham, and there is no more recruiting disadvantage for flight availability to Fayetteville than Tuscaloosa. Perhaps we should not use that excuse any longer because it’s kinda weak in comparison to other SEC cities?

Birmingham to Tuscaloosa is a 55 min drive. I doubt it would be an issue if it was a two hour drive because how Bama is rolling.

Tulsa to Fayetteville is 2 hours.

Memphis to Oxford is an hour and 18 mins. Memphis being a big hub is a big help to Ole Miss. I know Nutt’s staff talked about the advantages of direct and cheaper flights.

Arkansas will sometimes fly a kid into Tulsa but it’s rare. By the time you arrive and get a car you’re looking at 3 hours before getting to the Hill. That usually doesn’t work well when you’re trying to get kids to Fayetteville on a timely fashion.

Thanks Richard. I’ve thought forever that Tulsa was much closer than a 2 hour drive. Appreciate your response.

That is a very reasonable post for someone who is not an 18 year old kid that has grown up in an urban environment. Unfortunately, for that kid we are in the middle of nowhere. Here’s my review:

College Station - an hour from Houston.
Oxford - Close to Memphis. (and really, we are a better program anyway. beaten them 3 in a row, and NCAA sanctions are looming)
Starkville - who cares, we are a better program.
Baton Rouge - More urban than anything in Arkansas, and an hour from NO.
Tuscaloosa - Can’t tell where it ends and Birmingham begins.
Auburn - an hour and a half from ATL, 2 from Birmingham.

 Somehow we have to overcome that.  Bush hog seems to think that can be accomplished by throwing money at the problem.  I don't agree, but unfortunately I don't really have any better solutions other than just trying to keep improving and learning from mistakes.

My question, and I don’t know the answer, is how much the relationship between the college coaches and high school coaches effects recruiting. Does recruiting get better when high school coaches see college coaches treat their players right, do things the right way, and make sure their players go to class and have a good chance to graduate? Or does that not matter in anymore when everything is me first, how do I get to the NFL the fastest? Should we keep a guy like Barry Lunney, who seems to have a good rep with all the high school coaches in state, or should we replace him with a guy like Trooper Taylor?

 Would we be better served to stick with what appear to be honest, hard working guys who do things the right way and hope that slowly pays dividends down the road, or should we go hire some flash-in-the-pan guy who can pull in top talent for a couple of years, possibly with the NCAA right behind?  There have been several on this board jealous of Ole Miss's recruiting rankings the last couple years.  Anyone want to change places with them now?

 IMO, there are very few situations that wiill not be improved by putting your head down, shutting your mouth, and working your ass off.  Usually if you do so, good things happen.  IMO that is what the Arkansas coaches (and players) need to do.

DD, okay so how many of these towns have geographic advantages besides Gainesville? I get your point about getting to your school in a reasonable amount of time. Very few of the cities in the SEC have direct flights, almost all are connecting flights out of ATL or DFW. So it’s not any easier for a kid to get up on a Saturday morning and get to most of these locations, than it is to get to Fayetteville. You can say it’s not about the city, but when you’re making the argument that is “the number of prospects that can get to your campus in a reasonable amount of time.” then it’s definitely the city they are traveling in and out of.

And Richard, why in the world would Tulsa even come up as an option to fly into when NWA is right there?

How many years are we removed from HDN?

I can totally accept the argument that there aren’t as many D1 candidates in Arkansas as there is in Louisiana, or Florida, or Georgia, or Texas. Take a look at OU. Is Norman easy to get to ? Well, it’s not too bad if you live in north Texas. Obviously, they recruit Texas pretty hard but so do many schools.

More and more I am in agreement that our administration and our coaches are recruiting with the right messaging and in the right way. Maybe this is the best recruiting staff we’ve had on the hill in a while, but it’s still not meeting the standards needed to be competitive in the SEC. Sure, walk out the record if you want to but when I see the doors getting blown off this team that’s not competitive. Freaking Missouri wide receivers were running past our secondary all day long. Missouri! So you’re telling me there are more prospects that can get to Missouri in a reasonable amount of time than Arkansas? Potentially, including St. Louis and KC but if you’re driving to Columbia from either one you can get to Fayetteville nearly as easy. It’s an easy drive from KC and an easy flight from STL on Southwest.

I know I’m not going to win this argument and it’s really not about winning. I travel all over the SEC for work and I am in and out of ATL weekly. The staff can and should do better on the recruiting front. And what they have done in 4 years isn’t good enough.

While those places might be closer to an urban area, they aren’t. When we hear all the time that college athletes don’t have enough money, now you’re trying to say they are going to hop in the car and drive an hour or two on any night of the week when they are seeking an urban environment?

I’m not just talking about Ole Miss. I don’t think any of us feel like we have any need to trade places with Bucky. What I am talking about is recruiting well enough to be competitive in any game we play in conference and out. And when I say competitive, I mean play a team within a touchdown or field goal. I mean having a defense that is just that…A DEFENSE!

Seems very few if any coaching personalities have been able to recruit with the bigs since joining SEC.

So this is exclusively on the shoulder of a coach?

If your business is constantly struggling against competition for decades, I would hope the CEO doesn’t hide behind his President, but instead is pulling every possible lever to help level playing field and ensure his business is competitive and improving status qou.

I understand most ADs don’t have to be involved because they sit in fertile recruiting soil or better history.

What’s so wrong about recognizing our problem and having an AD that is working to lead his program to overcome this systemic issue?

It may be an all hands on deck situation if our program goal is to win titles.

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Resources are a vague concept when some of you seem to espouse a wealth of resources. Please take a look at the weak information given to recruits and their parents on our official site. In the world of multi media and social media this is an embarrassing weakness.

Our competition paints a terribly bleak picture of Arkansas as a whole and how Fayetteville is a hick town. We need videos on the site for those kids that have bought into the negative recruiting but curious enough to look without the pressure of talking to a coach. I am in Sales and you need a low pressure alternative to excite the prospect that is skeptical. Many players won’t even consider us because of the lies. How many times have we heard players that took the chance to visit and were shocked at how nice it is?

Good lord how difficult is it to get a series of VIDEOS on the recruit page???