Bobby Petrino Putting Aggies Stint to Good Use with Texas QB Recruits

Bobby Petrino, Grant Smith, Arkansas football
photo credit: Twitter/Grant Smith

For Arkansas football to reach true relevance in the new era of the 12-team college football playoff, there’s no recruiting ground more important than Texas — especially given its difficulties closing on top in-state talent.

Historically, the Lone Star State has been a key source of players for the Razorbacks. Ronnie Caveness and Loyd Phillips helped lead them to their lone national championship in 1964. Standouts Chuck Dicus, Billy Ray Smith Jr. and Clint Stoerner came to Arkansas from Texas, too.

Even recent Texas native stars Bumper Pool, Drew Sanders and Landon Jackson have made great impacts donning the cardinal and white.

Eight of the 10 national champions since the college football playoff began in 2014-15 have boasted a minimum of four players from Texas, with an average of nine per roster. Obviously, snagging a few big names from down south won’t elevate the Razorbacks to a national championship level right away – otherwise our friends in Austin would have rings hanging off of their horns by now – but establishing a pipeline between the states is seemingly the best path to royalty in the current climate of college football.

This will be especially interesting to watch as the impact of Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC trickles down, as those two premier programs will have the backing of the best conference in college football – something Arkansas has traditionally used to its advantage.

Fortunately for Sam Pittman and the rest of his staff, there is no shortage of talented prospects the Razorbacks can poach from the Lone Star State. When it comes to this state’s gunslingers and other skill position players strongly considering Arkansas, it helps that UA offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino already had a foot in the door some many of them because his one of season-long stint at that same position with Texas A&M.

Now, he’s trying to fend off his former team in going after one talented class of 2026 prospect:

Grant Smith a Big Fan of Petrino’s Track Record

After landing a commitment from Grayson Wilson, one of the highest-rated dual-threat quarterbacks in the 2025 class, Arkansas offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino appears to have his eyes set on a more traditional signal-caller in sophomore Grant Smith.

Smith, a high three-star out of Grand Oaks High School, picked up his offer from the Hogs in December of 2023 soon after Petrino’s return to Fayetteville.

“I am a big fan of Coach Petrino,” Smith said. “I love his offense and track record with developing QBs. When he took the job there, I knew I had to go learn more about Arkansas.”

That feeling was reciprocated by the Razorback coaching staff as well, with Smith sharing that they were the first to reach out to him when the legal period for contact with prospects in the 2026 cycle opened on June 15. One visit wasn’t enough for the 6-foot-4 gunslinger, as he made the trip from the metro area north of Houston for Arkansas’ spring game in April.

“The fan base and facilities are world-class,” Smith said. “We built in an extra day just to check out the campus and the town, I really liked it.”

This won’t be the last time Smith crosses state lines either, as he hopes to catch Arkansas’ much anticipated Nov. 16 rematch with Texas in Fayetteville.

While he also holds offers from Baylor, Cal, Houston, Kansas State, TCU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech, Smith’s experience in Fayetteville and faith in what Petrino can do with developing mobile pocket passers makes Arkansas one of the key players in his recruitment at this point.

Smith won’t be the only Texas quarterback Arkansas is keeping tabs on this fall, as 6-foot-3, 190-pound four-star Quinn Murphy included the Razorbacks in his top eight schools last Thursday, along with Baylor, Miami, Minnesota, Missouri, NC State, Oklahoma and SMU.

The pro-style quarterback out of Liberty Christian School in Austin, visited Arkansas in March, just two months after receiving his offer. Like Smith, Murphy’s more traditional primarily pass attack at quarterback is something Petrino knows well. This could indicate a trend toward an offense that the former head coach has implemented throughout his career.

Arkansas Checks All the Boxes for 4-Star WR

First-year receivers coach Ronnie Fouch hopes to pile onto an impressive pair of wins on the recruiting trail by gaining the commitment of Parish Episcopal’s Jaylen Pile.

Pile, a 6-foot-1 four-star wide receiver, added his Arkansas football offer in March.

“I was really excited about the Arkansas offer from Coach Fouch,” Pile said. “I had been up to Arkansas a few times for visits and games before he was hired. He told me he really liked my film and my route running… Arkansas was one of my first Junior Day visits my freshman year, so it really stood out.”

It’s no wonder why Pile caught Fouch’s eye, either, as his ball skills and ability to create separation make him pop off the screen. His 26 yards per catch and five touchdowns last season for the Panthers even jumped him briefly into the Rivals250 earlier this spring.

So what will it take for the Razorbacks to land him in the 2026 cycle?

“I’m looking for a school that has great academics for a business major,” Pile said. “As far as football, I’m looking for coaches that can develop me and a competitive schedule, and Arkansas definitely checks all those boxes.”

The Dallas native added that he plans to return to Fayetteville and catch the Hogs in action again.

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Check out some highlights of high 3-star QB Grant Smith:

Check out some highlights of 4-star WR Jaylen Pile:

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Best of Arkansas Sports also caught up with several top targets in the trenches from Texas:

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More coverage of Arkansas football and Arkansas recruiting from BoAS… 

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