Beating Out Lunney for In-State QB, Top Spring Transfer Prospects + Other Recruiting Nuggets

Grayson Wilson, Jaden Muskrat, Arkansas football, Arkansas recruiting
photo credit: Twitter

The transfer portal opened back up Saturday and the Arkansas football coaches are already hard at work trying to fill the remaining spots on the 2023 roster.

Two players the Razorbacks are known to have offered in the first few days are North Texas tight end Var’Keyes Gumms and Tulsa offensive lineman Jaden Muskrat.

They are ranked as the No. 8 and No. 18 available players, respectively, in the portal during the spring window, according to The Athletic, and both play positions Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman wouldn’t mind adding as transfers.

Muskrat (6-3, 307) may be recognizable to those in Northwest Arkansas because he played his senior year at Bentonville West before signing with Tulsa in the Class of 2020.

Originally from Choctaw, Okla., he didn’t move from the defensive line to offensive line until playing for the Wolverines, so he didn’t generate a ton of interest on the recruiting trail. Fast forward three years and things are drastically different.

As a true freshman, Muskrat redshirted by appearing in only four games, but two of those included getting significant reps (60 snaps) against Cincinnati in the AAC title game and then starting the bowl game against Mississippi State.

He didn’t play much in 2021 and was set to be a backup again this past season, but was thrust into the starting lineup when starter Kai-Leon Herbert went down just 15 snaps into the season opener. That led to him being the Golden Hurricane’s starting right tackle pretty much all of last season and he earned a 61.2 Pro Football Focus grade on a team-high 848 snaps.

Now with more than 1,000 career snaps under his belt, Muskrat is being pursued by multiple Power Five programs. In addition to Arkansas, which did so Monday, Auburn, California, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Cincinnati, Purdue, South Carolina and Syracuse have also extended offers.

Other than an opportunity to return to the area where he finished his high school career by playing for the Razorbacks, Auburn and California also make a lot of sense as potential landing spots.

His former head coach at Tulsa — Philip Montgomery — is now the offensive coordinator at Auburn, while Mike Bloesch, who originally recruited him to Tulsa, is now the offensive line coach and run game coordinator at Cal.

It’s worth noting that Pittman has previously said he’d like to bring in an offensive lineman capable of playing center and Muskrat was a tackle at Tulsa, with almost all of his snaps coming at right tackle and the other 44 snaps coming at left tackle.

However, with seven scholarships to play around with — a number that would grow if any other current players enter the transfer portal — the Razorbacks might be flexible with who they bring in.

A player who fits that need at center is Troy Everett from Appalachian State, who earned second-team Freshman All-American recognition from The Athletic as a redshirt freshman last year. He has not tweeted about an offer from Arkansas, but he is being followed by offensive lineman Cody Kennedy on Twitter.

Gumms, the tight end from North Texas, picked up an offer from Arkansas the same day he entered the transfer portal. Cal, West Virginia, Utah, Colorado, BYU and Oregon have also offered the Houston native.

The Razorbacks have already swung and missed on one North Texas tight end, as Jake Roberts signed with Baylor after visiting Fayetteville. They are now going after one who appears to be even better — and appear to be in a good spot, as he announced Tuesday that he’ll be taking an official visit to Arkansas this weekend.

As a redshirt freshman last season, Gumms caught 34 passes for 458 yards and five touchdowns. He earned first-team All-CUSA honors from the conference coaches and was tabbed a second-team Freshman All-American by multiple outlets. Pro Football Focus gave him a 71.9 overall grade on 444 offensive snaps.

Considering the Razorbacks’ youth at the position, Pittman has said he would like to add a veteran tight end from the transfer portal. Gumms isn’t exactly a veteran, as he’ll just be a redshirt sophomore in 2023, but he has already played nearly 200 more career snaps than Arkansas’ current tight ends combined.

Texas Lands Arkansas Transfer Portal Target

One player the Razorbacks won’t get from the transfer portal is defensive tackle Trill Carter, who committed to Texas on Monday.

The former honorable mention All-Big Ten performer at Minnesota had visited Arkansas, as well as Illinois, Louisville and Ohio State, before picking the Longhorns.

Arkansas landing Maryland transfer defensive tackle Anthony “Tank” Booker Jr. last week certainly softened the blow of losing out on Carter, but he still would have been a welcome addition to a position that needs more depth.

As things stand right now, the Razorbacks’ three primary returning defensive tackles have all dealt with injuries over the last few months. Taurean Carter is coming back from a torn ACL, Eric Gregory had a knee scope following the regular season and Cam Ball missed the end of spring practice because of a high ankle sprain.

The only other scholarship defensive tackles on the team are Marcus Miller, a reserve who has played 122 career snaps in four seasons; JJ Hollingsworth, a converted defensive end who didn’t play at all as a true freshman last year; and Ian Geffrard, an incoming freshman.

In short, Razorbacks are still in the market for a transfer defensive tackle after missing on Carter.

2025 QB Commits to Arkansas

Less than a week after locking up their quarterback in the 2024 class, the Razorbacks landed Grayson Wilson as their 2025 quarterback on Saturday.

The Central Arkansas Christian product chose his in-state school over offers from UCA, Pittsburgh and Illinois, where Barry Lunney Jr., the former Razorback quarterback and assistant, is now the offensive coordinator. That list likely would have been longer had Wilson not been so open about his desire to play at Arkansas.

Although he had made multiple visits to Fayetteville, it wasn’t until March 4 — less than two months after Dan Enos was hired as offensive coordinator — that the Razorbacks pulled the trigger with an offer.

Six weeks later, he made his decision official by sharing the news via Twitter not long after the conclusion of the annual Red-White spring game.

Wilson is the first member of Arkansas’ 2025 recruiting class and the first in-state quarterback to commit to the Razorbacks since Little Rock Parkview’s Landon Rogers in 2021.

The only recruiting service that has him rated right now is Rivals, which gives him a 5.6 rating. That means he is a mid-tier three-star prospect.

Check out some highlights of new Arkansas football commit Grayson Wilson:

Upcoming Decisions for 2024 In-State Prospects

Arkansas recruiting efforts have already yielded commitments from a quartet of four-star prospects, plus a high three-star. All five of those players are from within the SEC footprint, but none are in-state recruits.

That’s notable because the 2024 class is shaping up to be one of the best in-state crops in a long time. However, there’s a chance that changes soon.

Little Rock Mills defensive end Charleston Collins and Pine Bluff wide receiver Courtney Crutchfield, both of whom are rated as four-stars in the 247Sports Composite, are set to announce their college decisions on Friday.

Teammates at Pine Bluff before Collins moved to Little Rock last year, both of them were in Fayetteville for the Red-White spring game Saturday and were also recently in town to watch a Tuesday practice.

A top-200 overall prospect on 247Sports and On3, Collins has narrowed his long list of offers down to a final five of Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Oklahoma.

More of a late-bloomer, Crutchfield didn’t pick up his first offer until December, but has since been offered by more than half of the SEC (Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt), as well as Oklahoma, Kansas State and a few others.

Things are looking good for the Razorbacks, as the duo has received a flurry of 247Sports Crystal Ball and Rivals FutureCast picks in recent days.

Another 2024 in-state player to keep an eye on is Kobe Branham from Fort Smith Northside. The three-star interior offensive lineman announced a top five of Arkansas, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, SMU and Texas A&M on Saturday.


More coverage of Arkansas football and Arkansas recruiting from BoAS…

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