Sam Pittman pulled off one of the biggest recruiting coups in Arkansas football history earlier this month and, if the way this season has unfolded is any indication, he probably needs to pull a few more rabbits out of the hat in the upcoming classes.
Problems in the Razorbacks’ secondary were evident from the jump and have only been exacerbated by injuries, resulting in Arkansas having the 11th-worst pass defense in the country through 10 games.
Help is on the way in the 2023 class, but looking beyond the current cycle, one player who could make an immediate impact in the secondary is cornerback Kobe Black, a five-star prospect out of Connally High School in Waco, Texas.
A highly touted recruit, Black would have arguably pushed for playing time with the Razorbacks this season as a high school junior. Listed at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds and a member of Connally’s 4×100-meter relay team, Black is the nation’s No. 19 overall prospect in the junior class and the third-best cornerback according to 247Sports Composite.
In fact, he already has the size and speed needed to play in the SEC. Throw in all of the injuries and it’s not a huge stretch to believe he might have seen the field at some point this year even at this age.
Check out some highlights of Kobe Black from last season, when he was just a sophomore:
The Recruitment of Kobe Black
Defensive backs with the talent of Kobe Black are always in high demand, as his 22 scholarship offers show. Teams such as Baylor, Florida State, Arkansas and Texas are all recruiting Black intensely, but he’s also been offered by the likes of LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Tennessee, USC and others.
Regarding Baylor’s recruitment, Black told 247Sports earlier this year, “The staff has been consistent about wanting me to stay home and be a part of what they are building.”
In addition to being the school in his hometown, the Bears are another team that could use Black’s playmaking potential in the secondary. Baylor is ranked 68th at defending the pass in the pass-happy Big 12.
The Longhorns appear to be in a good position with recruiting Black, as well. It helps that they’ll soon be making the move to the SEC, plus Texas defensive backs coach Terry Joseph has helped put them in the mix for the talented defensive back.
“It’s the DB coach and his family,” Black told Rivals. “Everybody tells the truth. He told me he’ll get in a corner and he says he wants to go out and find another one even better than you. He just always tells the truth.”
It’s also worth noting that Black’s older brother, Korie, is a junior cornerback at Oklahoma State and he’s visited the Cowboys, as well.
Another school looming as a potential darkhorse for Black’s services is Arkansas. He visited Fayetteville in July and came away impressed with what he saw, including from head coach Sam Pittman.
“I had a great time, it feels like a family already,” Black told Otis Kirk. “(Pittman’s) not like other head coaches. He’s very different. He’s more outgoing, funny and not stuck up. I really like him.”
Being able to connect like that could help Pittman and the Razorbacks land talented recruits like Black, which would pay dividends in the future. Black also told Rivals that Arkansas is treating him like its top target in the 2024 class.
Scouting Report on Kobe Black
Considering what he’s shown on the field this season, it makes sense that the Razorbacks would continue to recruit Kobe Black hard.
It’s worth reiterating that he fits the description of an SEC cornerback extremely well. He is an aggressive cornerback who plays the ball in the air well and does not mind getting aggressive with opposing wide receivers.
The Connally High defensive back uses his hands well to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and force a redirection of the route. Black has the speed needed to be used in blitz packages and does an excellent job of defeating blocks and bringing down the opposing quarterback, as well.
Black’s versatility has been on full display this season. Connally High has lined him up all over the field and he’s found the endzone 14 times. On the offensive side of the ball, he’s rushed for six scores and caught five more. As a defensive back, he has a pair of pick-sixes and he’s also returned one kickoff for a touchdown.
With that kind of production being generated on both sides of the ball for a team that’s 9-2, it is no wonder that he has become a much sought-after prospect in the 2024 class.
Landing five-star recruits like Black is rare for the Razorbacks and even moreso when it comes to cornerbacks. The last time the Hogs landed a similarly touted cornerback was in 2009 with in-state product Darius Winston.
Considering Arkansas’ clear need for secondary playmakers, a commitment from Black would surpass the Kavion Henderson announcement as Pittman’s biggest get yet.
More coverage of Arkansas recruiting from BoAS…