As Sooners Surge, Recruit Marcus Wimberly Says He’s Getting Over “Break Up” with Razorbacks 

Marcus Wimberly
via @Marcus1Wimberly

College football recruiting has often been likened to courtship, as suitors try to land the most attractive recruits in their league.

What’s changed in the last few years is how often a “yes” to a suitor’s advances can and will change. For one, signing an NLI doesn’t necessarily mean that recruit will stay multiple seasons at the same school. The transfer portal beckons always, and it’s getting to the point where it’s about half the percentage of college football players who will enter it at some point than the percentage of married Americans who will end up divorced.

The flipping on and off of commitment is more common among high school recruits, too. But for a partially different reason. An ever increasing number of Division I recruits enroll early at their programs (indeed, Arkansas has all but three of the class of 2024 signees already on campus), and that has played a role in more recruits committing to schools earlier in their high school careers.

Class of 2026 standout Tay Lockett, for instance, committed to the Arkansas football program as his sophomore season started. Sometimes, these early commits feel like they pulled the trigger on a decision too quickly. An example would be star running back Braylen Russell, who committed to Arkansas in his sophomore season, then de-committed in his junior season before re-committing in July.

And now there’s Bauxite’s Marcus Wimberly, the class of 2025 3-star safety who committed to Arkansas before his junior season and then de-committed at the end of it. “I feel like I made my decision on somewhere to call home too quick and didn’t take the time needed in this process,” he posted on “X.”

At the time, it seemed like the Wolverines would be the front-runner to get his next commitment given how well he vibed with former Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh.

But Harbaugh, of course, left to take the helm for the Chargers in the NFL.

That departure means “there’s a little uncertainty right now with where I am but they’re going to stay in contact with me,” Wimberly told Best of Arkansas Sports’ Jace Dunegan. He added that he and Harbaugh’s successor, Sherrone Moore, “have been on the phone a few times and they are still really excited about me and getting me back on campus again.”

Sam Popper, assistant director of recruiting for Michigan football, “has been texting me quite often also really letting me know they want me there.”

Oklahoma Football Under Venables is Serious Contender

In the last couple months, though, it’s Brent Venables’ program in Oklahoma that has surged to the forefront in recruiting Wimberly.

After his visit to Norman, Okla. a few weeks ago, he said: “I would definitely say that Oklahoma is a top three option for me as I move forward!” and added he’s really interested in SMU and Memphis as well.

Wimberly told Best of Arkansas Sports that Venables and the Sooners safety coach, Brandon Hall “are really good men who are looking to develop guys on the field as much as they are looking to help you off the field and develop into a better man. I just really like how they are looking to develop you over there.”

Given the crystal ballers are now considering Oklahoma to be the strong front-runner for Wimberly, Arkansas football fans may be experiencing a bit of PTSD from their recent Courtney Crutchfield experience. Pine Bluff native Crutchfield de-committed from his home state program only to sign with a rising SEC power in a neighboring state.

Could Wimberly do the same? (Also: yes, Oklahoma is only considered a “rising” power as a new SEC member, not by historical achievements.)

There’s still hope for the Razorbacks.

Today, he’s finishing an official visit and told Dunegan he’ll also attend the Arkansas recruiting junior day on Saturday.

Marcus Wimberly Gives Details on Arkansas Football

As far as why he de-committed, “it was kind of a thing where you’re in a relationship, or marriage, and then you get a divorce or break up,” he said.

But recently both sides mutually reached back out to each other. “We cleared the waters and got back on the same page,” he said. “Now it’s like we’re in the talking stage again.”

Before his trip, Wimberly added: “I really am looking forward to getting back up there again with the players and the coaches, especially with the coaching changes and meeting them. Coach [Sam] Pittman, Coach [Marcus] Woodson, and honestly the whole defensive staff including Coach [Travis] Williams, Coach [Deron] Wilson, and Coach [Nick] Mathews have been in contact with me quite often.”

So, there’s at least some positive momentum there. The good news is, like with Russell, both the original commitment and de-commitment happened early enough to give time for a stronger relationship to be built. Not unlike when two folks are dating, one leaves for a while, finds out the grass isn’t greener, and then returns for a stronger bond. Crutchfield, meanwhile, de-committed only a month and a half before the early signing period.

Regardless of where Wimberly actually ends up going, he’s committed to enjoying the process for now.

“This whole process has brought a lot of excitement to my family and brought a lot of people into our lives,” he said. “It’s just amazing to see how much God has blessed me and to see my hard work has finally paid off with all the amazing schools contacting me.”

Marcus Wimberly’s Recruiting Visitation Schedule:

March 8- Arkansas


March 19- Memphis

March 21- Ole Miss

March 23- Alabama

April 9- Oklahoma

the above is via On3’s Sam Spiegelman

Wimberly told Best of Arkansas Sports: “Wisconsin recently contacted me as well and I have an official visit the third weekend of June.”

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