The Mendoza Line is a baseball term, but after Monday morning, it also applies to Arkansas football recruiting so far in July.
Fletcher Westphal, a four-star prospect and one of the Razorbacks’ top offensive line targets, announced his commitment to Florida on Monday.
A product of Tuscarora High in Leesburg, Va., he chose the Gators from a top five that also included Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson and Georgia. Westphal officially visited Fayetteville the final weekend of June after previously coming on an unofficial.
Getting the big 6-foot-8, 335-pounder on campus multiple times — and getting the last word as his final official visit — wasn’t enough for Sam Pittman and Cody Kennedy to reel him in, though.
Instead, the Razorbacks are still searching for their first offensive tackle in the 2024 recruiting class. Their two current offensive line commitments — Kobe Branham from Fort Smith Southside and Zuri Madison from Frederick Douglass High in Lexington, Ky. — are viewed as interior linemen.
With Fletcher committing elsewhere, Arkansas football is also now just 1 for 6 on major recruits announcing their decisions this month.
It started with offensive lineman Jac’Qawn McRoy committing to Oregon on July 1 and then continued on the Fourth of July, with defensive lineman Alex Foster (Baylor), linebacker D’Angelo Barker (Auburn) and cornerback Chris Johnson II (Arizona State) pledging elsewhere on the holiday.
Wide receiver Ashton Bethel-Roman, a top-100 prospect with NFL bloodlines, did give the Razorbacks some fireworks, though, as he picked them over Oregon and Texas Tech on Independence Day.
Still, if Arkansas’ recruiting hit rate was converted to a batting average in baseball, it’d be just .167 — well below the Mendoza Line (.200) used as a threshold for offensive futility.
Upcoming Decision Dates for Arkansas Football
The good news for Sam Pittman and the Arkansas football program is that, like baseball players, they won’t have to wait long to get another chance at turning things around.
In fact, Fletcher Westphal was just the first of five big announcements this week, with a sixth looming next week. Here’s a rundown of those dates:
- Wednesday (July 12): Four-star linebacker Brian Huff, an in-state product out of Valley View High School in Jonesboro, is choosing between Arkansas, Missouri, UCF and UNLV. He’ll announce during a ceremony at 6 p.m. CT.
- Friday (July 14): Another in-state standout, four-star running back Braylen Russell out of Benton High School is choosing between Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee. He’s having a ceremony at his high school that will be live streamed by 247Sports at 6:45 p.m. CT.
- Friday (July 14): Cornerback Selman Bridges, a top-50 prospect on 247Sports, will announce his decision on Friday, as well, but the Temple, Texas, Lake Belton product has not announced his official finalists. However, he officially visited Arkansas, Texas and TCU last month.
- Saturday (July 15): Safety Ashton Hampton, a four-star prospect out of Florida State University School in Tallahassee, Fla., also hasn’t announced his official finalists, but took official visits to Arkansas, Clemson, Florida and Louisville last month. He is the son of UAPB head coach Alonzo Hampton.
- Next Thursday (July 20): Four-star defensive lineman Kendall Jackson, who plays at F.W. Buchholz High in Gainesville, Fla., is believed to be down to Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky and Miami (Fla.) — the four schools he officially visited last month.
Dallas Thomas Commits to Clemson
On the hardwood, in-state standout Dallas Thomas announced he was not only heading out of state for college, but going far out of the Natural State.
The four-star power forward out of Little Rock Parkview chose Clemson from a final five that also included Arkansas, LSU, Memphis and Missouri.
Thomas — who averaged 16.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.1 blocks as a junior — is widely considered the second-best player in Arkansas for the 2024 class, behind only Little Rock Central’s Annor Boateng.
He is ranked anywhere from No. 64 to No. 75 on the various recruiting sites, with each of them tabbing him a four-star prospect. His highest ranking is in the 247Sports Composite, which gives him a 0.9746 rating and No. 64 overall ranking.
Big Weekend for the Wiggins Family
A couple days before Jaxon Wiggins heard his name called 68th overall in the 2023 MLB Draft, which is being held at Lumen Field (home of the NFL’s Seahawks), it was his little brother who put on a show just next door in Seattle.
Playing in the MLB/USA Baseball High School All-American Game at T-Mobile Park, the site of this year’s MLB All-Star Game, Carson Wiggins — a 2024 commit for the Razorbacks — turned some heads with an impressive scoreless inning of work.
He threw five of the six hardest fastballs at the event, as they were each 95-97 mph “with serious life,” and also “threw a few vicious short sweepers,” according to Joe Doyle of Future Star Series.
Throw in his size (6-5, 210) and the fact he’s already touched 99 mph, Carson Wiggins will likely be even more heralded coming out of Roland High School in Oklahoma than his brother.
Jaxon was the No. 129 overall recruit in the Class of 2020. Carson is already No. 70 and is expected to shoot up those rankings after what he’s done this summer.
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