The Arkansas football program has experienced a monumental turnaround in the past few seasons, going from back-to-back 2-10 seasons in 2018 and 2019 to a 9-4 campaign capped by a victory at the Outback Bowl last year.
A big piece to that turnaround has been back-to-back star quarterbacks in Feleipe Franks and KJ Jefferson. However, Jefferson must move on in the next couple years and Arkansas will need a new star quarterback.
Malik Hornsby is already on campus and the Razorbacks have four-star Malachi Singleton committed in the current recruiting class, but depending on how much longer Jefferson plays in Fayetteville, the answer could be in the 2024 class.
Little Rock Christian quarterback Walker White is one of those potential successors. He is a four-star prospect, the top-ranked recruit in Arkansas and the No. 12 quarterback in the nation, according to the 247Sports Composite.
With a .9321 composite rating, White is ranked No. 173 overall. That makes him the highest-rated in-state quarterback since Auburn signee Kiehl Frazier (.9725, No. 53) out of Shiloh Christian in Springdale.
Despite just being a junior, the talented signal caller already has scholarship offers from a number of big name schools, including Arkansas, Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, Louisville and others. Arkansas does have one thing that the other schools do not, and that is a history with the White family.
Check out a breakdown of Walker White’s sophomore film from HawgBeat:
Family Ties to the Razorbacks
John David White, a former walk-on wide receiver at Arkansas and Zac White, a former baseball player for the Razorbacks, are the older brothers of Walker White. He also has a great-grandfather, grandfather and uncle who played football for the Razorbacks, while his dad was a golfer at Arkansas.
Even with the in-state and family ties, White is not a sure thing for the Razorbacks and is weighing all of his options. He does not have a shortage of them, and the list will probably grow as the season goes on.
“I’ve got ties there, but I also understand the position I’m in,” White said in an interview with Campus 2 Canton. “I understand there are many colleges that would want me to be their quarterback. I’ve really taken consideration. I’ve told my family this: ‘Look, I’m not just going to go to Arkansas because all of y’all went to Arkansas.’ I’m going to go where I think I can play football. If that ends up being Arkansas, then yeah, let’s go. But if it ends up being any other school, then yeah, let’s go. Because I just want to play football.
“My summary of that answer is no, I’m not solely Arkansas. Getting an offer from there was very cool, but getting an offer from everywhere else is just as cool. To understand that other colleges and other college coaches want me, it’s cool. It’s a cool position to be in. I am completely open to go wherever fits best for me.”
The Recruitment of Walker White
White has no shortage of interest, but remains quiet on where he is going for now. He did, however, recently reveal that it won’t be too long before we have a better idea of where he’s considering.
“I’ve narrowed it down a good amount right now,” White said after a win at Shiloh earlier this month. “Probably February of 2023 – or March. February or March is when I’ll peek you in.”
Also during his conversation with Campus 2 Canton, White said he had been advised to commit a little earlier than some so he may entice other players to join him. He also revealed that the key things he’s looking for in his college choice are team culture, relationships with coaches he will spend most of his time with and if that school has quarterbacks already committed in his class.
White has a 6-foot-4, 215-pound athletic frame with room to fill out. He is an accurate passer with quick feet and the speed to break off a long run. He put all of his tools on display Sept. 2, when he led Little Rock Christian to a dominant 49-14 win over Shiloh Christian.
Playing just up the road in Springdale made it possible for Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman and tight ends coach Dowell Loggains to see White in person.
“It meant a lot because Coach Pittman told me that was the first high school game he had ever been to as a head coach,” White told WholeHogSports. “That was really an honor. That was really cool to hear.”
White did not let that take away from his performance. He was still locked in and looked focused. He was very good early despite the added pressure of the Head Hog being in the house.
Walker White Scouting Report
The result was an impressive showing in which he completed 15 of 25 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed eight times for 71 yards and three more touchdowns, earning some praise from the Arkansas coaches afterward.
He started the scoring with a short touchdown run, turning the corner quickly and fitting between a pile of defenders. He also showed off his passes on the move early, tossing a touchdown pass while moving to his right. White utilized his legs as well as his arm throughout the game as Little Rock Christian ran a lot more bootlegs to the right to get him moving out of the pocket. He seemed the most comfortable when on the move.
Early in the game, his passes were nearly perfect. He had a tight spiral and hit his receivers in stride and where only they could catch the ball. Not only could he pass on the run, he was very steady in the pocket and didn’t rush his throws. His best pass of the game came from in the pocket, tossing a 15-yard dime down the left seam.
White showed his raw talent and the reason he is a highly sought after recruit, but there were some areas that needed work. Most of the things he needs to work on should be easily correctable with experience and coaching.
He was intercepted in the second quarter because he stared down his target and did not read the lurking safety. He also seemed hesitant at times to let it rip, leading to no completions deep down field.
Experience will help with all of these areas – getting comfortable in the pocket, looking off defenders and reading the defense. This assessment had to be nit-picky because White is very talented and he is already good in every aspect, but a little more experience will help him prepare for Division I football and maximize his potential.
The second half was mostly a running game as Little Rock Christian had a good lead and began to chew the clock. White was not done showing off his talent though. Late in the third quarter, he showed his speed by breaking off a long touchdown run.
An NFL Comparison
White already has a great game and knows where he wants to go as far as player type. He compares himself to – and says he wants to resemble – Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
“Obviously, you look at Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, the throws they make are insane,” White told Campus 2 Canton. “But Josh Allen, he is a football player. I want to be able to run like he does, but if you watch, he can also be a pocket player as much as he wants.
“That’s me. I can stay in the pocket. My pocket movement has increased (significantly), and my feel for it, like in my escapes. I can do my dropbacks and I can go through my three-progression read and make a throw based on leverage, but I can also run the ball. If the pocket collapses, I can escape and make a play with my feet.”
He needs to fill out his frame more to be the next Josh Allen, who is a solid and very strong man at 6-foot-5, 237 pounds. White could possibly get his weight to that point in a few years – after all, Allen was just 215 pounds when he signed with Wyoming out of junior college.
For now, though, he resembles another quarterback discussed in that Campus 2 Canton interview: Kenny Pickett. He was a first-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers out of the University of Pittsburgh.
“I understand that Kenny Pickett just got drafted. By the way, he is one heck of a quarterback. He was a dog,” White said on Campus 2 Canton. “They’re encouraging me to get up to campus, and I would love to get up to campus. I’ve created a good relationship with coach DiBiaso.
“But they haven’t said things like, ‘You could be the next Pickett,’ because my game of play and Pickett’s game of play, they’re different. I do look up to Kenny Pickett in the sense of, the way that he throws is so accurate and he knows where to go every time. And he’s a football player, you can watch him, he’s a player. Pittsburgh is a really interesting school. For me, it’s too early to say what’s my top three or top five, but Pittsburgh is a school where I could potentially see myself going to.”
White may see differences in their games, but he and Pickett do have a lot of similarities. They both have more sleek builds, have the speed and athleticism to run the ball effectively, and are very accurate passers.
Another Visit for Arkansas Football
He followed his performance against Shiloh by staying in Northwest Arkansas and taking yet another unofficial visit to Arkansas the next day. Having already been on campus numerous times, this particular one gave him an opportunity to meet with Pittman and watch the Razorbacks get a hard-fought victory over Cincinnati.
White’s season-opening performances should definitely put him at the forefront of the 2024 priority list. He is currently uncommitted, so a lot can happen in the next two years, but it appears Arkansas may have a foot in the door with Walker White.
“After a good win on Friday, it was just fun to get up there and just hang with all of the coaches,” White told WholeHogSports. “They were really excited. The energy, it was electric. It was just fun to be up there to talk with Coach Pittman and see all the coaches again and watch the Hogs get a good win.”
Top 10 QBs from Arkansas of the 247Sports Era
The following list is based on how the in-state quarterbacks from Arkansas were rated in the 247Sports Composite, which goes back to 2000. With roughly a quarter-century of data, here are the top 10…
- Mitch Mustain (Springdale, 2006) — .9964 — Arkansas
- Kiehl Frazier (Shiloh Christian, 2011) — .9725 — Auburn
- Tyler Wilson (Greenwood, 2008) — .9366 — Arkansas
- Walker White (Little Rock Christian, 2024) — .9321 — undecided
- Kodi Burns (Fort Smith Northside, 2007) — .9290 — Auburn
- Gerry Bohanon (Earle, 2018) — .9117 — Baylor
- Ty Storey (Charleston, 2015) — .9088 — Arkansas
- Jacolby Criswell (Morrilton, 2020) — .9070 — North Carolina
- Connor Noland (Greenwood, 2018) — .8946 — Arkansas
- Austin Allen (Fayetteville, 2013) — .8913 — Arkansas
More coverage of Arkansas recruiting from BoAS…