Arkansas Vies with Contenders like Tennessee for Ronnie Wingo’s 5-Star Little Brother

Ryan Wingo, Arkansas football, Arkansas recruiting
photo credit: Twitter/@_Ryanwingo1

Wingo is a familiar name for Arkansas football fans, as many remember running back Ronnie Wingo Jr. and his touchdown on a wheel route in the 2010 Alabama game.

That play may still be shown on replays around the state, but nowadays, it’s another Wingo garnering plenty of recruiting attention — Ronnie’s little brother, five-star wide receiver Ryan Wingo at St. Louis University High.

Recruitment of Ryan Wingo

The number of scholarship offers that Ryan Wingo has racked up is quite impressive. More than 30 schools are pursuing him and he’s reached five-star status in the 247Sports Composite and on Rivals.

The list of schools interested in his services reads like a list of college football royalty. Programs such as Clemson, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Miami and Michigan are competing against Arkansas for Wingo’s services. 

Throughout this past season, Wingo paid visits to a number of schools, including the Clemson Tigers, who have always had wide receivers that can make big plays in the passing game. Names like Tee Higgins of the Cincinnati Bengals and Mike Williams of the Los Angeles Chargers are just two big-play receivers who caught passes at Clemson before in the NFL.

Wingo has already visited Arkansas at least three times, including during the Texas game in 2021 and the Alabama game last fall. He also came in March for a prospect day. He would fit in nicely for the Hogs, as big-play wide receivers do well in the Kendal Briles system. All you have to do is look at Matt Landers and Treylon Burks for confirmation. Wingo has the potential to do big things should he sign with the Razorbacks.

Unfortunately for Arkansas football fans, the same can be said of Tennessee football coach Josh Heupel’s system. Wingo has visited Knoxville twice over the past few months, including during the Vols’ takedown of then No. 3 Alabama at home, and was in town again this weekend for a massive recruiting weekend centered around the Kentucky-Tennessee basketball game.

While Wingo also has visits set up with Colorado and Texas A&M, the Volunteers appear to be the front runner at this point and 247Sports national analyst Steve Wiltfong has put in a crystal ball in favor of Tennessee football. However, it remains to be seen what influence new Aggies offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino will have on his recruitment given he was the head coach of his brother, Ronnie Wingo Jr., at Arkansas.

Of course, when it comes to recruiting, you are not just recruiting against current coaches, locations and areas. You are recruiting against tradition, too, which is something the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have in spades. Wingo had the opportunity to visit Notre Dame for its game against Stanford this season, when the Fighting Irish were still attempting to find footing in what was a shaky start to the season.

They closed out the season strong, finishing with a 9-4 record, but the early half of the season was a struggle with losses to Marshall and Stanford.

“It’s still Marcus Freeman’s first year as the head coach,” Wingo told 247Sports after the visit. “He’s still getting into it. You can’t base everything off that one year. … They didn’t get blown out against Stanford or anything like that, so that’s a good thing. I also saw how much of an impact I can make if I was to go to school there and stuff like that. It was great.”

What Wingo Would Mean for Arkansas Football

From a signing perspective, Arkansas being able to sign the 6-foot-2, 198-pound Ryan Wingo would give the Hogs a wide receiver who can stretch the field vertically given Wingo’s sprinter speed. As a sophomore in high school, Wingo ran the 100-meter dash in 10.55 seconds.

That was on display this season, as he caught 41 passes for 785 yards and 12 touchdowns — giving him a 19.1-yard average. He also returned a pair of punts for touchdowns, averaging 30.5 yards on six returns.

From a recruiting perspective, Arkansas has a good track record in St. Louis in the past. The Razorbacks were able to pull Steve Atwater out of Lutheran North High and, of course, Ronnie Wingo Jr. from Saint Louis University High. Being able to recruit out of the Saint Louis area would only be beneficial to the Razorbacks in the future, plus landing a player of Wingo’s caliber would send a message to the rest of the country that they can compete with the heavyweights.

Wingo’s Connection to the Razorbacks

Having an older brother who played for the Razorbacks doesn’t necessarily put them in the driver’s seat when it comes to his recruiting, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

“It really doesn’t matter to me because we both went to the same high school,” Wingo said after his visit in March. “Following his footsteps, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world — (it’d) probably be an even better thing because he already got the fan love from here, so it would just add on to me, so it would be good all around.”

If anything, that connection likely shows Wingo his potential to help light an entire state on fire. As a young child, he would have seen his older brother as a big-play threat in a high-powered offense that the Razorbacks put on the field under Bobby Petrino.

That kind of legacy continued more recently when Arkansas had Treylon Burks to stretch the field vertically and was a big-play just waiting to happen. In 2021 alone, Burks hauled 66 receptions for 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Arkansas football fans are wanting to see that run-pass mix that the Hogs have established the past two seasons continue to baffle opposing defenses. The only way to accomplish this feat is to continue to recruit at a high level and continue to make good use of the transfer portal. Being able to bring in recruits with connections to the University of Arkansas can only benefit the Razorbacks over the next few years.


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