Wimberly’s Tweet Hammers Home the Real Cost of Pittman’s In-State Recruiting Misses

Sam Pittman, Arkansas football
photo credit: Craven Whitlow

Arkansas football received a double-barrel blast of bad news out of Little Rock this weekend when Parkview Magnet teammates Omarion Robinson and Monterrio Elston both decided to take their talents outside the state.

The duo held a joint ceremony where Robinson, a four-star safety rated as the state’s top prospect by Rivals, chose Oklahoma and Elston, a three-star running back, committed to Kansas State.

On the back of a shocking commitment from Tavion Wallace, the Hogs had a chance to build on that momentum and push their class into the top 20 nationally with some landmark decision dates in the days after. Instead, they’ve swung and missed on all three priority targets – Robinson, Elston and Zion Williams – who have since announced their college destinations.

The recent decisions mean that Arkansas has made history with its recruitment of in-state prospects – and not in a good way. Looking at the top three prospects out of Arkansas in each Rivals class since head coach Sam Pittman returned to Fayetteville, the Hogs have landed just seven out of 18 of those players.

The loss of Robinson means the Razorbacks have landed zero of the top three in the 2025 class – a damning indictment on Pittman’s efforts to put a fence around the state of Arkansas. So what does that actually mean for the program?

Pouring Salt in the Wound for Arkansas Football

In addition to Omarion Robinson, the other parts of the state’s “big three” in the class are Carius Curne, a four-star offensive lineman headed to LSU, and Marcus Wimberly, a four-star safety committed to Oklahoma. Dropping down one more spot on Rivals’ list, the No. 4 player in the state, Bryant running back Daniel Anderson, is a Notre Dame commit.

Wimberly was an Arkansas commit at one point before backtracking on his decision and eventually pledging to the Sooners. With Robinson joining him at Oklahoma, the Bauxite native took to Twitter to dunk on the Razorbacks.

“Arkansas boys coming to take over the SEC,” but not in Fayetteville. There’s no way around it – that’s a shot to the heart for the Razorbacks, for a number of reasons.

First off, it’s a gut-punch to the program’s reputation with in-state recruits. If prospects grow up watching their home-state school be mediocre for years, that’s going to hurt Arkansas’ image and make those kids less likely to come play for the Hogs.

That impact can be seen with three-star running back Kiandrea Barker, a Beebe native currently committed to Penn State.

“I’m keeping Arkansas in the back of my head,” he said in a recent interview.

That’s really not the way you want to be viewed by in-state recruits. You want local kids to grow up dreaming of playing for Arkansas, rather than viewing the Hogs as a fallback option if their visions of playing elsewhere don’t pan out. On the other hand, this could be viewed as a positive that a recruit pledged outside the state is still considering Arkansas.

The Razorback reputation took another hit last week when 2026 offensive lineman Bear McWhorter, who famously had a billboard on I-49 expressing his desire to play for Coach Pittman, went back on his commitment to the Razorbacks. The Hogs not even being able to keep the kids who dream of playing for the school is the ultimate blow.

Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom in that regard, as there’s still some Arkansas talent taking pride in the chance to rep the Razorbacks. Four-star athlete Quentin Murphy, an Arkansas commit, said in an interview with Pig Trail Nation that he’s excited to play for his home-state school and try to turn the program around.

“The people that’s coming up, we’re gonna change the impact, you know, try to help Arkansas,” he said. “We want to bring a natty home. That’s the No. 1 goal, get back to being ranked.”

The ultimate irony would be Murphy decommitting at some point – but hey, it wouldn’t be the first time.

SEC Poaching Doubles Sting of Top Recruits’ Defections

It’s one thing to lose an in-state prospect, but it hurts a lot more when they head to a rival school. There’s countless tales of “Arkansas boys” signing with high-major schools outside the state and going on to cook the Hogs in head-to-head matchups. 

Losing these kids to direct conference foes presents the opportunity for one of the most painful tropes in sports – the in-state prospect that got away returning to dominate his local school.

Malik Monk at Kentucky and KeVaughn Allen at Florida are the first names that come to mind from the basketball realm. In football, the recent transfers of Joe Foucha and Greg Brooks Jr. to LSU bring back bad memories – though Arkansas at least won that “trade” by receiving Dwight McGlothern and Landon Jackson in return.

This time around, however, it doesn’t appear like the Hogs are going to get any positives out of this one. You can already imagine Curne dominating the trenches against Arkansas, or Wimberly and Robinson intercepting a pass for the Sooners whenever they eventually face off against the Razorbacks. 

The headlines write themselves, and the sour current state of Arkansas football makes the taste of that even worse.

Realignment Knocks Arkansas Football Down Another Peg

Losing football recruits to LSU or Missouri, as was the case with highly-touted 2024 receiver Courtney Crutchfield, is definitely painful for Arkansas. But the recent defections of Wimberly and Robinson to Oklahoma illustrates a larger, long-term problem that could hurt the Razorbacks for years to come – the consequences of realignment.

It’s something that’s long been feared by Arkansas fans with the addition of Texas and OU into the SEC. The positives of the conference loading up are increased TV revenue and the revival of the Hogs’ historic rivalry with the Longhorns – but realignment’s negative impact on recruiting is already starting to rear its ugly head.

Texas and Oklahoma are two historic powers with a lot of money, particularly in football. With Arkansas already struggling to land recruits, the last thing it needed was two more powerhouse programs breathing down its neck. The border-state foes are already making their presence felt.

Oklahoma’s two recent poaches go alongside the troubling trend with Texas landing five-star wide receiver Ryan Wingo in the 2024 class, a legacy recruit with Arkansas family ties through former Razorback running back Ronnie Wingo Jr., his older brother. The Longhorns also stole four-star prospect Lance Jackson, the younger brother of current Razorback captain Landon Jackson.

The Sooners and Longhorns have shown the ability to leverage their prestige to win recruiting races where Arkansas has a head start, whether it be through bloodline or in-state proximity. These losses on the recruiting trial show how the SEC’s expansion knocks the Hogs even further down the totem pole, with little signs of improvement barring a significant change to on-field results.


Quentin Murphy’s full interview on the Pig Trail Nation:


More coverage of Arkansas football from BoAS:

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