Despite being a border state, Mississippi hasn’t exactly produced a large number of Arkansas football players through the years.
Old-timers like Lance Alworth and Bruce James may immediately come to mind as some of the best Razorbacks ever to come out of the Magnolia State, but there may be a new generational pipeline emerging through the small town of Sardis, Miss.
The city has a population of just 1,748, but its North Panola High School produced current Arkansas starting quarterback KJ Jefferson and is now home to one of Razorbacks’ latest offers in the 2024 class, JJ Harrell.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound athlete originally committed to Southern Miss last Halloween, but backed off that pledge over the summer. When Arkansas pulled the trigger Sunday, his only other offer was from Memphis. He quickly added Oregon, Penn State and Liberty after the Razorbacks became the first Power Five school to extend an offer.
The explosion in Harrell’s recruitment came just days after he had a monster performance in North Panola’s 54-14 win over Byhalia last Friday. Despite playing only one half, he caught 57- and 22-yard touchdowns and returned a punt 60 yards for another score.
Sandwiched between that incredible showing and the Arkansas offer, Harrell actually got a first-hand look at the Razorbacks. Unfortunately for them, it was as a guest of Mississippi State and he saw the home-state Bulldogs smoke Arkansas 40-17.
Harrell took another unofficial visit earlier this season, going just up the road to Oxford to see Ole Miss. However, neither of the in-state SEC programs have yet offered him.
In-State Sophomore Phenom
Already sporting an offer from Arkansas football and several other programs, Omarion Robinson put on a show Friday night.
Much like Harrell, he played in just the first half of Little Rock Parkview’s 47-21 win over Hope, but he took it a step further by finding the end zone four times.
Making the accomplishment even more impressive is the fact that none of the touchdowns came on offense. He returned one kickoff and two punts for scores, plus had a pick-six.
According to Leland Barclay, the kickoff return covered 77 yards in the first quarter and the pick-six went for 29 yards in the second quarter. He had one punt return touchdown in each quarter and they went for 44 and 84 yards, respectively. That means he had 234 yards worth of returns on those four plays alone.
Long returns aren’t new to Robinson, as he had an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Springdale Har-Ber earlier this season.
Already a four-star safety and top-100 recruit after a ninth grade season in which he was tabbed a second-team Freshman All-American by MaxPreps, Robinson has offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Louisville, Ole Miss, TCU, Utah and others.
Little Rock Parkview
Little Rock, Ark.
2025 | S
6-0 | 171
No. 60 overall
No. 3 S
No. 1 in Ark.
No. 69 overall
No. 5 S
No. 1 in Ark.
No. 83 overall
No. 4 S
No. 2 in Ark.
No. 75 overall
Big Week on the Diamond
It was a pretty good week of recruiting for both the Arkansas baseball and softball programs, as each team secured commitments from elite prospects.
Still riding the momentum of landing each of the three top-30 prospects football coach Sam Pittman helped her recruit, softball coach Courtney Deifel added outfielder Ramsey Walker to the mix last Thursday.
Ranked the 14th-best overall prospect in the country by Extra Innings, Walker joins what is shaping up to be an incredible 2024 class. The Razorbacks now have commitments from the No. 3 (Ella McDowell), No. 5 (Cameryn Harrison), No. 14 (Walker) and No. 28 (Ashtyn Reichardt) players in that class.
Not to be outdone, Dave Van Horn added to his top-ranked 2023 class by landing third baseman Nazzan Zanetello, who announced his decision via Instagram last Thursday. The Missouri native is the 11th top-100 recruit to commit to Arkansas, according to Perfect Game.
Originally a Miami (Fla.) commit before reopening his recruitment in February, Zanetello’s pledge once again pushes the Razorbacks up to No. 1 in Perfect Game’s Class of 2023 rankings after Vanderbilt briefly overtook the top spot.
Over the summer, Zanetello was named the MVP of the Breakthrough Series, an event put on by MLB’s developmental program that puts highly ranked high school prospects in front of college and professional scouts. He’ll be honored on the field during Game 2 of the World Series later this month.
Other Arkansas Recruiting Nuggets
- Ryan Wingo, a five-star wide receiver in the 2024 class, continues to put up incredible numbers. Last week, he caught five passes for 100 yards and one touchdown, plus returned a punt 47 yards for another score, in St. Louis University High’s 42-19 win over Chaminade. He is the younger brother of former Arkansas running back Ronnie Wingo Jr. and has visited the Razorbacks multiple times, most recently for the Alabama game.
- Already with two older brothers who played college football, not to mention a father who’s the athletics director at Arkansas, Brooks Yurachek also appears to be a fine football player. With Fayetteville High playing a couple of home games inside Reynolds Razorback Stadium while its home stadium undergoes repairs, Hunter Yurachek’s youngest son notched an 85-yard pick-six to go along with 11 tackles in a 60-20 win over Fort Smith Southside.
- In-state linebacker Brian Huff, a 2024 prospect out of Valley View High in Paragould, recently picked up an offer from Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are the third Power Five program to extend an offer, joining Arkansas and Missouri
- Enjoy this clip of Luke Hasz going into beast mode and scoring a 53-yard touchdown on a reception up the seam:
- On the hardwood, Arkansas landed in the top eight for four-star small forward Jahki Howard. The Razorbacks are going up against Kentucky, Auburn, Kansas, Florida State, Texas, Georgia Tech and Georgetown. They won’t have to wait too long to find out who won the battle, as he is set to announce his decision Nov. 20.
More coverage of Arkansas recruiting from BoAS…