The highest-ranked quarterback to come through Arkansas in more than a decade is leaving the state to play college football.
Little Rock Christian quarterback Walker White, a four-star prospect in the 2024 class, announced his commitment to Auburn on Friday, choosing the Tigers over Clemson and Baylor. The Razorbacks were not included in his final three, which he announced Thursday, despite a last-ditch effort by new offensive coordinator Dan Enos.
Ranked 142nd overall in the 247Sports Composite, White is the Natural State’s top quarterback recruit since Shiloh Christian’s Kiehl Frazier was No. 54 overall in 2011. He is the fifth-highest ranked in-state quarterback in the 247Sports Composite era (since 2000).
|2006||Mitch Mustain||Springdale||No. 9||Arkansas|
|2011||Kiehl Frazier||Shiloh Christian||No. 54||Auburn|
|2008||Tyler Wilson||Greenwood||No. 131||Arkansas|
|2007||Kodi Burns||Fort Smith Northside||No. 141||Auburn|
|2024||Walker White||Little Rock Christian||No. 142||Auburn|
He also had offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida, LSU, Oklahoma, Penn State and many others.
It is a significant blow to the Arkansas recruiting efforts because not only is it losing a talented in-state prospect to an SEC West foe, but one with extensive ties to the program. Both of White’s older brothers — John David (football) and Zac (baseball) — are former Razorbacks, plus he has a great-grandfather, grandfather and uncle who played football at Arkansas and his dad was a golfer at Arkansas.
On top of that, losing White is a less-than-ideal development in what is shaping up to be one of the strongest crops of in-state recruits in recent memory. The Razorbacks previously landed Braylen Russell, a four-star running back at Benton, only for him to decommit during the season.
Arkansas appears to still be in the running for Russell, as well as Little Rock Mills defensive end Charleston Collins, Bryant defensive end TJ Lindsey, Valley View linebacker Brian Huff and others, but it faces stiff competition from some of the biggest names in college football.
Time to Flip Walker White from Auburn Football?
Of course, there’s also more than 10 months until the early signing period, so there is theoretically time for Arkansas to change Walker White’s mind and get him to continue the family tradition of playing for the Razorbacks.
After all, Dan Enos has been on the job for only a couple of weeks and one of his first actions as offensive coordinator was to visit him in Little Rock. However, it is telling that Arkansas was not even in his top three and it’s hard to ignore how his older brother’s time in Fayetteville ended.
John David White joined the Razorbacks as a walk-on, but quickly showed his potential in practice and found his way on the field. Over three seasons, he caught three passes for 46 yards and played 100 total offensive snaps — an impressive workload for a walk-on.
Arkansas had scholarships to spare following the 2021 season and he seemed like a prime candidate to receive one, but it never came. Another walk-on wide receiver, Harper Cole, got a scholarship instead — despite having played only 11 offensive and 15 special teams snaps during his two years on the team at that point.
Who knows how that news was received by the White family, but John David White transferred down to Central Arkansas — where he got a scholarship — and it’s not too big of a jump to speculate that it may have influenced Walker White’s decision.
All of that is to say Enos and Sam Pittman have their work cut out for them if they want to flip White before he puts pen to paper. Perhaps they can do that with a big offensive season in which Enos helps KJ Jefferson further develop as a quarterback, but new Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze already has a proven track record of that — not to mention he did just beat the Razorbacks while at Liberty.
Arkansas Recruiting Outlook: 2024 QBs
Considering it has been only two weeks since Dan Enos took over as offensive coordinator, it’s hard to know exactly who else Arkansas football might be targeting at the position now that Walker White has committed to Auburn.
The Razorbacks have offered several quarterbacks in the 2024 class, but all of them were extended while Kendal Briles was still on staff.
None of those quarterbacks have shared that they’ve been re-offered, but Arkansas did host a couple of prospect days after Enos was hired. The most prominent 2024 quarterback to visit during those two events was Michael Hawkins, a four-star prospect from Texas who has visited Fayetteville multiple times. He included the Razorbacks in his top eight on Dec. 4, but that was when Briles was still the offensive coordinator.
Jake Merklinger and Prentiss Noland are top-150 quarterbacks from Georgia who have previously visited Fayetteville and were also offered by Enos at Maryland. Noland, in particular, doesn’t appear tied to Briles because he tagged running backs coach Jimmy Smith — who heavily recruits the Peach State — in his offer tweet, but it’s worth noting that was in December 2020.
Another intriguing potential option is Adrian Posse, a top-200 recruit from the Miami, Fla., area who visited Fayetteville last summer. He is back on the market after decommitting from Auburn last month in the wake of the staff change, opening the door for White to head to the Plains. Although he wasn’t offered by him at Maryland, Enos at least has his eye on Posse because he follows him on Twitter.
Among the quarterbacks offered by Enos with the Terrapins, the most notable is probably Michael Van Buren, a four-star recruit just outside of the top 100 in the 247Sports Composite. Maryland was his second Division I offer and he frequently visited the campus, leading to him including it in his top eight on Dec. 8. Of course, that could also be due to proximity, as Van Buren plays at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore.
It will be interesting to see who Enos signs as his first quarterback in his second stint at Arkansas. The first time around, he helped the Razorbacks land Cole Kelley (2016), Daulton Hyatt (2017) and Connor Noland (2018). That trio of quarterbacks had an .8735 average rating in the 247Sports Composite.
For a comparison, the three quarterbacks Arkansas signed under Briles — Malik Hornsby (2020), Lucas Coley (2021) and Malachi Singleton (2023) — had an average rating of .8948.
History of No. 1 Recruits in Arkansas
Unfortunately for Arkansas football, this is far from the first time an SEC foe raided the Natural State for its top recruit. In fact, it’s now happened 11 times in the 25 years of the 247Sports Composite.
This is actually the fourth time Auburn has done it and each time it had the help of a coach with ties to the state.
In 2007, the Tigers signed offensive lineman Lee Ziemba from Rogers when their head coach was Camden native Tommy Tuberville. Fort Smith native and Arkansas high school coaching legend Gus Malzahn was Auburn’s offensive coordinator when it signed running back Michael Dyer from Little Rock Christian and quarterback Kiehl Frazier from Shiloh Christian in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Now, Hugh Freeze landed a commitment from Walker White in the 2024 class after spending two years at Arkansas State — as an offensive coordinator in 2010 and head coach in 2011.
On top of that, White’s high school coach, Eric Cahu, has plenty of ties to Auburn. Cahu is the former head coach of Madison Academy in Alabama, where he coached future Auburn Tigers like Kerryon Johnson and Austin Troxell, according to 247Sports. At another former coaching stop, Cahu also coached current Auburn football assistant coach Josh Aldridge (linebackers coach) when Aldridge was playing in Franklin, Tenn.
Programs outside of the SEC to sign the No. 1 recruit from Arkansas include Baylor, Ohio State and Clemson. The Razorbacks landed 11 of the 25 top in-state prospects.
|2024||Walker White||QB||Little Rock Christian||Auburn|
|2021||Dreyden Norwood||CB||Fort Smith Northside||Texas A&M|
|2020||*Chris Morris||OL||West Memphis||Texas A&M|
|2015||KJ Hill||WR||North Little Rock||Ohio State|
|2014||Joshua Frazier||DT||Springdale Har-Ber||Alabama|
|2013||Altee Tenpenny||RB||North Little Rock||Alabama|
|2011||Kiehl Frazier||QB||Shiloh Christian||Auburn|
|2010||Michael Dyer||RB||Little Rock Christian||Auburn|
|2009||Darius Winston||CB||Helena-West Helena Central||Arkansas|
|2008||De’Anthony Curtis||CB||Camden Fairview||Arkansas|
|2005||Darren McFadden||RB||NLR Oak Grove||Arkansas|
|2004||Marcus Monk||WR||East Poinsett Co.||Arkansas|
*In 2020, Chris Morris was technically the top recruit, but he played only his senior year at West Memphis. He was deemed ineligible in Tennessee because he violated the state’s transfer rules, so he crossed the Mississippi River into Arkansas for his final year of high school. Morrilton quarterback Jacolby Criswell, who signed with North Carolina, was the true No. 1 in-state prospect. He has since transferred back home to play for the Razorbacks.
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