The Arkansas Razorbacks have not been shy about identifying talented offensive line prospects and recruiting those prospects aggressively. Coach Sam Pittman and his recruiting staff are not afraid to recruit offensive line talent on the national stage. Andrew Chamblee and E’Marion Harris are two offensive linemen that the Hogs have committed as building blocks with four star ratings from 247 Sports.
Two years ago, the Razorbacks dipped into Tennessee to pull offensive linemen Marcus Henderson out of Memphis. Henderson was ranked by ESPN as the nation’s No. 164 recruit, so Arkansas has recently snagged a top-300 recruit from the Volunteer state. Now, the search for offensive linemen that fit the Hogs style of play has taken them to Chattanooga, TN, home of offensive lineman Brycen Sanders.
With the Arkansas offense leaning heavily on the ground attack, the increased emphasis the Razorbacks are placing on quality offensive linemen is not that surprising. Brycen Sanders is the latest offensive line recruit in the class of 2023 that has caught the eye of Sam Pittman and his staff. Sanders, who attends Baylor School in Chattanooga, Sanders recently spoke with the Best of Arkansas Sports about a number of topics in regards to how his recruiting and the football season are going.
Over the past two seasons, Sanders has put together some impressive game tape on his way to emerging as the 282nd-ranked prospect in his class, according to 247 Sports.
He is an extremely versatile offensive lineman that can play the guard position or kick outside and play the tackle. Sanders has very quick feet which he uses well to keep opposing defensive linemen off-balance. He has that rare mix of speed and power and the frame at 6-5 and 280-pounds to support more weight at the college level, as you can see below:
Brycen Sanders and Arkansas Recruiting
Sanders told me he was impressed with the Texas game: “Arkansas looked strong and the offensive line was dominating.” The talented offensive lineman received a scholarship offer from the University of Arkansas on September 1st. The Arkansas coaching staff offered the scholarship quickly to let Sanders know that they were serious about getting his commitment.
Sanders has team and individual goals that he would like to accomplish in junior and senior seasons of high school. The Baylor School is off to an impressive start this season, and they are off to a 5-2 start to the season and Sanders wants to take it step by step by winning a district championship, then advancing in the state playoffs and ultimately winning a state championship.
Meanwhile, from an individual perspective, Sanders has plenty of goals he has set for himself. The first item on the list is that he does not want to allow a single sack all season. Sanders would also like to see his teammate running back Caleb Hampton win the Mr. Tennessee award for football.
Hampton is a dual-sport star and a South Carolina baseball commit. Sanders says him winning such an award “would reflect well on the offensive line as a whole.” The final items on the list as far as individual recognition goes is that he would like to earn all-district and all-state honors this season.
Recruiting Competitors for Brycen Sanders
The Arkansas football coaching staff is not the only school to take notice of Sanders. The Tennessee Volunteers have not been shy about recruiting the massive offensive lineman. Tennessee football coach Josh Heupel has made recruiting Sanders a high priority. Much like the Arkansas coaching staff, the Tennessee coaching staff knows that the home state talent needs to be kept in state.
The Volunteers are smart to be recruiting an offensive lineman that has the ability to potentially start for them. Sanders would bring to the Volunteers a lineman that could play any position along the offensive line. At the next level, he could potentially be a better fit at the offensive tackle position. Sanders recently had the opportunity to catch a Tennessee game and told 247 Sports: “It was great. The atmosphere was crazy. The fans were crazy.”
Sanders had 14 scholarship offers, including from Georgia, Auburn, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. Georgia Tech, Louisville, TCU, and Stanford are some programs outside of the conference that could factor into Sanders’ recruitment as well.
Expect Virginia Tech to be a major player in the recruitment of Brycen Sanders over the next year.
Sanders told The Tech Lunch Pail that the Hokies are one of the schools recruiting him the hardest. The others are Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio State, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Auburn and Kentucky.
While Sanders hasn’t yet visited Arkansas, he has visited Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia Tech. Visits to Ohio State, Auburn and Ole Miss are upcoming.
Sanders told me his recruiting has gone to another level since September 1: “It has been crazy how much the schools started blowing up my phone and mailbox with mail.” Underclassmen can initiate contact with coaches but NCAA rules make it where the coaches and scouts cannot initiate the contact until September 1st. That’s when underclassmen can be contacted by college coaches and to those coaches it is a lot like waiting on midnight to strike on Christmas Day.
Where the Arkansas Razorbacks may have an edge in the recruitment of Sanders is Sam Pittman himself. Sanders enjoys talking Coach Pittman and loves how genuine he is. Sanders described Pittman as a ‘fantastic coach and just so knowledgeable when it comes to playing on the offensive.” “I love talking with Coach Pittman because of how genuine and honest he is.”
Sanders likes how Pittman wants to use the team’s physicality to defeat opponents and for the offensive line to impose their will. Pittman being genuine and having a good plan in place on how he wants to win games and showcasing the offensive line is paying off well in terms of the recruiting that has been done.
The bottom line when it comes to the recruitment of Sanders is that the Arkansas Razorbacks are putting in the work early with the talented Tennessee offensive lineman. Sam Pittman and his coaching staff have targeted Sanders early in his recruiting process but will face stiff competition from other programs closer to Sanders’ home in the next year.
The other thing that the Razorbacks must keep in mind about is the importance of racking up the wins. Sanders was impressed with the win over Texas and the Hogs getting off to such a hot start early in the season.
Winning goes a long way in the college football world. It affects everything from donations from boosters to recruiting. People can argue which is more important but if you do not have the players, it is awfully tough to build a program.
Pittman has laid the groundwork thus far. All signs point to him and his staff continuing to recruit at a high level and picking up more blue-chip offensive linemen like Brycen Sanders.