A Top In-State Recruit Gives Edge to Hogs over OU, UO in One Specific Area

Omarion Robinson
Via @liilmanman2_

At this point, it’s getting downright predictable. A promising sophomore or junior recruit verbally commits to the Arkansas football program. Folks celebrate. Then, a few months pass and then that same recruit decommits, usually citing how much he hasn’t stopped loving Arkansas and/or Sam Pittman, but still – sorry. Gotta go see some potentially greener pastures.

Folks get up in arms. Calls like this one are made for Pittman’s head. Rinse, repeat.

At various junctures over the last 9 months, about-faceitis has infected Braylen Russell, Courtney Crutchfield, Marcus Wimberly, Carius Curne and Jamarion Parker. It struck again on Sunday when Georgia native Bear McWhorter, whom ESPN ranks as the No. 7 offensive guard in the nation for the class of 2026, sent out a post containing those all-too-familiar words: “Even now, my love for the Hogs and Coach [Sam Pittman] hasn’t changed. After lots of thought, prayer and conversations with my family, I realize I only get to go through this process once in my life…”

Bear McWhorter: We Thought We Knew You

This one’s a particularly bad look given McWhorter so avidly wanted to be a Hog a few years ago when his family purchased billboard space on I-49 petitioning Pittman for a scholarship offer. McWhorter’s billboard message – “COACH PITTMAN, I WANT TO BE A HOG.” – has clearly changed to “LOOK Y’ALL, I AM NOT SO SURE I WANT TO BE A HOG.”

Sure, things could swing back in Arkansas’ favor in this case, as they did with Russell. But the last few Arkansas football recruits to decommit have cleared out of Dodge for good.

It’s too early to tell whether McWhorter comes back or not. Perhaps he, like tens of thousands of other Razorback fans, is taking a wait-and-see approach to how the season will progress and if Pittman will even remain the coach at the end of it.

Arkansas football could sure use another hit of the kind of good news it got last week when Antonio Jordan out of Warren committed to the program without even feeling the need to visit any other SEC schools offering him.

The next opportunity for fans to whipsaw back to a celebratory mood comes on July 6 at 4 pm when Omarion Robinson and Monterrio Elston, two stars out of Little Rock Parkview High, will announce their pledges at the same event.

For Elston, a three-star running back, the favorite appears to be Kansas State over Arkansas. Obviously, losing another in-state recruit would sting, but Elston’s loss would not hurt as badly as that of his teammate’s.

Omarion Robinson on Arkansas and Oklahoma Football

For the last three seasons, Omarion Robinson has built up a reputation as one of the nation’s best defensive backs in his class with exceptional reflexes as you can see below. This time last year he was rated among the nation’s top 150 recruits and was the state of Arkansas’ top-rated defensive back in 16 years.

Don’t let Robinson’s drop to “only” No. 245 nationally and No. 2 in the state according to the 247Sports Composite fool you. His versatility as a defensive back, kickoff returner and even receiver make him a highly sought-after prospect. No surprise that his top 4 is made up of LSU, Oregon, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

It appears that those last three schools are the strongest contenders at this point.

In terms of thinking outside the box, Arkansas football coaches may have the leg up on the competition. On Sunday, Robinson told Kyle Sutherland, on behalf of Best of Arkansas Sports, that Razorback coaches are offering him something nobody else is – the chance to play on offense.

Forecasting Omarion Robinson

Most colleges forecast Robinson as a defensive back and kickoff returner, two areas where he excels in high school. However, only Arkansas wants to also use him on offense as the rare modern-day two-way standout. Indeed, Robinson said that Arkansas wide receivers coach Ronnie Fouch has shown him a package of passing plays in which he could be featured.

Robinson playing two-way in college would actually fulfill a dream by another former Parkview/CAC great, Joe Adams. Adams electrified as a Razorback playing in Bobby Petrino’s system, but later said he wished he could have played some cornerback some, too.

While Robinson would enjoy the opportunity to play offense, just sticking with defense and special teams in no way seems to be a deal-breaker for him.

Robinson is being recruited to the Hogs by Quentin Murphy, his Parkview teammate and current UA commit. But he’s also getting plenty of persuasion toward Oklahoma football from Marcus Wimberly, the former Hogs commit who later planted his flag with the Sooners instead.

According to On3’s Nostradamus Machine, Robinson is way more than a mere OU lean. With an 89.2% chance given toward Oklahoma, On3 would have you think things are nearly a done deal:

In his interview with Best of Arkansas Sports, Robinson had general niceties to say about OU, Oregon and Arkansas. When it came to Oklahoma football, however, he had praise he didn’t give to the others. The Sooners, he feels, are “building something special.”

If Omarion Robinson does end up going out of state, that would mean the Razorbacks would have lost out on verbal commits for each of the top 3 in-state recruits in Curne, Robinson and Wimberly. The last time that happened, at least in terms of 247Sports Composite, was in 2007 when the top two in-state recruits Lee Ziemba and Kodi Burns headed to Auburn. No. 3 rated Broderick Green went to USC, although he’d later transfer to Arkansas.

That 2007 class came along just as Houston Nutt left and gave way to the eventual hiring of Bobby Petrino. It happened in the backdrop of a lot of uncertainty around a head coach’s future.

When it comes to McWhorter and the recent decommitments from the Razorbacks, it seem like history is looping back on itself.

Arkansas fans should hope that “repeat” button is pressed again over the course of the next few months. The 2007 recruiting debacle happened just before Petrino arrived as head coach. In his first class, he cleaned up by getting commitments for each of the top 11 in-state players in the class.

After a low point, things started definitively trending back up again.

Here in 2024, we don’t even know if this is the low point yet.

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