FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas signed six players from Oklahoma in the Class of 2021 and are on more from there in 2022.
The Arkansas coaching staff has extensive ties to Oklahoma and while they may not sign six there in 2022 and the future look for them to make an impact there. Sam Pittman talked about that on Wednesday.
“Well, I really like that group,” Pittman said. “We went over there and if you really look at the kids we signed, for the most part we signed a lot of speed out of the state of Oklahoma with AJ Green, certainly Keuan Parker, Bryce Stephens. Those guys can really run, and so can Javion Hunt. But with Javion, you sign a guy whose high school has won 5 state championships in a row. Very tough, their main running back for several years. And then of course we signed Cam Little, who in our opinion is as good a kicker as there is in the country, and we were very fortunate to get him.”
While it took former Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema over two years to realize how close Tulsa was to Fayetteville that isn’t the case with Pittman.
“You look from here to Oklahoma City, I don’t think it’s much more than three hours maybe,” Pittman said. “If it is, it’s not much more than that. And of course Tulsa, defending on how fast the traffic (is) you’re looking at an hour and a half. We should go over there to Oklahoma. Signing six out of there certainly was a plan.”
While Pittman is from Oklahoma, he’s far from the only one with the ties to that state.
“When you get the head coaching job you try to form your staff around, obviously, good men, good coaches, and then good recruiters,” Pittman said. “Then, where can they go into? We still have Georgia ties on our staff and we were able to go in Georgia and sign three, then we have Oklahoma guys – myself, (Jon) Cooper, Brad Davis played at the University of Oklahoma. So we have several different guys that have ties in the state of Oklahoma and it certainly was good for us this year. Barry (Odom) is from Maysville and Ada.”
In addition to the five named by Pittman, the Hogs also added Vian defensive tackle Solomon Wright, 6-1, 275, who Pittman talked about when discussing the defensive linemen.
Hunt and Little will enroll at Arkansas in January. Green, Parker, Stephens and Wright will arrive in late May or early June.
Green and Hunt are running backs who both figure to help immediately. Green, 5-11, 194, helped lead Tulsa Union to the state semifinals. His senior year rushed for 1,325 yards (7.8 ypc) and 19 touchdowns. Hunt, 6-0, 205, is from Oklahoma City Carl Albert. As a senior rushed for 771 yards (6.1 ypc) and 12 touchdowns while also madding five catches for 61 yards (12.2 ypc).
Stephens is from Oklahoma City John Marshall and one of the fastest wide receivers in the nation. As a senior, played in eight games making 32 catches for 686 yards (21.4 ypc) and nine touchdowns.
Parker, 5-11, 173, is from Tulsa Booker T. Washington. As a senior, played in seven games and made 20 tackles with a tackle for loss, one interception and one forced fumble.
Little is a kicker who should compete for immediate action this spring and fall. Little, 6-2, 170, is from Moore Southmoore. As a senior, made 6 of 10 field goals with a long of 49 yards and made 24 of 24 point after tries. Punted 41 times, placing nine inside the 20-yard line.
Wright turned down Oklahoma State and others to become a Razorback. As a senior, he had 56 tackles, 27 for loss, 12 sacks, two recovered fumbles and blocked five punts while helping his squad to a 9-2 mark. As a junior, made 124 tackles and 14 sacks while helping Vian High School to a 12-2 record and a state-runner up finish. As a sophomore, made 91 stops with 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and an interception return for a touchdowns. His freshman season, made 48 tackles with three sacks.
Pittman liked what he saw on tape of Wright.
“Solomon Wright, I loved him,” Pittman said. “I loved him on tape. He has great explosiveness and can really run. He’s not quite as tall as your typical D-lineman would be in the SEC, but he’s also much quicker. He can also run. I loved him when I saw him on tape. I knew his daddy. You know his dad, Kenyatta, played there at Oklahoma State and he’s a wonderful guy. We went after him hard and I was really happy we were able to sign him.”
Arkansas currently is in the hunt for some more Oklahoma prospects in 2022. Among them are Tulsa Booker T. Washington five-star athlete Gentry Williams, 6-0, 170, Broken Arrow four-star cornerback Maurion Horn, 5-11, 175, and Edmond Deer Creek offensive lineman Jacob Sexton, 6-5, 290. A 2022 sleeper to watch in Oklahoma that Arkansas hasn’t offered, but could is Vian linebacker Xavin Lackey, 6-2, 218. He was a teammate of Wright and had a very good season.