FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman knows it’s very important at Arkansas to have a very strong walk-on program.
Several former walk-on players who have since earned a scholarship played key roles for the Razorbacks this season. PIttman plans for that to continue as well.
“I think the walk ons has taken a new life to it because there’s academic money that we can help them with that we weren’t able to before,” Pittman said. “So I think might be able to get a guy who has a 1-AA or Division II scholarship especially if they are instate or if they can have some kind of instate equivalency across the border. I think we can be a little more selective with our walk ons right now because it’s not going to cost near the money, at least 3-6,000 a year less than it would cost normally. So we’re being a little more selective. We obviously want to go inside out. We’d love to get the kids from the state of Arkansas first.”
Among the former in-state players who went on to earn scholarships for Arkansas and play key roles this season included linebacker Grant Morgan (Greenwood), linebacker Hayden Henry (Pulaski Academy), safety Simeon Blair (Pine Bluff) and wide receiver Tyson Morris (Fayetteville). Pittman feels in-state pride is present with the walk-on recruits.
“I do,” Pittman said. “I believe walk on, scholarship I think it certainly means a lot to the kids from the state of Arkansas.I think that’s a big reason. Well we owe it to the state, first of all, to start inside our state recruiting whether it be walk on or scholarship. But after that I think it means a lot because they’ve been born and raised Hog fans.”
But the program also has some key out-of-state players who are having success with the Hogs. Among them long snapper Jordan Silver (Branson, Mo.), punt returner Nathan Parodi (Austin Lake Travis, Texas), kickoff specialist Vito Calvaruso (Jefferson City, Mo.), cornerback Hudson Clark (Highland Park, Texas), punter Reid Bauer (Magnolia, Texas) and wide receiver Warren Thompson (Seffner Armwood, Fla., Florida State Transfer).
The Hogs currently have some talented preferred walk-ons in the Class of 2022. Among them are Pulaski Academy linebacker Mason Schueck, Siloam Springs tight end Hunter Talley, Alpharetta (Ga.) King’s Ridge Christian linebacker Ethan Joseph and Georgetown (Texas) long snapper Briggs Magee.