FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas is finally back in Fayetteville for football after being on the road for over a month.
The kickoff time for Ole Miss on Nov. 19 won’t be known until Monday. The Liberty game is set for 3 p.m., but LSU was announced as an 11 a.m. kickoff. Pittman was asked if he was disappointed from a recruiting standpoint about the 11 a.m. start on Nov. 12?
“Yes, I was certainly hoping for a night game,” Pittman said. “I will say this though. When we played South Carolina here at 11 a.m., our stadium was packed and loud. I’m not worried about the crowd. You didn’t ask about the crowd, but I’m saying I’m not worried about the crowd because we’ll be there. But it is concerning that man, if we had all day and had the kids at a night game we could get further-away kids. Yes, I’m a little disappointed in that but it is what it is.”
On the other hand, Saturday’s 3 p.m. start has put a smile on Pittman’s face from a recruiting standpoint. He was asked if that is a good time as far as recruiting is concerned?
“It is,” Pittman said. “3 o’clock is probably honestly about the best. Because you can get kids, you can give them time to get in and you can give them time to get home if they can’t spend the night. Obviously if they can spend the night then you can be with them during the evening and things of that nature. That’s probably the best time. It seems like everybody likes to come to a night game, like the Texas game was two years ago. Yeah, 3 o’clock is probably the perfect time to get a lot of recruits in.”
Arkansas has 23 commitments in the Class of 2023. While the commitments are generally considered solid that doesn’t stop other schools from coming after them. How hard is it to hang onto your commitments?
“Recruiting’s a two-, three-year process now and hopefully we have enough of a relationship that nobody leaves us at the end,” Pittman said. “We feel good about our class. But it’s always a concern. We sent guys out on the road and they went to some ‘23s. We also went to (see) some ‘24s and ‘25s. Recruiting is hard work and I’m sitting right here writing notes to 2023s. We text them every week, we talk to them, so it’s just about communication and hard work and I feel like we’re doing fine there.”
Pittman addressed if recruits still appreciate getting a hand-written note?
“Well it’s something I enjoy doing, first of all,” Pittman said. “I’ve done it my whole career as an assistant, as a head coach. I do believe…and because I’ve been in different homes where they have all the notes that I’ve written in a basket on the table. So I know they’re reading them. It’s coming from me. The things I put in there are from my heart, what I mean. I’ll say this, when I get a letter that’s not necessarily telling me how to do my job, I appreciate the letter. I appreciate the things in the letter and it means something to me. It’s something different and also I enjoy doing it.”
With the 25 scholarship limit per class now gone expect Pittman to once again use the transfer portal to his advantage. Last week, ESPN named linebacker Drew Sanders (Alabama), defensive end Jordan Domineck (Georgia Tech) and cornerback Dwight McGlothern (LSU) to its top 50 transfers. Such players as wide receivers Jadon Haselwood (OU) and Matt Landers (Toledo), defensive end Landon Jackson (LSU), safety Latavious Brini (Georgia) and defensive tackle Terry Hampton (Arkansas State) could have been given serious consideration for such list. Pittman plans to use the portal to help restock quality depth on defense.
“Well I think we have to,” Pittman said. “Certainly we’re not through, obviously, with players leaving or anything of that nature, as well, too. We understand the portal will be open. So we have to be ready for that. Actually right before we got into this meeting with y’all, we were watching junior college players. To me, I look at junior college the same as a portal transfer, somebody hopefully for immediate help. So yeah, to answer your question, we would certainly do that and I think we’d be not very intelligent if we didn’t.”
Arkansas offered Hinds (Miss.) Community College defensive lineman Derick Hunter Jr., 6-4, 280, the day coaches looked at junior college film. Hunter started his career at Texas A&M, but then transferred to Hinds following the 2021 season.
In nine games, Hunter has 29 tackles, 21 solo, eight for loss, four sacks, two pass breakups and one recovered fumble. Hunter has offers to such schools as Mississippi State, Texas, Tennessee, Purdue, Arizona and several others in addition to the Razorbacks.
All the Arkansas commitments at this time are from high schools. Would Pittman take some more high school prospects in this class?
“Well, we certainly could,” Pittman said. “So, I don’t want to.. I’ll leave that open. Certainly could. To be honest with you, if we were going to take… There’s a few out there that we would, OK? If were going to take somebody, let’s say that could be here in January, right now we would probably wait on the portal to see what goes on with that unless one of these two or three guys that we’re recruiting said they wanted to come, and then we’d certainly take them.”
On Sunday, Arkansas offered Mableton (Ga.) Pebblebrook three-star defensive back Tyler Scott, 6-2, 185. Scott holds 33 offers including from schools such as Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, Auburn and many others in addition to the Hogs. His coach, Leroy Hood, is a former Razorback.
In recent weeks the Hogs have offered some other high school players particularly on defense.