FAYETTEVILLE — No. 10 Arkansas has several transfers playing a key role for the Razorbacks and Sam Pittman talked about what goes into choosing who to recruit in the portal.
Arkansas has 13 transfers listed on the depth chart this week. That includes nine from the most recent Class of 2022. Transfers from recent classes also on the depth chart is wide receiver Warren Thompson (Florida State), nickel back Trent Gordon (Penn State), offensive tackle TyKieast Crawford (Charlotte) and tight end Nathan Bax (Illinois State). Pittman said evaluating them on and off the field is a key to success.
“I think it’s huge,” Pittman said. “Football has a lot to do with speed and strength and all that kind of stuff. But to be honest with you, it has a lot more to do with heart and, ‘What am I willing to do for the team?’ and non-me guy and all those type things. There’s so much more that goes into a football player — character — than just a 40 dash time. You see guys that are fast and big and strong that fail in college football.
“To be honest with you, for the most part it’s the love of the game’s not there, or the willing commitment to the game is not there. We want somebody that fits our program because we know it’s very difficult to play on our football team. It is. It’s hard. It’s hard work and a lot of discipline involved in it. We have to talk to their high school coaches and talk to whomever, whatever program they left and the reasons why. Find all those things out before we’re able to offer them a scholarship and try to recruit them.”
Arkansas has defensive tackle Terry Hampton (Arkansas State) and defensive ends Jordan Domineck (Georgia Tech) and Landon Jackson (LSU) on the two-deep chart. Earlier this week Isaiah Nichols said the defensive linemen don’t feel threatened when they bring in transfers from the portal there.
“It shows a lot about those kids,” Pittman said of the current players. “Each kid’s got to have that feeling on their own. I think it shows about our program, and people understanding if you want to run out there with the first group, you’ve got to earn that. I think they believe we’re gonna bring in good-character kids. I a lot of that is on the guys we bring in as long as they’ll come in and work. We don’t give anybody anything. We don’t give them a spot; they have to earn it. Once that happens, I think it’s just a much easier transition between the new kid coming in and the team itself. So we’re very conscious about a transfer guy coming in. He’s got to earn what he gets, and I think it’s good for the team that way and the team accepts it a little bit better, like what you’re speaking of they did.”
Jadon Haselwood leads the team in receptions and Matt Landers is second. Haselwood came from Oklahoma and Landers from Toledo. Thompson is in the progress of his second very good season at wide receiver after coming over from Florida State in the Class of 2021. Cornerback Dwight McGlothern transferred in from LSU and has an interception in each of the first two games.
“He’s really confident,” Pittman said. “I think that’s the first thing a corner has to be. But he sees routes well. He obviously does a lot of film study before each game. He understands who his opponent is, who he’s playing against. He gets some tips off of that and things of that nature.
“It’s one thing to break in front of a ball, and another thing to catch it, you know. And he has very good ball skills. So he gives himself an opportunity to pick ‘em. But he’s long, and he’s probably the proto-type corner. He’s a corner. He’s not going to knock you out on a tackle and all that. He’ll get you on the ground. I like him because he’s got really good ball skills and he really has good awareness, and certainly he’s played before. That helps him.”
Among the other former transfers to Arkansas are quarterback Feleipe Franks (Florida), defensive lineman John Ridgeway (Illinois State) and defensive tackle Xavier Kelly (Clemson). Other defensive linemen who had success are Markell Utsey (Missouri) and Tre Williams (Missouri).