While not normally known for his bold or hot takes, I have one for this weekend nonetheless.
Saturday’s Arkansas-Texas game could be the biggest factor in recruiting Razorback for a long time.
Make no mistake, just because Texas is the opponent. It could be Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU or Oklahoma.
But the fans are back to college football games and the passion, spirit and pageantry are back after a year of watching from the living room.
The fact that a full Reynolds Razorback stadium, which is expected to have as lively a crowd in Fayetteville as there may be since the 1999 Arkansas-Tennessee game, will be broadcast nationally to future rookies must be a blessing for all sports programs.
Not to mention that all sports on campus, not just football, take advantage of the weekend to recruit top recruits.
It is certainly important that the Razorback football program takes advantage of this.
Clearly, winning the game is and always will be the single most important factor in reviving the program that second-year head coach Sam Pittman and his team are trying to put together in Fayetteville.
But having had the Paul Finebaum TV show live Friday, the Marty and McGee show and the SEC Game Day team from Laura Rutledge, Tim Tebow, Roman Harper, Jordan Rogers and Finebaum early on Saturday and the game sent to the nationwide later could move the needle anyway.
“It’s exciting and that’s what college football is all about,” Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman said Wednesday. “… It’s standing room only Saturday night and we haven’t had that here for a long time.” I think our children understand that. I really do. “
Current Razorback linebacker Hayden Henry acknowledged the different feeling he expects for the game.
“I expect an advantage on the pitch,” said Henry. “It would be something that I haven’t known for a while. I would like to have a serious advantage on the pitch and have loud fans who want to help us and be extremely loud.
“When you’re out there on the third try and there are 75,000 people screaming, it’s really hard for an attack to convert and play.”
Arkansas has 17 entries in its 2022 class, one of which is ranked 21st nationally by 247 sports composite rankings, which also include opinions from ESPN and Rivals.
It’s ranked seventh among 14 SEC teams, with Arkansas hoping to add defensive back Anthony Brown (6-2, 190) of Milan, Tenn., An unofficial visitor this weekend, when he announces the September 14.
The Razorbacks expect to welcome between 40 and 50 visitors, including a pair of official visitors from the Arkansas-promised duo of Ellensworth (Ga.) Cedar Grove, fullback Rashod Dubinion (5-11, 190) and offensive lineman Duncan (SC) Byrnes. Eli Henderson (6-5, 300).
I texted in with several Arkansas commits this week to get a feel for their level of enthusiasm for the game.
• James Jointer of Little Rock Parkview (6-1, 210): “I think the atmosphere will be electric and I wouldn’t be surprised if I had one of our goals to commit this weekend while I’m there- low.
• Fayetteville linebacker Mani Powell (6-3, 230): “I have a feeling that it will be like no other varsity game and that the energy will be high and excellent.
• Shiloh Christian linebacker Kaden Henley (6-2, 227): “I will be there and I was there last week against Rice and I thought the atmosphere was electric. So I can’t imagine what it will look like this week.
• Greenland defensive end JJ Hollingsworth (6-4, 250): “I’ve been waiting for this game all summer. I know the fans are going to rock the stadium, and I’m ready to be right next to them to cheer on these guys.
• Clarendon tight end Dax Courtney (6-6, 212): “I would expect almost 100,000 people to stand up to call the Hogs and I don’t think anyone can describe how they would feel on this subject.
• Duncan (SC) Byrnes offensive lineman Eli Henderson (6-5, 300): “It’s going to be electric, after all this time I can finally see Fayetteville rocking… I’m more than excited.
• Joe T. Robinson, offensive lineman E’Marion Harris (6-7, 370): “I feel like this is going to be crazy.
• Maumelle offensive lineman Andrew Chamblee (6-6, 290): “It should be fun to watch.
• Maumelle defensive lineman Nico Davillier (6-5, 275): “I know this will be one of the best things I’ve experienced, so I expect a good atmosphere.
• Memphis Christian Brothers offensive lineman Patrick Kutas (6-5, 290): “I think it’s going to be packed and he’ll go crazy with excitement.
• Cambidge, Wis., Deep snapper Eli Stein (6-3, 215): “I’ll be at the game on Saturday. I am waiting and I hope it will be crazy. From what I’ve seen so far, Arkansas fans are the real deal, so I expect a lot of fun.