VYPE Arkansas Harsh Truths
For the folks, that cover the high school football scene in the Natural State, talent has been easy to identify over the years. The problem to some is that Arkansas is a small state and does not produce the number of Division I athletes needed to supply a school like the University of Arkansas. However, to understand the current problem the University of Arkansas football program is facing, it is necessary to look at the recruiting tactics of the previous coaching staff.
To many people that cover recruiting in Arkansas, the current problem has started with the neglect of the central and eastern areas of Arkansas. Former Arkansas coach Bret Bielema placed too much emphasis on recruiting Florida and Georgia and did not invest as much time and effort into the recruitment of Arkansas and Texas. You have to guard your own fort first or someone is liable to breech the walls. Can the decline in Arkansas football be traced to schools like Pine Bluff, Little Rock Central, and North Little Rock not producing the athletes, or just simply that these areas not being recruited as thoroughly as they should be by Arkansas?
Over the years, coaches that have won at Arkansas have learned that to win you have to be able to recruit Little Rock, Warren, Pine Bluff, and El Dorado. Neglecting those areas and their athletes that likely want to be Razorbacks is a good way to find yourself on the hot seat rather quickly. Recruiting neglect has not just occurred in this area of the state. Missing on recruits in western Arkansas has not helped to keep fans happy and in the stadium. When Missouri has had Damarea Crockett, Akial Byers, and Taylor Powell on the roster in the past few years, it makes Hog fans irritated at previous and current recruiting efforts.
The next coaching staff that comes in will have to start doing a better job of recruiting in Arkansas. Just because the state is small doesn't mean that it is without Division I talent. Recruit Texas, Florida, and Georgia but do not forget that many Arkansas kids want to be Razorbacks and the possibility exists that those kids do have Division 1 talent. The first thing you must do when you find yourself in a hole is quit digging. Arkansas football has got to first quit digging to get out of the hole the program is currently in. My advice to the next staff is to talk to Byron Jenkins, Steven Conley, and C.J. McLain. These guys know what it means to play here and know what it will take to recruit here. These guys know how to get out of the hole.