Today's Paper News Sports Features Business Opinion LEARNS Guide Newsletters Obits Games Archive Notices Core Values

OPINION | WALLY HALL: Pittman juggling portal, coaching staff

by Wally Hall | January 26, 2022 at 3:03 a.m.

While there is a generation of people who never saw him work, Frank Broyles is perhaps still one of the most recognizable names in Arkansas history.

He came to mind when the story broke that Arkansas Razorbacks defensive backfield coach Sam Carter was leaving to join the Ole Miss staff.

Carter's name came up a lot a couple of weeks ago when two Arkansas defensive backs, Joe Foucha and Greg Brooks, entered the transfer portal.

Both ended up back in their home state at LSU, helping give the Tigers the No. 1 ranked transfer class in the country, so far.

All total, five Razorback defensive backs entered the transfer portal and Montaric Brown declared for the NFL.

When six D-backs anywhere leave, there are going to be rumors about the coach being too hard to play for, but Carter got the verbal support of current Razorback Jalen Catalon and a couple of others.

The word was thought that Coach Sam Pittman was like Broyles in that he doesn't like to fire coaches, instead he finds them other jobs. Broyles would fire a coach, and Pittman apparently couldn't find defensive line coach Jeremial Ashley another job. He was terminated last week.

The Razorbacks have had one of the most steady flows into the transfer portal of any team in the country.

However, not many were slated to be starters and some were walk-ons looking for a chance to find a place they could play, which is one of the main reasons the portal was developed.

A story in Tuesday's paper showed Arkansas State has lost its fair share of players, too, with 11 opting to leave ASU.

Some, like quarterback Layne Hatcher, will be missed more than others. Hatcher, who started his career at Alabama, opted to stay in the Sun Belt Conference and signed with Texas State.

Both Arkansas and ASU, however, have added players.

All seven newcomers to the Red Wolves are coming from bigger programs.

Considering Butch Jones brought in 52 new players -- recruits and transfers -- last season he might be lucky more didn't opt out.

The six who will be new for the Razorbacks make them the No. 4 ranked transfer class in the country.

Five are 4-star recruits, and two of those had a fifth star by at least one recruiting service.

Four are coming from SEC schools (Georgia, Alabama and two from LSU). One from Oklahoma and one from South Florida.

Four are defensive players.

Here's another interesting fact: Three are from Texas and three either are from or played for Georgia.

No doubt that's some outstanding recruiting in two of the major recruiting states.

Looking at who the Razorbacks have coming back, at least five will have a great shot at playing and maybe even starting, which means Pittman and his assistants made sure that overall they were trading up.

The transfer portal is not always the answer. Ask UA basketball Coach Eric Musselman, who has the reputation of being a mastermind at finding transfers.

He said he found the portal too crowded with coaches, so he turned his attention to high schoolers and signed two 5-star and three 4-star players for the No. 2 ranked class in the nation. Duke was No. 1, and it signed six players.

Pittman also signed a good freshman class and appears to have found some real value in the transfer portal.

It doesn't appear the negotiations for a new contract have interfered with his job.

Now he has to find at least one new coach, and judging by his performance in two seasons as a head coach, he'll make the right decision. Whoever he hires will most likely be regarded as good at recruiting as they are on the field.

Print Headline: Pittman juggling portal, coaching staff


Sponsor Content