The Recruiting Guy

Visit to Arkansas made Rutenbar’s decision easy

Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn, 2025 catcher commitment Carter Rutenbar, hitting coach Nate Thompson and assistant coach Bobby Wernes.

Top-300 2025 baseball prospect Carter Rutenbar’s decision to commit to Arkansas was much easier than he anticipated.

Rutenbar, 5-11 and 190 pounds, of Midlothian (Texas) Heritage, considered Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas State before making the call to be a Razorback. An official visit to Fayetteville during the BYU football game weekend swayed him.

“Honestly, my decision ended up being much easier than I thought it would be,” said Rutenbar, who was recruited to play catcher. “My official visit last weekend went so well that there really wasn’t any other choice. After about two years in this recruiting process, I had identified a few specific things I was looking for in a baseball program, and they exceeded expectations on all of them.”

Arkansas hitting coach Nate Thompson and assistant coach Bobby Wernes saw Rutenbar play often during the recruiting process, and that pleased him and his father.

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“Coach Thompson started watching my summer team at least as far back as the summer of 2022,” Rutenbar said. “We began regular phone calls right after that and kept in touch until the new recruiting rules shut down contact. I saw him and Coach Wernes all summer again this year, and then he reached out on August 1, when coaches were allowed to make contact again.

“That checked a huge box for me and my parents.”

Prep Baseball Report rates him the No. 266 overall prospect in the nation in the 2025 class and the No. 27 catcher. He is also the No. 27 prospect in Texas.

He explained other reasons for his decision.

“Getting to meet and hang out with the rest of the staff last weekend just made it better because they were all great, had tons of energy and led by telling us why they stay together as a staff,” Rutenbar said. “The next item for me was that I knew I wanted to play in the SEC in front of the best crowds and against the best competition.

“I knew everyone said the facilities were incredible and the fans were as good as it could get. Even knowing that, I couldn’t believe the atmosphere at the scrimmage last weekend. It backed up everything people say about this being the best place to play in the country, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Rutenbar and infielder Cayden Mitchell, who committed to the Razorbacks on Tuesday, have been friends since the age of 12 and were teammates on the Texas-based Stix 2025 Scout summer program.

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“It definitely didn’t hurt that one of my best friends and long time teammates was here at the same time and decided to make the exact same decision I did,” Rutenbar said of Mitchell making his official visit last weekend. “That was a bonus because I got to the point Saturday night where I talked with my parents one more time and we agreed that there was just no way any other program could offer everything Arkansas had presented.

“I could list a lot more small details that mattered to us, but basically I decided to cancel the other visits I had coming up and told Coach (Dave) Van Horn, Thompson and Wernes I wanted to talk one more time on Sunday before heading back.

“I’d already made my decision by the end of Saturday night, but I waited until that next morning to tell them in person.”

Rutenbar hit for a .436 average, had a .556 on-base percentage and .603 slugging percentage during summer ball in 2022. He had 34 hits in 78 at-bats, scored 22 runs and had 25 RBI.

He also stole nine bases and was not caught stealing. He had a .328 average, .451 on-base percentage and .466 slugging percentage along with 19 hits and 11 RBI this past summer.

He had two home runs and two doubles, and only struck out twice.