2022 class continues positive trend for Hogs' OL recruiting
FAYETTEVILLE — A quick glance at Arkansas’ list of 2022 signees reveals it landed a quartet of talented offensive linemen.
Considering his reputation as one of the country’s top offensive line coaches before taking the head coaching job at Arkansas, the fact that Sam Pittman’s 22-man class announced Wednesday featured four players at the position wasn’t too big of a surprise.
They aren’t just warm bodies, either. The group includes a Rivals250 four-star in E’Marion Harris, a pair of 5.7 three-stars in Patrick Kutas and Eli Henderson, and a 5.6 three-star with an impressive offer sheet in Andrew Chamblee.
“There's not one kid that we've got right now that I wouldn't have offered when I was the line coach at Georgia,” Pittman said.
In fact, Pittman did offer Henderson while he was the Bulldogs’ offensive line coach and then offered him again within the first couple weeks of getting the Arkansas job. He said he views the 6-foot-4, 290-pound South Carolina product as an interior lineman.
The lone four-star prospect in the group, Harris is the No. 247 overall player in the country. The Joe T. Robinson star is massive, listed at 6-foot-7, 370 pounds, but Pittman said he still moves “very well,” especially for a “huge person.”
The first player out of Pittman’s mouth when asked about his offensive line signees, though, was actually the lowest rated of the bunch. Chamblee, an in-state prospect from Maumelle, is listed at 6-foot-6, 285 pounds.
“Well, you have Chamblee, whom I think has potential to be a great player,” Pittman said. “He has everything - size, feet, all those things. … Certainly a lot of talent there. He looks like what you're supposed to, a lot of length and he's athletic like you're supposed to be.”
It is difficult for offensive linemen to come in and contribute immediately in college, especially in the SEC, but Pittman seems to believe Kutas (6-5, 284) has that potential. One reason is because of the coaching he received at Christian Brothers High in Memphis.
“I love Kutas,” Pittman said. “He's got a really good high school coach. I think he's going to be ready. I think he'll play, got potential to play early in his career.”
More than anything, though, this group of offensive linemen was the continuation of a trend that started with Pittman being hired.
Between his departure as Arkansas’ offensive line coach following the 2015 season and his return following the 2019 season, the Razorbacks landed 15 offensive linemen and none of them were 5.7 three-stars or better.
Since becoming the head coach, Pittman has signed 10 offensive linemen and six of them have been a 5.7 three-star or better - and the total has increased each class. Arkansas landed one in 2020, two in 2021 and three in 2022, and that doesn’t even include four-star transfer Ty’Kieast Crawford.
Despite that dramatic improvement, Pittman didn’t take all of the credit. Instead, he gave first-year offensive line coach Cody Kennedy some love for the class.
“You can't be a great coach and a terrible recruiter, and you can't be a good recruiter and a terrible coach. You have to be both, and that's what Coach Kennedy is. He proved it on the field and proved it in this signing class."