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Sports Talk Podcast: August 17, 2017

Year-in, year-out, Arkansas should be an 8-win team. Agree or disagree? Plus Brittany Wagner from “Last Chance U” on why she thinks universities aren’t doing a good job of preparing athletes for life after football.

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Despite Calloway Commitment, Arkansas Recruiting Efforts in Texas on the Decline

Why isn’t Arkansas getting more players out of the Lone Star State?

By Bart Pohlman

The state of Texas has long been a major pipeline for Arkansas football.

From Loyd Phillips and Jimmy Johnson, to Knile Davis and Cobi Hamilton, some of the greatest Razorbacks came out of the Lone Star State.

Lately, Arkansas has had a lot of success getting running backs out of Texas—Knile Davis, Jonathan Williams, Rawleigh Williams and Devwah Whaley all left the state to become Razorbacks.

But outside of the success with running backs, and despite the high-profile signing of four-star cornerback Chevin Calloway for the 2017 class, it seems the Lone Star Pipeline has dried up.

Since 2002, Arkansas has signed 76 players out of the state of Texas. That’s an average of 4.75 players per signing class. But when you split the past 16 years in half, a very telling story emerges.

From 2002-09, the Razorbacks signed 48 players from Texas, an average of 6.0 players a year. But in the past eight signing classes, from 2010-17, the Hogs have only signed 28 players from the Lone Star State, for an average of 3.5 players per class.

Under Bret Bielema, the number is even lower, with Arkansas only signing an average of 2.8 players from the state of Texas per season. In the 2014 class, the only player out of Texas was kicker Cole Hedlund.

At a time when Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor and TCU are all struggling, it seems like a great time to get players out of Texas.

Per ESPN.com’s Sam Khan:

But of the 46 ESPN 300 prospects in the Lone Star State, only 17 are currently committed to in-state schools (36.9 percent). That is by far the lowest percentage of ESPN 300 recruits to stay in-state in the last five recruiting cycles. More than half of the state’s ESPN 300 recruits have stayed home in the previous four classes; the last two cycles saw at least 62 percent of the state’s top prospects stay in-state each year.

Arkansas needs to get back in that mix. For a program that’s typically been built on great in-state players with help from Texas, it’s jarring to see so few signees from the state.