FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas signed two linebackers in the Class of 2021 and Sam Pittman is pleased with both of them.
Pittman held a Zoom conference on Wednesday when all the signed letters were in. He talked about both Jonesboro’s Marco Avant, 6-3, 212, and Cordele (Ga.) Crisp County’s Christopher Paul, 6-1, 250.
Paul and his teammates saw their season end on Friday night with a 25-13 loss to Pierce County. Crisp County finished the season 11-2.
“Pooh Paul out of Georgia, he’s a Mike, to me,” Pittman said. “He’s big, I think he’s about 250. He’s a big linebacker, one that can handle the A gaps. We needed one of those guys, because we’re not real big at linebacker. So we wanted to go out there and get him. We were very fortunate there.
“I’m not telling you that one of our four remaining scholarships wouldn’t be for a linebacker, as well, but it might be one of those stand-up or defensive end-type rushers, combination guys. If you can stand up on the edge, you certainly can go into the middle. I know they’re two different positions, but body type is pretty much identical.”
Prior to last night’s state playoff game, Paul had 102 tackles, 57 solo, 21 for loss, 2.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and blocked a punt. On offense, he rushed 13 times for 78 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He caught four passes for 57 yards and a touchdown.
As a junior, made 157 tackles with 10 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, leading Crisp County to an 11-4 record. He also rushed 13 times for 113 yards (8.7 ypc) and three touchdowns and also made 10 catches for 112 yards (11.2 ypc) and two touchdowns. As a sophomore, recorded 92 tackles, 12 for loss and 6.5 sacks, while reaching the state championship game.
Pittman talked about what Avant offers the team as well.
“I like Marco,” Pittman said. “He transferred schools and ended up over at Jonesboro and I think had a lot of improvement. I think a lot of it was he was a senior and had another year. Jonesboro, with (head coach) Randy (Coleman) has a great program over there. He is long and I think he is going to be a big guy. He can run and I think he is really going to to develop into a fine player.”
As a senior, made 91 tackles with three sacks and a forced fumble in 10 games. Made a season-best 18 tackles against Sylvan Hills. As a junior at Forrest City High School, registered 83 tackles with
12 tackles for loss in eight games. Part of a team that went 8-3. In 10 games as a sophomore, posted 67 tackles with four sacks and two interceptions.
“To be honest with you, we just have to get bigger,” Pittman said. “When we run out there and the other teams run out there, that’s had a little bit longer to recruit than we have, they look like an SEC team. And we’re getting there, but we can’t get pushed around on both sides of the ball. And the only way I know how to do that is to sign bigger and better athletes, and with your offseason program. So we’ve just had one offseason program, and we will continue to improve that part of it. We have to give them big people to work with, too, and that’s what I believe we did at the linebacker spot.”