Dear Future Razorbacks:
As I write this letter, it is the eve of National Signing Day, the day when you'll ink your name on a document that officially declares your intention to play for the Arkansas Razorbacks. All of you from this highly ranked class have had offers to sign with other schools; that you decided to come to Arkansas instead is something all of us fans do appreciate. This is likely the first major decision of your young life, and that you decided to come to Arkansas is a decision that I hope you will never have reason to regret.
I would like to share with you now some hopes, wishes, and observations from a fan's point-of-view about the next four or five years ahead of you.
1.) I hope that first and foremost you take advantage of the opportunity to get an education that will serve you for a lifetime. I have a degree from the University of Arkansas, and I want you to have one too! Get your name on Senior Walk and you'll be proud that you did.
2.) Take the time to learn about the history of the University of Arkansas football program. You are now part of that long red and white line of Hogs that goes back over 100 years. If you don't know who Clyde Scott, Lance Alworth, Bill Montgomery, Joe Ferguson, Steve Little, Steve Atwater, and Billy Ray Smith Jr. are (to name but a few), then educate yourself. And while we are here on this subject of tradition, please don't give into the latest fashion trend and insist on radically changing the traditional red and white (rumors are black is being considered) uniforms of the Hogs.
3.) Please don't come to personally know the Fayetteville Police Department during your years in Fayetteville or when you come back for a visit. (Yeah, I am thinking of you Matt Jones.) You make yourself look bad, you hurt your team, and you hurt your family members.
4.) If you find yourself in the championship game in Atlanta, which we all hope you do, please, please don't try to field a punt behind the ten yard line. It didn't work out well the last time it was attempted, and won't likely work well the next time. Also, fumbling in Knoxville within the last two minutes isn't a good idea either!
5.) Know that we all want you to play lights out for every game, but take note that for us fans a win in Oxford next season would be, dare I say, special. Real special. Precious, as well.
6.) I hope that those of you who are on special teams will review the kick-off coverage from last year's LSU game and will resolve that neither Trinton Holliday or any other SEC return specialist will have such an easy time gaining yardage on kick-offs in the future.
7.) Corners and safeties, I hope you will make it a practice to look back for the ball and make a play on it as often as you can. Assume every pass is coming in your direction.
8.) I believe the present team has provided you a good example of never giving up, for they pulled off a number of fourth quarter victories, and almost got a few more. But at the same time, all of you need to learn how to be the dagger in the heart so-to-speak and learn how not let a team get back up once you have them down. Watch the Kentucky tape as an example of what to avoid.
9.) I predict that you'll go to some bowl games during your tenure at Arkansas. I think your first one could be as early as this upcoming season. Now is the time for you to help Arkansas reverse its tradition of losing bowl games. Did you know that the Hogs have won only two bowl games since arriving in the SEC? Vanderbilt has won one less than that in the same period, and Kentucky has won more. I hope those factoids are inspiration enough. They should be.
10.) Yeah, Petrino is not Mr. Rah, Rah like the previous guy. But believe me, Petrino wants you to win. So please, listen to him and his coaches. Paul Bear Bryant wasn't known as a best buddy guy either, but I don't think any former player of his wishes now that Coach Bryant had been a different type of coach.
I think ten is enough from me. The commentators might add some more words of wisdom for you below, however. I hope they will. I'll conclude just by saying that you have the whole state of Arkansas and fans far and wide who are pulling for your future success as Razorbacks. Whether in Fayetteville, Little Rock, or on the road, we'll always be there to holler, "Woo Pig Sooie!"
Oink your name on the line ______________________ Feb. 4th 2009