After four years with the University of Georgia, Sam Pittman is leaving the Bulldogs to take over as head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, replacing Chad Morris who was fired on November 10th. The news of Pittman’s hiring was announced over social media on Sunday night, December 8th via University of Arkansas vice chancellor and director of athletics Hunter Yurachek‘s Twitter account followed shortly by a Tweet on the Arkansas football program’s Twitter account
For Pittman, it is a homecoming of sorts as he served as Arkansas’ assistant head and offensive line coach from 2013-15. When Kirby Smart took over the UGA football program in December of 2015, he tabbed Pittman to serve on his staff as the offensive line coach. Pittman quickly recruited and developed an offensive line group for the Bulldogs that is considered one of the best in the nation.
Pittman recruited current Bulldogs’ junior left tackle Andrew Thomas, who is projected to be a first-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft if he declares, which he is expected to do so. Thomas was a 5-star signee out of Pace Academy, Lithonia, GA in UGA’s 2017 recruiting class. The 6-foot-5 and 320 lbs Thomas started as a true freshman at right tackle in all 15 games for the Dawgs during the 2017 season. In 2018 he moved from right to left tackle and has played in and started for Georgia in the last 26 games at that position.
And it isn’t just Thomas that Pittman has recruited to Georgia. Just Shaffer and Isaiah Wilson were also part of the Bulldogs’ 2017 recruiting class along with Netori Johnson. That 2017 offensive line class garnered Pittman a ranking of 16th nationally among recruiters by 247Sports. The year before, in 2016, Pittman recruited interior o-linemen Ben Cleveland and Solomon Kindley. In 2018, Pittman put together an o-line class that consisted of Owen Condon, Warren Ericson, Trey Hill, Cade Mays, and Jamaree Salyer for the Bulldogs, earning him a No. 4 ranking as a recruiter.
While Georgia and Pittman didn’t sign as many o-linemen in the 2019 class, the three that the Bulldogs did were all highly rated and included Warren McClendon, Xavier Truss, and Clay Webb. For the current 2020 recruiting cycle, Pittman is ranked No. 3 as a recruiter with his work of recruiting Joshua Braun, Broderick Jones, Chad Lindberg, Tate Ratledge, and Sedrick Van Pran, all of who are currently committed to UGA.
As of late Sunday night, there has been no official announcement from the University of Georgia, but the question now is how does and who does Kirby hire to replace such a valuable piece to his coaching staff. Some candidates that have been mentioned are Brent Key, D.J. Looney, Matt Luke, Alex Mirabal, and Jeff Stoutland.