This is why Arkansas State hired Gus Malzahn. Malzahn is stepping it up in his recruiting efforts at Arkansas State this week as he and the rest of the coaching staff are making visits to each high school that plays football in the state of Arkansas. They're calling it "A-State Ambush."
Assistant coaches from Arkansas State will be driving around the state of Arkansas over the next five days in the vehicles you see above, displayed nicely on the football field. Driving in Arkansas and see an SUV with an Arkansas State window flag and name magnet on the side? That is a sign that the Red Wolves are looking for some homegrown talent in your neck of the woods.
When all is said and done, Arkansas State will have visited a total of 215 high schools, with the motto “215 schools, 5 days, 1 staff, 1 purpose.” So catchy, so simple. So poignant.
“Like we said when we first got here, we’re going to recruit this state like its never been recruited,” said Malzahn. “We are big believers in the players here in Arkansas and the coaches here in Arkansas, so that’s going to be the foundation of our program and we’re going to do everything in our power to recruit this state.”
Playing in the shadows of the Arkansas Razorbacks, in the SEC, is no easy task for a program, especially one that hails from the Sun Belt Conference. But we give Malzahn and company major credit here. Arkansas State received Class of 2012 commitments from 11 players in the state of Arkansas, up five form the previous year. A focus to make Arkansas state more of a destination for homegrown talent could pay off dividends for the program. They may be a long way away from competing head-to-head with the Razorbacks, who are able to recruit more nationally anyway, but any effort to make things more difficult for the bigger name in the state is always a plus.
Of course, Malzahn is used to traveling in style. The controversy Tiger Prowl fundraising benefits were once criticized for added recruiting advantages. Under the rules of the NCAA, what he is doing now with Arkansas State appears to be 100 percent legit.