St. Louis area prep gridiron star Raymond Wingo has been to several Arkansas football games, spent plenty of time in Fayetteville around his brother - former Razorback Ronnie Wingo - and really thought he had a pretty good feel for what the school's football program was all about.
But the 6-1, 175-pound University High senior cornerback prospect found out Monday that it's a whole new era when it comes to facilities.
He got to tour the new Fred W. Smith Football Operations Center – a new building that houses the program's office, locker room, training room, equipment room and many other amienities that make it the equal of any in the country.
"Oh, wow, man, it was just crazy," Wingo said. "It is the best that I have ever seen. It is like the difference between night and day from their old stuff to their new stuff. The training room is just gigantic, the locker rooms have like the biggest in the country and they finally have a great equipment room compared to the little old one they used to have. I was amazed and I know all the other recruits are going to be amazed as well."
Wingo rushed 142 times for 1,379 yards and 20 touchdowns, had 11 catches for 152 yards and also had 23 tackles with five interceptions in limited time on defense, where he is projected as a corner in college.
While new Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema and most of his assistant coaches are on vacation, Wingo was greeted by defensive back coach Taver Johnson, strength and conditioning coach Ben Herber and several current Razorback secondary players.
In addition to a tour of the new facilities and the campus, he got an opportunity to meet with a player panel during his five-hour visit – which came as his family was in the middle of a vacation in Branson.
"The player panel was great, being around (Tevin) Mitchel and Will Hines and Rohan Gaines," Wingo said. "It was a more just like a personal talk. You could ask them anything you wanted about the coaches, the program, school, girls, just whatever, it was a really cool deal.
"I ask them a lot of questions about Coach Bielema," Wingo added. "I wanted to know what the real Coach Bielema was like. They said he is a real guy and that they just love him and can't wait to play for him and his staff. That tells me a lot."
As did seeing some before-and-after pictures of current Razorbacks from the time they begin working with Herbert in January until now.
"He had like 40 pictures and they are just amazing," Wingo said. "One of the best was Kiero Small, who has gone from being just a big guy to a big ripped guy. He looks like a whole new guy."
Wingo has 14 offers – including ones from Arkansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Georgia, Tennessee, Kansas State and Michigan State.
He has hopes to visit Iowa and Georgia before the month of July is over.
"I don't want to say that I have a favorite or say who is at the top of my list until I have a chance to visit some more schools and have a chance to compare those to Arkansas," Wingo said. "But this visit certainly didn't decrease my chances of coming here. You can say that."
He will then shut recruiting down until after the season.
"I really just want to be about the team and winning a state title," Wingo said. "Recruiting can wait until after that."
Wingo Wowed By Arkansas' New Facilities
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