ATLANTA (BVM) — High school football recruits have plenty of avenues to reach out to college coaches and showcase their talents. Current three-star recruit and Arkansas Razorback football commit Bear McWhorter used a nontraditional way to promote himself and gain the attention of Power 5 football coaches.
McWhorter’s father, Josh McWhorter, came up with the idea of using a billboard to promote Bear and it quickly drew the attention of local and national media.
didn't lie . pic.twitter.com/yUUvGO8acx
— ʙᴇᴀʀ ᴍᴄᴡʜᴏʀᴛᴇʀ (@BearMcWhorter) August 27, 2023
“The billboard was all pops,” Bear said. “He owned a billboard company and was very interested to see if that same advertising for a local company could work as advertising for a kid who wanted to play college football. I really had no clue if it would work or not. It was all just a trial run to see what would come from it. Prospects tweet every day, trying to get coaches’ attention and this was just another way to do it and we had no idea it would make national headlines.”
Josh is the offensive coordinator for Cass High School, where Bear is a starting offensive lineman and Josh played an integral part in Bear starting his football career.
“It was kind of inherited,” Bear said. “My dad played offensive line at Furman University in South Carolina and I was just born into a football family.”
— Josh McWhorter (@CoachMcWhorter) August 9, 2023
Having a parent as a coach could be difficult, but Bear knows that having his dad on the same field will only help him in the long run.
“I love having pops calling plays,” Bear said. “I can’t ever slack off at practice because I know he’s watching. He’s taught me so many lessons throughout life and football, but if I had to name one, it would be, ‘To do everything as if I’m doing it for the Lord.’”
Bear has taken those lessons and transformed himself into a three-star recruit, according to On3.com and he’s received interest from top Power 5 football programs in Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee and others. Receiving interest from numerous schools has the potential to be overwhelming and Bear had mixed feelings about the recruiting process.
“The recruiting process was very fun and I learned a lot and met lots of great coaches and people,” Bear said. “On the other hand, it was a bit stressful. It’s hard figuring out what school to pick when there’s so many positives about everyone.”
On Aug. 27, Bear decided he was going to head west and committed to the Razorbacks.
— ʙᴇᴀʀ ᴍᴄᴡʜᴏʀᴛᴇʀ (@BearMcWhorter) August 27, 2023
Arkansas visit was everything I could have asked for and more. Thank you to every coach and to the recruiting staff for such a great weekend! #wps @CoachSamPittman @CoachCKennedy @Butler_Benton @RazorbackFB @RazorbackFBRec @OtisKirk23 @ArRecruitingGuy @DannyWest247 @Gates_CassHC pic.twitter.com/mOpdb31oiV
— ʙᴇᴀʀ ᴍᴄᴡʜᴏʀᴛᴇʀ (@BearMcWhorter) March 11, 2023
“When I think of the Razorbacks, I think of the trenches up front,” Bear said. “It’s an offensive line program that I can’t wait to be part of. [You’re] playing in one of the most beautiful places in the country in front of the most passionate fan bases and you can’t beat it.”
Bear is only a sophomore and coaches will undoubtedly continue to try and sway him to join their football programs, but he has already prepared for that.
“Moving forward, I canceled my visits for this fall,” Bear said. “I’ll answer calls from any coach that reaches out but I’m not planning on visiting anywhere else. I want to be polite as I’m sure they’ll be in my school next winter and spring. Plus, I want to help my teammates at Cass and I went ahead and reached out to everyone I had a relationship with. I’m just trying to do this the right way.”
Bear knowing he won’t be committing anywhere else will surely help him relax, but he also knows he will eventually leave the Peach State and that is something he always knew that he would do.
“I felt like I was supposed to really leave home,” Bear said. “I actually looked the hardest at schools 7-plus hours away. I felt led by the Lord to make an impact wherever I go but outside of that, time with the head coach was the most important thing to me … Most schools gave me that time, but coach Pittman spent almost two hours with my family in June and that visit was huge for me.”
Bear will have the opportunity to learn from Pittman when he reaches Fayetteville and will look forward to the challenge and opportunity as a collegiate lineman.
“Playing for coach Pittman will bring out the best in me as an offensive lineman,” Bear said. “He’s the best offensive lineman coach in the country, and I can’t wait to learn from him.”
The Colonels started the 2023 season 0-2, but there is still time for them to turn the season around and Bear will be a centerpiece for that, but more importantly, he will continue to carry a positive mindset and his love for football.
“My ultimate goal is to see how far I can take this,” Bear said. It is the starting point, not the finish line … Football is just about everything to me and it teaches me about life, how to get back up and keep fighting and to always give 110%.”