By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
WOO PIG SOOIE: Union senior Ricky Stromberg, who verbally committed to the University of Tulsa last summer, instead signed with the University of Arkansas in December.
Photo by MIKE MOGUIN for Union Boundary
Ricky Stromberg was settled on where he would play college football. But, when the opportunity arose to play in one of more prominent conferences in the nation, he couldn’t resist.
Just one day before signing day, the Union senior center announced on Twitter that he would be headed to Arkansas, a Southeastern Conference school, instead of Tulsa, whom he verbally committed to back in the summer.
“I had a great relationship with Tulsa. There is nothing about Tulsa that I didn’t like. It is just I always had a dream to play power five conference football, whether it be in the , Big 12, it doesn’t matter,” Stromberg said. “It’s power conference football. I grew up watching Arkansas and when the opportunity came, I had to take it. I’m super excited.”
He, along with three of his Redskin teammates signed letters of intent to play college football on Dec. 19 at a ceremony at Union High School. The others were defensive ends Darrias Murdock (Tulsa) and Isaiah McGuire (Missouri), along with running back Darius Boone (Eastern Michigan).
Stromberg was recently featured in a story when and he and Murdock verbally committed to TU in the summer.
He said the Arkansas offer came the day before he announced his decision on social media.
When asked what he will miss the most at Union, he said it will be “just the guys.”
“Just the brotherhood, the locker room shenanigans before practice, joking around, waking up at 6 a.m. to go lift, hard practices and conditioning in the summer, that’s what I’ll miss,” Stromberg said.
There will surely be a new round of that in college.
Besides the desire to play in a power five conference, Stromberg said he was warmed by the hospitality shown to him by the Razorback coaches.
“I love the coaching staff. All I hear is good stuff about (head coach) Chad Morris, (offensive Line/run game coordinator) Coach (Dustin) Fry and (tight ends) Coach (Barry) Lunney (Jr.),” he said. “Those are the three coaches I know really well and I like them personally. All I hear is good things about them. They made me feel welcomed there.”
Morris, he said, is an up-front and honest guy.
“He’s what I was looking for in a coach,” Stromberg said. “I loved how he gave me the opportunity to play for him. It’s a can’t miss. I was waiting on it, he offered and I took it right away. It was a no-brainer.”
Stromberg also has a brother who attended the University of Arkansas. He acknowledges that the beauty of the campus and facilities in Fayetteville played a roll in his decision.
“It’s football and I think it’s a perfect fit for me,” he said.
Does Stromberg know the popular “Pig Sooie” chant yet? Not yet, he said. But, his parents are looking forward to learning it, and so is he.
An interesting side note to this new chapter is the fact that Stromberg will be rooming with Brady Latham, a fellow offensive lineman who hails from arch-rival Jenks. Both have always played against each other through their respective schools.
“I’ve known him though youth football my whole life,” Stromberg said. “We finally got to meet around my sophomore year. He committed, I committed and now we’re going to build a friendship.”
The Razorbacks did not have a year to remember as they finished 2-10 with no conference wins. However, Stromberg sees a change coming soon.
“I think with a first-year coach they had to adjust,” he said. “I think it’s going to turn around next year. I’m excited.”
Morris has had success in coaching. Before coming to Arkansas, he led (2015-17) out of a struggle into bowl contention by his third season. He was offensive coordinator during Clemson’s rise as an annual contender for the national championship (2011-14). In 2010, he was Tulsa’s offensive coordinator, helping the Golden Hurricane to a 10-3 finish that included a major upset of Notre Dame. Before his season at TU, he had coaching success at the high school level in Texas.
The is known for stout defenses and Stromberg is eager for the challenge.
“It will show how good you really are. If you aren’t up for the challenge, you’ll get exposed,” he said. “It’s football. You know how it goes. I love competition, so, I’m excited about it.”