Bielema and Staff Recruiting to Fill Obvious Needs
Recruiting has become one of the most intriguing and important aspects of college football today. Newly acquired head coach Bret Bielema has hit the ground running in a frantic scramble to salvage this year’s class for the Hogs. People need to remember that it isn’t always about the star beside a player’s name; it also is important for the coach to find the players he wants and believes in.
Last weekend was a very important weekend for Bielema to make a big push for some big names. The Razorbacks landed two big commitments from offensive lineman Reeve Koehler and kicker Sam Hill. Highly recruited running back Altee Tenpenny, from Little Rock, also visited this weekend and was reported to have had a really good visit.
It may be easy to get consumed in all the chaos, but we must remember Bielema acquired a situation that will be tough to turn around this quickly. He is going after players he wants and needs, and not worrying about a star beside their name.
It is also important to note the staff he has put together as well. Bielema was quoted saying he wanted to put together a staff that was “second to none”, and the University of Arkansas and the athletic department has made that possible for him. Hog fans have a lot to be excited with the new head coach and the staff that he was assembled.
The junior college signees thus far have also been very important to recruiting and the team that will be put on the field next season. This list includes DB Tiquention Coleman, OL John McClure, LB Martrell Spaight, LB Myke Tavarres, and DB Carroll Washington. This is important because these guys have signed and can start working out with the team earlier than high school recruits.
Along with the recruiting frenzy, it shouldn’t be lost that a lot of skilled players will return from last year as well. Many young players got some valuable playing time due to injury and need at such positions. The recruiting importance comes down to the need for talented offensive and defensive linemen. Two names that really stand out in the current commitments are OL Reeve Koehler and DL Tevin Beanum. These two guys can be very important to shoring up these two areas of importance.
This year the Hogs may not have the number of recruits they desire or want, but Bielema is pursuing guys to fill obvious needs on the team. We should look more closely to next years class, which will be his first true class he and his staff will have recruited. The Hogs have been about scoring a lot of points the last two years, but a new identity of balanced offense and hard nose defense looks to be on the rise in the corner of Northwest Arkansas.
Many surprises may come for the Hogs on national signing day February 6. We as Hog fans should take it in stride, and trust the new staff to do the best with what we have, and coach players to their full potential. History has shown us that many crazy surprises can and will occur on national signing day.
Zack Wheeler is a writer for the Arkansas Traveler. His column appears every Tuesday. Follow the sports section on Twitter @UATravSports.