Bielema Aims for Two 4-Star Running Backs
With National Signing Day quickly approaching, Arkansas is beginning to finalize its 2013 recruiting class, but several recruits’ decisions remain up in the air.
Much of the buzz amongst Razorback fans has been about a pair of four-star running backs. North Little Rock’s Altee Tenpenny is committed to Alabama and South Plantation, Fla.’s Alex Collins is still undecided, but coaches and fans are optimistic that they could end up in Fayetteville.
Tenpenny, rated the No. 8 running back in the country by Rivals.com, took an official visit to Arkansas Jan. 18. While eating at the Catfish Hole with 11 other recruits on their official visits to Arkansas, he apparently got “on a chair to lead the Hog call,” tweeted Danny West, recruiting analyst for Rivals.com.
Many fans, Razorback and Crimson Tide alike, saw this as a sign that he could flip his commitment to Arkansas. However, the following day, Tenpenny announced that he was still committed to Alabama and that he would make his final decision on National Signing Day.
Collins, rated the No. 7 running back in the country by ESPN.com, took an official visit to Arkansas on Jan. 25. This visit came one week after his official visit to Miami, Fla., which is considered his other top choice. He will announce his decision Feb. 4.
Co-Defensive Coordinator Charlie Partridge is seen as the key to the Collins recruitment. He had developed a relationship with Collins while he was a coach at Wisconsin and fans think that now Partridge is at Arkansas, that bodes well for the Razorbacks.
Along with Tenpenny, four other players that took official visits on Jan. 18 were not committed to Arkansas. Australian punter Sam Irwin Hill and Hawaiian offensive lineman Reeve Koehler committed the following day.
Koehler, who played at Saint Louis School in Honolulu, was greeted with Hog Calls and yells of “Go Hogs” in Hawaiian at the Catfish Hole. He is a four-star offensive lineman according to Rivals.com.
Offensive lineman Dan Skipper was committed to Tennessee, but flipped his commitment to the Razorbacks yesterday. He is a three-star recruit and the No. 32 offensive tackle according to Scout.com. Ohio State, Michigan, Oklahoma and Ole Miss were among the 21 schools to offer him.
Athlete Dominique Alexander is the only other player that visited on Jan. 18 and is not committed to Arkansas. Alexander is committed to Oklahoma, but still has some interest in the Razorbacks.
Several other recruits took official visits with Collins on Jan. 25. Among them were offensive linemen Denver Kirkland, Kenny Lacy and Dwayne Johnson.
Kirkland is a four-star recruit, while Lacy and Johnson are three-star recruits. They are the No. 12, No. 38 and No. 42 offensive tackles in the country, respectively, by ESPN.com. Kirkland and Johnson are undecided and have Arkansas in their top five choices. Lacy is committed to UCLA, but has some interest in the Razorbacks.
All three were impressed with Arkansas’ facilities on their visits and will factor them into their decisions. Kirkland will announce his decision on ESPN on National Signing Day.
Safety De’Andre Coley, cornerback D.J. Dean and defensive lineman Ke’Tyrus Marks also committed following their visit Jan. 25.
Dean is a three-star recruit according to Rivals.com and had offers from Illinois, Utah and Washington State, among others. Marks is a two-star recruit according to Rivals.com and had nine offers, including one from Wake Forest.
With only 17 commits thus far, Arkansas’ recruiting class is consistently ranked in the middle of the FBS. Scout.com and Rivals.com have them ranked No. 60 and No. 54, respectively, and both have them ranked last in the SEC.
The 17 commits are fewest in the SEC and one fewer than Tennessee, who has the next fewest recruits. Six of Arkansas’ recruits are junior college players, which is tied with Auburn for most in the SEC.
Arkansas’ ranking in the FBS and SEC will likely rise if they land Tenpenny, Collins or any of the linemen that visited on Jan. 25.