The Hogs signed junior college receiver Demetrius Wilson and high school wideouts Keon Hatcher, D'Arthur Cowan and Eric Hawkins. The quartet will have a chance to contribute early for a receiving corps that has to replace graduated standouts Jarius Wright, Joe Adams and Greg Childs.
"We did feel like losing all that production between Jarius Wright, Joe Adams and Greg's first three years that we certainly, that was an area of emphasis and an area we addressed," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. "I'm fired up to get Demetrius Wilson. He was the guy we targeted from the junior college that we really needed.
"I'm excited about our receiving corps. When you look at who is coming back you've got Cobi Hamilton and he's certainly going to be the leader of it. We've got guys on campus we're really fired up about."
The four signees give the Razorbacks 11 receivers on scholarship. The group will collectively try to replace Wright, Adams and Childs, who combined for 7,410 receiving yards and 56 touchdowns in their careers.
"If you think because you were a No. 2 last year that now you're a No. 1 because you were behind a senior, that's not the way it works," receivers coach Kris Cinkovich said. "The hardest workers, the most productive will be the players that play regardless of year."
Wilson caught 51 passes for 927 yards and 10 touchdowns while earning all-conference honors for Glendale (Ariz.) Community College last season.
"He's a guy I'm really fired up about," Petrino said. "When we went out and looked at our receiving corps we said we need to get one junior college player. We feel like he's a combination of speed, great hands and probably the best route runner that will join us right off the top. He's very polished running his routes, getting in and out of breaks."
Wilson was one of the last players to pledge for Arkansas when he verbally committed Jan. 25. The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder will provide added experience and maturity for an offense that lost 70 percent of its receiver production from 2011 in Wright, Adams and Childs.
"Demetrius will be expected to come in and play immediately," Cinkovich said. "He's got great speed. He's a 10.5 100-meter guy. Catches the ball well. He has very good fundamentals."
Hatcher is the Razorbacks' highest-rated receiver in the class, a four-star prospect ranked the No. 46 receiver in the nation by Scout.com. The Owasso, Okla., native stuck with the Hogs despite receiving a late offer from Oklahoma State and visiting the Cowboys.
"He committed to us early and then he did a great job of holding off the onslaught when other teams tried to get him from us," Petrino said. "He's very physical and really runs well after the catch … He's very, very hard to tackle."
Hatcher had 100 catches for 1,610 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior, garnering first-team all-state honors. At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, he is the most physically ready high school receiver Arkansas signed.
"He's a real big kid," Cinkovich said. "He's already got the receiving skills you need. He knows how to get open. He's got good hands. We think his speed is better than most people imagine. We think if we can open his stride up he can really be a guy that can go quickly."
Cowan put up big numbers as a senior for Olive Branch (Miss.) High, totaling 1,255 yards and 15 touchdowns.
"He's not a big guy," Cinkovich said. "He's a taller guy, but when he gets into our weight room I'll bet he really flourishes in there."
The Razorbacks had to fight off late competition to gain the signature of the 6-foot-3, 180-pounder.
"Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama were all at that school last week," Cinkovich said. "Tim Horton did a good job with him. We like getting guys that other teams want."
Hawkins might be the steal of the class.
The Longview, Texas, native missed most of his junior season with a knee injury, but Hogs assistant Bobby Allen kept tabs on his track times, which included a 10.38 in the 100 meters.
Hawkins burst onto the scene as a senior, catching 41 passes for 994 yards and 10 touchdowns while attracting interest from TCU, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.
"Big time steal," Cinkovich said. "Bobby jumped on it. We made the decision to go ahead and offer him. Fortunately for us, Eric went ahead and committed pretty early and stayed with us as people came in and tried to poach him."
His speed could help him get early playing time.
"That guy generally has a chance to play because of that speed factor," Cinkovich said. "He's not only one of the fastest guys in Texas, he might be one of the fastest guys in the country. He can really go, but he's got some receiving skills that go with it. How advanced those are will probably determine how fast he can play."
There is a chance the 5-foot-11, 190-pounder could run track for Arkansas men's coach Chris Bucknam, too.
"He told me this year he thinks he can get down to 10.2 and would like to break 10.2," Petrino said. "Our track coach would really like to have him be able to do both. We'll see if that happens when he gets here."