State of the Hogs: Loaded

Arkansas graduated some headliners at wide receiver, but things are still just fine with Bobby Petrino's stable. Sometimes it's better to focus on what you have than what you don't have or don't get.

Arkansas didn't get the top wide receiver in the country despite leading for much of the way. Dorial Green-Beckham picked Missouri after visiting Columbia for the final weekend.

There's a story by Thayer Evans at Fox Sports that details the DGB recruitment from start to finish. It's an interesting read. If you are not tired of that saga by now, it's worth a look.

Evans spent the better part of a day with the wide receiver's family. The interview with Tracy Beckham, the player's adopted mother, has some revealing takes.

One of them had to do with the most direct approach by any of the coaches in their living room. That came from Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino. She said Paul told their son he could coach him better than anyone else in college football. She told Evans, "He made the hardest sell."

That is probably closer to the truth than they wanted to hear. It is true that if you are a quarterback or a wide receiver, Arkansas is the right place. The Hogs have led the SEC in passing the last three years and will make it four, five and six based on what's on campus or headed there.

See, the Hogs still did well in that category Wednesday without DGB. They signed four wideouts. Missouri signed one. Anyone think those were meaningful numbers -- and not mentioned in Thayer's story? I think they were huge to DGB, but not something he's ever going to admit.

Here's more truth, straight from Paul Petrino on Wednesday after the Hogs announced their signing class. There was no reference to DGB, but I got it.

"If you're a skill player and you don't want to play in this offense, your most important thing isn't winning and being great," Paul Petrino said. "The guys we've got, that's what's important."

Bobby Petrino was asked about DGB directly at his Wednesday signing press conference. He said, "We wish him well."

Then, he said much the same as his brother.

"As I've said before, we're really fired up about our class and what we have coming back," Bobby Petrino said. "We've led the SEC in passing the last three years, so we feel good about not only how we recruit, what we do recruiting at the quarterback and wide receiver position. A lot of it is development and when they get here, they have to be able to get in that weight room and grind during that offseason. They have to improve physically and we've been able to do that very well here."

Those coming back that were mentioned by the head coach are Cobi Hamilton, Javontee Herndon and Julian Horton. Of course, there's more. There always will be at Arkansas under Petrino.

In the new class, there were four mentioned, but there may be more than that. Those with WR beside their name on the signing day charts and a note on each:

• D'Arthur Cowan, 6-3, 180, Olive Branch, Miss. -- Standout hoopster on the nation's No. 9 team, caught 63 passes for 1,255 yards and 15 TD to lead team to 15-0 state title season.

• Keon Hatcher, 6-2, 195, Owasso, Okla. -- Caught 100 passes for 1,610 yards and 21 TDs, 75 for 1,075 as a junior.

• Eric Hawkins, 5-11, 170, Longview, Texas -- Caught 41 passes for 994 yards and 10 TDs, ran 10.51 to finish fourth in the Texas state 100-meter race and second in the 200 at 21.10.

• Demetrius Wilson, 6-3, 180, Glendale, Ariz., CC -- 51 catches for 927 yards and 10 TDs, had 26 catches for 688 yards and eight TDs as a prep senior.

There could be more end up at wide receiver.

Jeremy Sprinkle is listed as an athlete on the chart and the 6-6, 220-pounder will likely start out at tight end. But he has the skill to play outside in a mismatch situation like a Greg Childs or Chris Gragg. There's also Demetrius Dean, a 6-3, 235-pounder listed at tight end but skill to also move outside. Running back Nate Holmes could also end up at wide receiver. Maybe DGB knew all of that, too. Maybe things settle out the way they should.

There's nothing wrong with this Arkansas recruiting class. It may be better than Petrino's first four. One thing I always want to check is the bottom of any class. I don't see it in this class, a big plus. Petrino is excited, although he couldn't really come up with a best or most rating when asked.

"I'm not really good with the ‘most' or the ‘biggest' or the ‘best.' I'm just overall pleased with where we're at," Petrino said. "Overall pleased with how our coaches went out. We hit the things we were looking for. We prioritized what we needed first. I thought we stuck to that. I thought we did a good job of evaluating and finishing strong. Anytime you can finish strong and get it done, we felt like we hit what we needed to do."

That answer didn't stop someone from trying to make him call it the best.

"That's always yet to be seen," he said. "I think there's one thing that I want to make sure everybody understands, we feel like we're strong with what we have on our football team right now.

"I like our players, our athleticism. I like our speed. I think this class has a chance to come in and really add to that. They're going to have to compete. They're going to have to be very competitive and improve and get better when they get here to be able to get on the field.

"What I think makes me happy is, there were times when you go out and recruit a bunch of guys and think most of these guys are going to have to play for us next year. They're going to have to get on the field right away and provide depth. Now, it's come in and see what type of competitor you are. We'll give you the opportunity, but you have to go take it."

It's hard to believe that would scare away the best player in the country. Or maybe winning wasn't important. Or being great. If that is the case, the Hogs got the right outcome.

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