Arkansas' grid commits were as shocked as the football program's fans Tuesday to learn Bret Bielema was the Razorbacks new head football coach, but it's clear they are fired up about the hire.
Bielema – 68-24 with three BCS bowl berths in his seven years at the school – will be officially introduced as the new Head Hog Wednesday at 4 p.m.
"It really is a great hire," Fayetteville quarterback Austin Allen said. "He has taken Wisconsin to three straight Rose Bowls so he is a proven winner and a great all-around coach.
"My initial reaction was that it came out of left field a little bit because we heard all the other names that were circulating around during the coaching search," Allen added. "I have watched them a little bit this year, but I watched them a lot last season when (quarterback and current Seattle Seahawk) Russell Wilson was there. I liked what they were doing. They are run first, but they let the quarterback make plays."
Count Butler County (KA) Community College offensive lineman John McClure all in as well on Bielema.
"I love the hire," McClure said. "His style of football is physical and his teams have toughness. I love that because I am the kind of guy that tries to destroy the guy across from him and I think that is his coaching mentality as well."
Forrest City defensive end Tevin Beanum is certainly on board with the hire.
"I've known all along we were going to get a great head coach at Arkansas," Beanum said. "I have watched Wisconsin on TV and they have both a great offense and a great defense.
"We have always had a great offense, but to compete with Alabama and LSU we have to amp it up on the defensive side and he will be able to do that for us because they had great defenses," Beanum said. "We have great young defensive players up there and I stay in contact with them and I think our defense is about to be big-time."
Frisco (Texas) Centennial quarterback Lamar Jordan is another player who thinks Arkansas has landed a very good coach.
"He is a winner and a great head coach that has proven he can get it done at the highest level," Jordan said. "I am really on board with this."
Hartnell (CA) Community College cornerback Carroll Washington admitted he is doing his research.
"Unfortunately I was not too familiar with Coach Bielema because I had never really followed Wisconsin football, but I have been hearing nothing but good things," Washington said. "It doesn't hurt that he is more of a defensive coach so that should work out on my behalf. But really at this point I am just waiting on my chance to talk to him."
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