Revamped Recruiting

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawson writes about how new Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema and his staff have already put their stamp on the 2013 recruiting class and where they will be hustling to Friday and Saturday ahead of two big on-campus recruiting weekends.

A little over a month ago at his introductory press conference, new Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema made it clear what he was looking for in recruiting.

Ahead of two big weekends of official visitors Jan. 18-20 and Jan. 25-27, Bielema and his staff will be on the road recruiting this weekend in a continuing effort to land the best 25 newcomers that fit what he is trying to do.

"The part that is very important for me to understand is not only the player we are bringing in here, but the type of person we are bringing in here," Bielema said. "I am a big believer in this – obviously there are a lot of young man that can play great football, but you have to fit in with the ideas and the belief and the system itself.

"…No matter if I am here in the state of Arkansas or I am in the state of Texas or if I am in Florida or I am anywhere that maybe Arkansas hasn't gone before - because I have a special connection with a high school coach or a program that believes in what we are - then we will recruit uncommon men here," Bielema added later. " We will recruit men that are held to higher standards. I don't want people to be normal. I want them to be uncommon. I want them to be the standard that is set in the world of college football on and off the field."

Bielema and his new staff have certainly already put their stamp on recruiting.

The Razorbacks have added five junior college signees, picked up one former U.S. Army All-America quarterback and certainly have gone about revising the commitment list.

When he took the job, there were 18 pledges on the commitment list. Seven of those names are no longer in the list, three signed and eight remain.

"When I walked in there was a certain commitment list, some strong, some weak, and some in between," Bielema said in a teleconference right before Christmas. "…Because we were so early in the recruiting process I did feel it was a fair thing to do if we weren't feeling good about where we were with them for here at Arkansas, to tell them and let them have an opportunity with the remaining four or five weeks of recruiting to get a full scholarship offer somewhere else."

Memphis East linebacker Marcus Robinson became the seventh off the list Thursday when he confirmed that he and Arkansas had parted ways.

He joins Louisiana prep stars Kaleb Blanchard, Dee Skinner and Jervenski Johnson, Texas standout Lamar Jordan, Florida quarterback Tyler Cogswell and junior college offensive lineman Mitchell Bell.

Bielema and his staff are certainly swinging for the fences in replacing them as evidenced by the fact that they are visiting 5-star tailback Alex Collins (5-11, 210) of Plantation (FL) South on Saturday.

The head coach and Razorback offensive line coach Sam Pittman will be making a home visit Friday with Honolulu (HI) St. Louis offensive lineman Reeve Koehler (6-3, 330).

In addition, Arkansas has added a pair of junior in-state commits in North Little Rock tailback Juan Day (6-1, 205) and El Dorado defensive lineman Bijhon Jackson (6-2, 320).

Pittman will also be in the home of tall Arvada (CO) offensive lineman Dan Skipper (6-10, 295) on Saturday.

Bielema will back in Arkansas on Sunday to host Springdale Har-Ber defensive lineman Josh Frazier (6-3, 330) on an unofficial visit as the Razorbacks continue to try and keep all in-state talent home.

New linebackers coach Randy Shannon and defensive line coach Charlie Partridge will visit linebacker Skai Moore (6-2, 210) of Fort Lauderdale (FL) University on Friday.

The staff will also be visiting the Fayetteville trio of Arkansas 2013 commits - quarterback Austin Allen, linebacker Brooks Ellis and Alex Brignoni.

"I've learned that during my coaching tenure at every state university if you can't solidify things here in state and they are going to play in another state then you're not going to be as good as you can be," Bielema said. "It's going to be important from this day forward that we carry that thought of throwing a fence around the state borders and realize that everybody needs to stay here at home and represent us in a very positive manner."

Alex Collins

Austin Allen

Dan Skipper

Reeve Koehler

Josh Frazier

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