Hogs Dreaming Of A Whiteley Christmas
Arkansas had arguably it's biggest day on the recruiting trail this year on Wednesday as head coach Bret Bielema and his landed three impact mid-term guys and could be in position to add another soon.
The trio of mid-term additions were Iowa Western offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola (6-5, 315), Arizona Western wide receiver Cody Hollister (6-4, 205) and Shreveport, La., Evangel wideout Jared Cornelius, who flipped back to the Razorbacks after a brief flirtation with TCU.
"We are very excited to continue the growth of our Razorback family," Coach Bielema said. "As student-athletes, they will be able to maximize our out-of-season program in addition to having the ability to take part in spring practice. Both of them were full qualifiers out of high school, which was very important to our staff moving forward."
They join quarterback Rafe Peavey (6-2, 212) of Boliver, Mo., and Marietta, Ga., Lassiter cornerback Chris Murphy (5-10, 180) – who have signed financial aid agreements with Arkansas – as players who will enroll in January and go through spring practice.
"We have got a very good group coming in at mid-term," noted Peavey, who was just selected to play in the Under Armour All-American game. "It gets you excited about the future of the program.
Another prospect who could be added to that list soon is Arizona Western tight end Blake Whiteley (6-5, 240) – a former Canadian high school star who is trying to decide between Arkansas and Texas according to his head coach Tom Minnick.
Razorback head coach Bret Bielema wants to add him to freshman All-American tight end Hunter Henry to have two big-time receiving threats that can stretch the field.
The Longhorn staff is just trying to hold on and keep Whiteley interested until they get a head coach in place, but that may not be any time soon.
"He loves both schools and to be honest is a little confused right now," Minnick said. "He loves what Coach Bielema does with tight ends and how he uses them in the offense and sends them on to the NFL.
"It is a great situation for him at Arkansas, especially when you consider that no one has any idea who the next Texas coach is going to be and what he is going to run, if he uses tight ends and all that," Minnick added.
"The one pull that Texas does have it is a national program that has appeal even into Canada where he is from," Minnick continued. "So that's the deal for him - go ahead and sign with Arkansas or wait and see what happens with Texas and then make the decision."
Minnick doesn't try to hide where he thinks Whiteley – who will have four years to play three - should end up.
"I'll be honest with you – I think he should sign with Arkansas and I hope he does and does it pretty quick," Minnick said. "I love Coach Bielema, got to know him when he was he was in the Midwest at Wisconsin and I was coaching at Joliet (Junior College). He's a great guy and a great coach.
"I will never tell any of my kids where to go, but I will give them advice on a situation like this," Minnick added. "And my advice is for him to go ahead and take the certainty with Arkansas or he may wake up one day and Coach Bielema may have moved on."
Whiteley had 76 catches for 1,228 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior at West Vancouver High School in British Columbia.
"He is a great athlete who just lined up anywhere he wanted to in high school and they would just throw him the ball," Whiteley said. "We got him here and got him lifting and got it to where he could play inside as a tight end and become a good blocker as well. He drives, uses his hips well and still has those great hands."
Minnick has several tight ends that he has coached playing Division I football right now, including Texas A&M's Cameron Clear and Iowa State's Emmanuel Bibbs.
"I've coached a lot of great ones over the years, but I think Blake is going to end up being the best one out of them all," Minnick said. "I really see him playing in the NFL one day."
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