Bielema Eyes Class Completion

In a recent radio interview, Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema shed some light on what he is still looking for in the 2014 recruiting class and what he thinks of some recent mid-term additions.



Now that Arkansas has landed three players this week and bumped its number of commits/signees up to 19 in the 2014 class, what comes next?

Razorback head coach Bret Bielema talked about that while on Richard Davenport's Recruiting Thursdays radio show.

"It is probably the most challenging part of our recruiting season to get the right kids in those last couple of spots to be honest with you," Bielema said. "Today I was looking at it and we probably have maybe seven spots left, maybe eight depending on what happens with a few kids.

"First and foremost, you have a number that starts the whole year," Bielema added. "You want three offensive linemen, three defensive linemen, two corners, two safeties...We are actually also working on the 2015 signing class right now as well during this whole period as we move forward."

Arkansas thus needs to add another offensive lineman, another defensive line, one or two safeties while Bielema has stressed he wants to add two more linebackers and a tight end and/or defensive end.

Although in big scheme of things, it is about getting the best players left on the board according to Bielema.

"When I get down to those final few, it is really about who are the best players on the board," Bielema added. "It is kind of like draft day. Who are best players, what can they do for us, how fast can they play for us, do they feel a need. It is a variety of things that go into it."

The college football world is currently in a dead period now that runs from Dec. 16-Jan. 15 with several visitors scheduled to come to Fayetteville on the weekends of Jan. 17-19 and Jan. 24-26.

"You are really kind of taking inventory of certain kids that were committed that were on our list – some of them to us, some of them to other schools," Bielema said. "We spent Monday and Tuesday prioritizing our recruiting board as it stands not only now, but for the next several weeks as we are looking forward to January and we get back out on the road and put the finishing touches on this class."

Speaking of kids that committed to Arkansas, the Razorbacks landed a trio mid-term guys this week in Shreveport, La., Evangel Chrisitian wideout Jared Cornelius (6-2, 190), Iowa Western offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola (6-5, 315) and Arizona Western wideout Cody Hollister (6-4, 205).

They join quarterback Rafe Peavey (6-2, 212) of Bolivar, Mo., and cornerback Chris Murphy of Marietta, Ga., Lassiter as January additions to the Razorback program with the possibility of adding Arizona Western tight end Blake Whiteley (6-5, 240) as well.

Cornelius – who had been committed to Arkansas back in July – had a brief flirtation with TCU that lasted for four days – before flipping his pledge back to Arkansas on Wednesday and signing a financial aid agreement with the Razorbacks.

"It's been a big last week for us," Bielema said. "Jared Cornelius is a kid that we are really excited about. We had him in summer camp and he made a huge impression on our coaches. Michael Smith recruits Louisiana and we knew about him, but we didn't know how good he was until we really got him here on campus."

Cornelius had 71 catches for 1,189 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior after a junior campaign in which he caught 90 catches for 1,585 yards and 18 touchdowns.

"He catches everything and does a tremendous job of adjusting to the ball," Bielema said. "He is a great competitor and I think led the state of Louisiana in catches last year. He's just a tremendous kid that was part of a great program that has won a lot of games over the last couple of seasons. It is exciting to get him in our program."

Hollister, who started his career at Nevada, is another productive wideout as he caught 70 passes for nearly 1,000 yards with 5 touchdowns.

That was after a prep career in which he caught 136 passes for 2,308 yards and 30 touchdowns during his final two seasons at Mountain View High School in Bend, Oregon.

"Cody is kind of a unique story," Bielema said. "We were out there recruiting another prospect and this guy just jumps off the film. He is an all-conference player and led his team in receptions. He is very strong and athletic and probably on the plus side of 6-4."

Bielema compared Hollister – who will have three years of eligibility for Arkansas - to a wide receiver he recruited when he was an assistant at Kansas State in current Green Bay Packer Jordy Nelson.

"Reminds me a lot of a kid that we signed at Kansas State in Jordy Nelson, a kid that kind of got under-recruited as well and went on to do some great things at Kansas State, was a first-round pick of the Packers and playing well in the NFL right now," Bielema said.

"He reminds me a lot of him in that he is competitive, very, very aggressive football player, how he catches the ball, how he gets open and how he finishes his routes," Bielema added. "He is very, very impressive kid on film and even better in person. He is very excited to be a Razorback."

The Razorbacks capped off Wednesday's first day of the mid-term national signing period (Dec. 18-Jan. 15) by landing Tretola away from Oklahoma, Florida, TCU, Texas Tech, South Florida and many others.

Tretola, who will have two years of eligibility with the Razorbacks and play either guard or center, started four games as a redshirt freshman at Nevada and was there at the same time as Hollister.

"Sebastian Tretola is also a kind of unique story in that he qualified out of high school, went to Nevada and kind of fell through some academic issues and went to junior college," Bielema said. "Now he has put himself in a position to come help us. I didn't know which way that one was going to go. Oklahoma, Florida, a couple of other SEC schools came in there late and tried to get the last visit. We got the last one before he went back home.

"He kind of went quiet as he and his mom went through the selection process, eventually came with a decision to come here and be a part of what we are doing," Bielema added. "I know he is rated as a junior college tackle, but he is an interior player. He is a guard for us and a guy that we expect to play one of those three interior positions and have a chance to play right away."

• • • 

ARKANSAS COMMITS AND TARGETS:

QB:

Commit (1):

Rafe Peavey, QB, 6-2, 212, Bolivar, Mo.

RB:

Commit (1):

Juan Day, TB, 6-1, 210, North Little Rock

WR:

Commits (4):

Jared Cornelius, WR, 6-2, 190, Shreveport, La., Evangel

Cody Hollister, WR, 6-4, 205, Arizona Western

Corey McBride, WR, 6-2, 185, Geismar, La., Dutchtown

Torrance Mosley, WR, 5-10, 175, Geismar, La., Dutchtown

Other Prospects:

Tyre Brady, WR, 6-4, 205, Homestead, Fla., South Dade (Miami commit)

Kendrick Edwards, WR, 6-5, 185, Miami, Fla., Norland

Frank Iheanacho, WR, 6-7, 215, Houston, Texas, Westside

Adonis Jennings, WR, 6-3, 185, Sicklerville, N.J., The Timber Creek

JoJo Robinson, WR, 6-0, 175, Miami, Fla., Northwestern

TE:

Commits (2):

Jack Kraus, TE, 6-5, 250, Bentonville

Ravian Pierce, TE, 6-4, 220, Plantation, Fla.

Other Prospects:

• Drew Smith, TE, 6-2, 210, Russellville (walk on candidate)

Blake Whiteley, TE, 6-5, 240, Arizona Western

Josiah Wymer, TE, 6-4, 260, Springdale (walk on candidate)

OL:

Commits (1):

Jovan Pruitt, OL, 6-5, 300, Dallas, Texas, Bishop Dunne

Sebastian Tretola, OL, 6-5, 315, Iowa Western

Other Prospects:

Andrew Mike, OL, 6-7, 275, Tucson, Ariz., Sabino

Frank Ragnow, OL, 6-6, 290, Victoria, Minn., Chanhassen

Brian Wallace, OL, 6-6, 300, St. Louis, Missouri, Christian Brothers College High

DT:

Commits (2)

Bijhon Jackson, DT, 6-3, 320, El Dorado

Armon Watts, DT, 6-5, 274, St. Louis, Mo., Christian Brothers College High School

Other Prospects:

Kevin Bronson, DT, 6-4, 255, Delray Beach, Fla., Village Academy

Craig Evans, DT, 6-2, 310, Sun Prairie, Wisconin (Wisconsin commit)

Josh Frazier, DT, 6-4, 310, Springdale Har-Ber (Alabama commit)

DE:

Commits (1):

Jake Hall, DE, 6-5, 236, Springdale Har-Ber

Other Prospects:

Anthony Brown, DE, 6-4, 230, Miami, Fla., Killian

Chris Bradley, DE, 6-2, 250, Shreveport, La., Evangel Christian

Demetrius Jackson, DE, 6-5, 225, Miami, Fla., Booker T. Washington

Rashawn Shaw, DE, 6-3, 230, Fort Pierce, Fla., Central

Solomon Thomas, DE, 6-3, 256, Coppell, Texas

LB:

Commits (2):

Khalia Hackett, LB, 6-3, 210, Douglasville, Ga., South Paulding

Dwayne Eugene, LB, 6-1, 220, Metairie, La., Archbishop Rummel

Other Prospects:

Tyler Hayes, LB, 6-2, 210, Butler, Kan., CC

Sharieff Rhaheed, LB, 6-4, 215, Fort Pierce, Fla., Central

Michael Smith, LB, 6-2, 200, Miami Northwestern

Jimmie Swain, LB, 6-3, 225, Olathe, Kan., North

Zack Wary, LB, 6-4, 220, Rogers

Kenny Young, LB, 6-2, 225, River Ridge, La., John Curtis

S:

Commit (1):

Santos Ramirez, S, 6-2, 180, Shreveport, La., Evangel Christian

Prospects:

Christian Campbell, S, 6-2, 180, Phenix City, Ala., Central

Payton Hendrix, S, 6-2, 190, Dallas, Texas, Bishop Dunne

Josh Liddell, S, 6-1, 180, Dollarway

Steven Parker, S, 6-2, 185, Jenks, Okla.

CB:

Commits (2):

Chris Murphy, CB, 5-10, 175, Marietta, Ga., Lassiter

Henre' Toliver, CB, 6-1, 185, Metairie, La., Arhcbishop Rummel

Other Prospects:

Cornelius Floyd, CB, 6-0, 161, Miami, Fla., Gulliver

Lamont Simmons, CB, 6-3, 182, Jacksonville, Fla., Raines

K:

Commit (1):

Cole Hedlund, K, 5-10, 155, Argyle, Texas

Other Prospects:

Austin McGehee, K, 6-1, 205, Pine Bluff (Purdue commit)

Rafael Gaglianone, K, 6-1, 225, Chattanooga, Tenn., Baylor





Bret Bielema


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