Thomas Headlines Razorback Visitors
One could easily argue that the four states currently most crucial to Arkansas' rebuilding effort in football are being represented this week in Fayetteville by seven official visitors.
Those are home-state Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana and Texas.
"We are going to go wherever we need to in order to get the best football players that we can," Arkansas on-site recruiting coordinator Chris Hauser said. But it makes a lot of sense to use the all of the connections this staff has to give ourselves the best chance to do that."
Certainly one of those places is Texas, where the Razorbacks have pulled out many stars in the past and a place that head coach Bret Bielema now knows is a big key in his success.
Arkansas will actually play two games in Texas next season with a non-conference game at Texas Tech on Sept. 13 and then an SEC match-up with Texas A&M at the Dallas Cowboy's AT&T stadium on Sept. 27.
That is the resumption of a neutral site game the Razorback and Aggies played from 2009-2011 in Arlington with Arkansas winning all three contests.
Bielema noted recently that he and his staff now have a better feel to recruit to Arkansas now that they are in the second off-season.
"Recruiting isn't so much different here," Bielema said. "Our staff knows how to recruit. But we had to learn some things in Arkansas and on campus. It's so much easier now to know which professor in our faculty does this so we pair up guys with their academic goals. Now, I know immediately how a recruit is going to mesh here and who to call in for their visit.
"There is a better understanding of how Dallas figures into our recruiting, how that is going to fit with our game in the stadium in Arlington," Bielema said. "It just helps to be another year into it on what you bring to the table in each area. I just know Arkansas better now and what it brings to the table."
Louisiana – a state the Razorbacks currently have six commits from in its 2014 class - is repped by U.S. Army All-American linebacker Kenny Young (6-2, 225), who began his visit to Arkansas on Wednesday and will end it up around noon on Friday before heading to Oklahoma State.
About the time he leaves, a trio of Florida prep stars in Fort Lauderdale Dillard safety-linebacker Randy Ramsey (6-3, 205), Miami Norland wide receiver Kendrick Edwards (6-5, 205) and speedy Miami Northwestern wide receiver JoJo Robinson (6-0, 170) will arrive.
They'll be followed into Fayettevllle by Pine Bluff Dollarway safety Josh Liddell (6-1, 190), who many expect to public commit to the Razorbacks either while on his visit or soon afterwards.
There are a pair of Texans scheduled to be on hand with Arkansas kicking pledge and Argyle standout Cole Hedlund (5-10, 170) – USA Today's first-team All-American – taking his official visit this weekend.
He should be joined by fellow first-team USA Today All-American, Coppell star and U.S. Army All-American defensive end Solomon Thomas (6-3, 260), who is not expected to arrive until either late Friday or Saturday because of the passing of a family friend.
Thomas eliminated Texas and Ohio State this week and is down to just Arkansas, Stanford and UCLA now with the Razorbacks hosting his final official visit.
He noted during a Thursday interview on ESPN's Recruiting Nation that he was looking forward to getting to know new Arkansas defensive line coach Rory Segrest – a former assistant with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles.
Both he and Young are scheduled to announce their college decisions on the ESPN show on Feb. 5, the national signing date.
"I want to really study the game with Coach Segrest and just learn more about him and what he is trying to do," Thomas said. "I really want to talk more with the academic people and just like see what interests they have and all of that stuff. I am very excited for that visit."
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