Four-star wide receiver JoJo Robinson was among the surprises as he flipped to Arkansas from national champ Florida State in a signing day that gave second-year coach Bret Bielema a nice set of wide receivers, offensive linemen and defensive help.
"I think we all agreed that we needed some better skill players - particular at linebacker - and on offense we needed to continue to get big offensive linemen," Bielema said. "That's exactly what we did.
"Obviously we filled some skill in on the offensive side of the ball that we fill great about; we signed a number of DBs that we think could potentially come in and play for us right away - give us depth and even the possibility of some starting roles," Bielema added. "Offensive line-wise, to sign four of the size and stature and the demeanor they have - I know (offensive line) Coach (Sam) Pittman did an outstanding job in that regard.
"It will be fun to see how all the pieces will come together and to see where they fit in the puzzle.," Bielema continued.
Bielema made it clear what type of prospects he went after to try and turn around the culture of the last two seasons - records of 4-8 and 3-9.
"The only way that you can breed and atmosphere of championship - and trying to establish that - it to get kids that really understand what that means," Bielema said. "Obviously not every kid is going to have that, but there were a lot of state championships, a lot of winning records.
"There were a couple of kids that did win a lot of games and you can sprinkle them in, but you can't just expect that to happen once they get here," Bielema said. "They have to understand what that means and all the dedication that goes in to get to that point."
He also talked about the past few days.
"It gets to be a mathematics game," Bielema said. "I listed 1-25 I bet at least 100 times over the past week. I just start looking at numbers and seeing what we can do.
"Last night, you kind of anticipate certain things and then today to make sure all those things come true," Bielema added.
He noted that he was not worried about losing pledges because of the type of kids that Arkansas chooses to recruit.
"The one thing - because of the way we recruit and the type of kid that we recruit - we don't get a lot of surprises," Bielema said. "I think in my eight years now, going into my ninth year as a head coach, I only have ever had one kid de-commit where he told us he was coming and then goes to an entirely different school.
"Some kids are going to waver in the process, but I think that if you recruit a young man with integrity and he is surrounded by a group of people with great integrity with his coaches, his parents and those who make him who he is, you really have got a good chance to have very few surprises."
Arkansas - which already had a quartet of 4-star prospects among its 5 pledges in the 2015 class - will spend time today calling on a total of 15 or so key targets in that class.
"It's very important to get a lot of work done today on that class as well as we transition from one class to another," Bielema said. "We feel great about how that one has started out."
• • •
Student-athletes could either fax or send a picture via phone of their letter-of-intent and that allowed the Razorback staff to announce they are officially signed according to on-campus recruiting coordinator Chris Hauser.
Below are listed the prospects that have already enrolled to Arkansas, are committed to sign with the Razorbacks or there is still a possibility left that they will:
• Jared Cornelius, WR, 6-2, 190, Shreveport, La., Evangel
Bio: Cornelius is a 3-star prospect that caught 71 passes for 1,189 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior and hauled in 90 receptions for 1,585 yards and 18 scores as a junior.
He chose Arkansas over TCU, Missouri, Tennessee, Baylor , San Diego State, Houston, Tulsa and Tulane.
• • •
• Rafe Peavey, QB, 6-2, 212, Bolivar, Mo.
Bio: Although rated a consensus 4-star prospect by everyone except Scout.com, this 3-star prospect who was the first pledge of the 2014 class is regarded as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation.
Peavey, who played in the Under Armour All-American Game, passed for 2,294 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 1,557 and 27 more scores as a senior for the 12-1 Liberators.
During his high school career, Peavey completed 317-of-473 passes for 5,590 yards with 54 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions and also rushed 2,718 yards and 53 touchdowns.
Peavey chose Arkansas over Auburn, Missouri, Ohio State, USC, UCLA, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Iowa, Baylor, Georgia Tech, Arizona and others among his 30 offers.
• • •
Chris Murphy, CB, 5-10, 175, Marietta, Ga., Lassiter
Bio: A 3-star prospect, Murphy had 77 tackles, 33 pass break ups, 5 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries and one blocked field goal in his career at Lassiter.
Murphy chose Arkansas over 19 other scholarship offers, including Missouri, Oklahoma State, Louisville, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Arizona, North Carolina and North Carolina State.
• • •
• Cody Hollister, WR, 6-4, 205, Arizona Western College
Bio: A former walk-on at Nevada with his twin brother, Hollister had a breakout season at Arizona Western in 2013 with 68 catches for 922 yards and 5 touchdowns while earning first-team honors in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference.
He chose the Razorbacks over Troy, Illinois State, Wyoming and Weber State and will have three years to play three for the Razorbacks.
• • •
• JoJo Robinson, WR, 6-0, 170, Miami, Fla., Northwestern
Bio: An Florida State committ, Arkansas got the flip to land a speedy wide receiver who has also taken visits to South Florida and TCU.
A 4-star prospect, Robinson caught 70 passes for 760 yards and 4 touchdowns while rushing for 326 yards and 5 more scores in his career at Northwestern.
• • •
• Juan Day, TB, 6-1, 210, North Little Rock
Bio: An ACL injury in the first quarter of the third game of his senior curtailed what looked liked a promising season as Day had already rushed 39 times for 320 yards and 3 touchdowns and caught 4 passes for 85 yards and another score.
Day had rushed for 915 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior while splitting time with current Alabama running back Altee Tenpenny.
The 3-star prospect committed to Arkansas the day he got his scholarship offer from Razorback head coach Bret Bielema and held firm despite interest from Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and others.
• • •
• Kendrick Edwards, WR, 6-6, 205, Miami, Fla., Norland
Bio: Edwards chose Arkansas over Louisville in the first recruiting showdown between Bielema and former Razorback and current Cards head coach Bobby Petrino.
Edwards caught 24 passes for 443 yards and 8 touchdowns as a junior and then 15 catches for 256 yards and 2 touchdowns as his team switched to a Wing-T offense when the starting quarterback went down with an injury.
Edwards also had offers from South Carolina, Rutgers and interest from Georgia, USC and Miami.
• • •
• Dwayne Eugene, LB, 6-3, 222, Metairie, La., Archbishop Rummel
Bio: Eugene was an early Razorback commit as he pledged back in the summer and then the 3-star prospect produced around 100 tackles while leading his team to the state title.
Eugene, who has added two inches and 17 pounds since his pledge, chose Arkansas over Arizona, Louisiana Tech, South Alabama and Southern Miss with interest from LSU, Mississippi State and Texas A&M.
• • •
• Cornelius Floyd, CB, 6-2, 190, Miami, Fla. Gulliver
Bio: The 3-star prospect chose Arkansas over Oklahoma, Auburn, Central Florida, Virginia, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh and others.
Floyd had 41 tackles and 7 interceptions – the second-most in Dade County this season – and accounted for five turnovers in one game this season with three picks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in a 17-14 win over Monsignor Pace.
• • •
• Khalia Hackett, OLB, 6-3, 215, Douglasville, Ga., South Paulding
Bio: Hackett was a do-it-all performer for South Paulding this season with 85 tackles, 3 interceptions and 2 sacks, rushing for 54 yards, catching 18 passes for 224 yards and 235 yards in kick returns.
The 3-star prospect chose Arkansas over Georgia Tech, Wisconsin, Cincinnati and Kentucky among others.
• • •
• Jake Hall, DE, 6-5, 236, Springdale Har-Ber
Bio: Hall was all set to head to Cincinnati, but the 3-star prospect and Hawgs Illustrated's No. 6 prospect in the 2014 class got a dream offer from Arkansas and jumped on it a few days later.
He outplayed more heralded teammate and Alabama commit Josh Frazier and was named Class 7A-West's Outstanding Defensive Lineman after a season in which he had 67 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 11 tackles for lost yardage, 2 caused fumbles and 2 pass deflections.
• • •
• Cole Hedlund, K, 5-10, 170, Argyle, Texas
Bio: Arguably the most heralded recruit the Razorbacks will sign, Hedlund was named a first-team All-American by both USA Today and Parade.
Hedlund was 24-of-26 on field goal attempts this season with a long of 57 and also a perfect 103-of-103 on his PATs during a campaign in which Argyle went 16-0 and won the state title.
He ended his career with national records for both career (56) and single-season (25) and chose Arkansas over scholarship offers from Texas A&M and Oklahoma.
• • •
• Jack Kraus, TE, 6-5, 250, Bentonville
Bio: Kraus had 19 catches for 242 yards and 4 touchdowns as a junior and 12 catches for 137 yards and 2 scores as a senior as Bentonville won the Class 7A state title after two runner-up finishes.
A 3-star prospect viewed as an exceptional blocker, Kraus chose Arkansas over Kansas and Colorado State and ended his recruiting very early in the process.
• • •
• Bijhon Jackson, DT, 6-3, 320, El Dorado
Bio: The 4-star prospect and U.S. Army All-American is the state's top player in Arkansas according to Scout.com and Hawgs Illustrated and ended his senior season with 57 tackles – 10 for lost yardage – 4 passes broken up, 1 interception, 1 fumble caused and one fumble recovery.
Jackson chose Arkansas over Alabama, Auburn and a host of other offers.
• • •
• Josh Liddell, S, 6-1, 198, Pine Bluff Dollarway
Bio: The seventh-best 2014 prospect in the state according to Hawgs Illustrated, Liddell was a force on both sides of the ball for the Cardinals this season and had 25 interceptions in his career at Dollarway.
As a senior, he had 45 tackles and 3 interceptions while also playing quarterback while passing for 1,257 yard, rushing for 1,278 yards and accounting for 36 touchdowns for his team.
He chose Arkansas over Boise State, Arkansas State, Memphis and late interest from Georgia.
• • •
• Jovan Pruitt, OL, 6-6, 302, Dallas, Texas, Bishop Dunne
Bio: A 4-star prospect viewed as the 17th-best offensive tackle by Scout.com, Pruitt chose Arkansas over Alabama, Baylor, Florida, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Nebraska and many others.
He graded out at 88 percent this season with 29 pancake blocks while only allowing one sack.
• • •
• Frank Ragnow, OL, 6-6, 290, Victoria, Minn., Chanhassen
Bio: A 4-star prospect, Ragnow was one of Arkansas' latest commits and chose the Razorbacks over national champion Florida State, home state school Minnesota, Ohio State and several other elite programs.
Ragnow played both ways this season and had 60 tackles with 14 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 blocked field goal.
• • •
• Santos Ramirez, CB-S, 6-2, 180, Shreveport, La., Evangel
Bio: A 3-star prospect, Santos Ramirez had five interceptions in his high school career while playing for both Captain Shreve and Shreveport Evangel.
Ramirez, who had 79 tackles this season, chose Arkansas over LSU, Memphis, Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss and Air Force.
• • •
• Henre Toliver, CB, 6-1, 185, Metairie, La., Archbishop Rummel
Bio: Toliver had 40 tackles and seven interceptions this season, including game-saving ones in two state playoff games during his team's run to its first-ever state title in its 49-year history.
Toliver chose Arkansas over Oklahoma, Nebraska, Mississippi State, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Indiana and Kentucky.
• • •
• Brian Wallace, OL, 6-6, 300, St. Louis, Mo., Christian Brothers
Bio: Wallace chose Arkansas over Alabama, Missouri, Georgia, Kansas State, Nebraska, Ohio State, UCLA and many others -- making his announcement during the first quarter of the U.S. Army All-American game.
The 4-star prospect – ranked No. 4 in Missouri by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch - graded out at 90 percent and had 30 pancake blocks while paving the way for an offense that racked up 4,282 yards (2,323 rushing and 1,959 passing) during a 9-3 season.
• • •
Armon Watts, DT, 6-5, 275, St. Louis, Mo., Christian Brothers
Bio: Watts, a 3-star prospect and the No. 11 prospect in Missouri per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch - chose Arkansas over Missouri, Syracuse, Kentucky, Memphis and Cincinnati.
He had 50 tackles, 10 sacks and 12 stops for lost yardage.
• • •
• Anthony Brown, DE-LB, 6-4, 230, Miami Killian
Bio: Brown selected Arkansas over Mississippi State, Michigan State and Cincinnati.
Having played football only two years, Brown had 34 tackles with 10 sacks and 12 tackles for lost yardage in his senior season.
• • •
• Randy Ramsey, LB, 6-3, 210, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Dillard
Bio: A 3-star prospect, Ramsey chose Arkansas over Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Cincinnati and Rutgers.
While playing defensive end this season, Ramsey had 83 tackles, a whopping 25 sacks, 34 tackles for lost yardage and 4 forced fumbles.
• • •
• Sebastian Tretola, OL, 6-5, 315, Iowa Western
Bio: Tretola, who originally signed with Arkansas in December, chose the Razorbacks over Oklahoma, TCU, Texas Tech and South Florida.
He recorded a team-high 77 knockdowns, committed only 6 mental errors in 874 snaps and was part of an offense that averaged 522 yards per game and 44 points per outing.
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