Razorback Recruiting Message Resonating

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema talked Wednesday on the SEC Teleconference about how and why the Razorback staff - who is hitting the road hard during this bye week - has been flourishing on the recruiting trail despite the current 17-game league losing streak.

Despite some heartbreaking losses on the football field to some of the nation’s best teams, Arkansas has managed to flourish when it comes to recruiting and is hitting the trail hard again this week.

The Razorbacks, who have been or will be in at least eight states recruiting this week, currently have 18 public commits in the 2015 class – something that has them ranked 16th nationally in Scout.com’s team rankings.

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said on Wednesday’s SEC Teleconference that it is about looking for the right type of kids to help the program build the right way.

“I think the great thing about being in the position that we are in is that you learn to embrace it and talk to your kids about a lot of the same reasons that I came here,” Bielema said.

“One of the reasons that I decided to come to Arkansas and that was to do something that had never been done and that’s to win an SEC title,” Bielema added. “That’s to get to Atlanta and win the game. Arkansas has been in it three times and hasn’t been able to do it.

“That part is very, very real,” Bielema continued. “It really puts you in touch with the right type of kid. If you are looking for sexy, if you are looking for been there, done that, then this isn’t the school you should talk about.”

Arkansas (4-5, 0-5) has lost 17 straight SEC games, but those five league losses have been to teams that were ranked in the top 10 at the time.

Four of them have been narrow losses, including a 17-10 loss last weekend at No. 1 Mississippi State.

“We are getting kids that are very hungry, kids that are ingrained to that feeling of being able to go to work and do something that has never been done before,” Bielema said.

“It really is fun because some kids really aren’t interested in that,” Bielema added. “…It really is a unique recruiting tool and hopefully it will pay big dividends for us.”

Bielema mentioned during Tuesday’s post-practice press conference that a 19th public commit could be coming soon.

"One thing I've really been really, really impressed with our staff -- I think we've had a plan in place to get our guys that we've kind of targeted and a good plan to hone in on them," Bielema said.

“We had a certain number of guys committed to us before the season started," Bielema added. We have known about a couple guys that are going to jump in our boat sooner or later. I think we'll have another nice addition here this week."

Eight of the current 18 commits are ranked four-star prospects by at least one of the four main recruiting services and seven of those are consensus ones.

The Razorbacks currently have 10 offensive commitments, six slotted for defense, a punter pledged and also Nashville’s LaMicahel Pettway (6-4, 200), who could end up at wide receiver, linebacker or safety.

“I knew that we would be a very efficient recruiting staff and get stronger as our staff was here more, so that’s what we are really beginning to see right now,” Bielema said.

Bielema talked about what his staff is looking for to finish out the class.

“It gets down to our overall recruiting philosophy,” Bielema said. “We go into the recruiting process each year with a certain number at each position, but you get to the point in the recruiting class where you just need the best players you can get your hands on for what you need to fill.”

The Arkansas staff met earlier this week to assess where it was with both the current roster and the recruits left on the board.

“We just took the last 24 to 48 hours to really take a quick look at where we think we are on our roster compared to where we thought before fall camp started,” Bielema said.

“We did extremely well on DBs last year, had a couple of freshman linebackers come in and contribute and had a couple of offensive lineman come in and have an immediate impact like Sebastian Tretola and Frank Ragnow from a year ago and that changes your numbers a little bit,” Bielema added.

“We are going to continue to focus on the three things that we always talk about – we want kids that love football, we want kids that understand what we mean when we want you to Be Arkansas and the third thing is that they have to embrace the things that we hold very true to our heart.

“That’s doing things right off the field, getting good grades and holding accountability to yourself and your teammates,” Bielema added.

Bielema and his staff were in Texas, Utah, Louisiana and Oklahoma on Monday while they will spend time in Florida, Georgia, Kansas and Missouri in the next few days.

They are planning a huge recruiting weekend when the Razorbacks host LSU on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

“We will finish it out the right way,” Bielema said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the results of our recruiting and I think it is only going to get better with the rest of this class.”

Arkansas grid recruit Austin Cantrell leaps to make a tackle in a game this season.

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