Arkansas Hoping To Add More TexHogs
Dallas Bishop Lynch tailback and Arkansas pledge Rawleigh Williams is one of eight already committed recruits that will in Fayetteville this weekend for their official visits.
Williams (5-11, 210), who rushed for nearly 3,000 yards this season, is set to be the next member of the TexHogs - a term Razorback head coach Bret Bielema calls his players from the Lone Star State.
Bielema – bolstered by his team’s upcoming appearance in Houston to play Texas in the AdvoCare Texas Bowl and two previous games in the state this season – has 10 now and hopes to have many more of them on his roster soon.
“It’s a big deal to kids in the state of Texas to be able to come home and do that (play in their home state),” Bielema said at Tuesday’s introductory bowl conference with Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong in Houston. “We call them our Tex Hogs. We want to continue to expand that.”
“Yeah, definitely. The state of Texas, we have the best athletes ... No, I’m just kidding. You know, a lot of teams recruit out of Texas. Texas high school football is huge, so whenever a school gets a chance to go into that area and recruit, I feel like they should take that chance.”
Arkansas junior tailback Jonathan Williams – a Texas native – thinks that is a really good idea.
“Yeah, definitely,” Williams said. “ The state of Texas, we have the best athletes ... No, I’m just kidding. You know, a lot of teams recruit out of Texas. Texas high school football is huge, so whenever a school gets a chance to go into that area and recruit, I feel like they should take that chance.”
The Razorbacks routed Texas Tech 49-28 on the Red Raiders’ home field early this season and also renewed their series with Texas A&M at the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium.
The Aggies rallied past the Razorbacks 35-28 in overtime for their first win in four games the two have played in the neutral site battle.
“I think it started off early for us,” Bielema said of this year’s renewed recruiting push in the state. “We came over and played Texas Tech. Obviously, a program in the state that we wanted to make a good statement. We came out of there pretty well off.
“…We have 10 straight years where we will be in Cowboys Stadium against A&M. We use that a lot in recruiting.”
There are several other 2015 players that Arkansas is recruiting in Texas and still has a legitimate shot at landing.
They include Waco Midway safety Kahlil Haughton, Dallas Skyline safety Kylan Johnson, Houston Cypress Fallas cornerback Nate Dalton (6-3, 195), Dallas Hillcrest safety/wire receiver Arico Evans (6-1, 190) and Houston Lamar cornerback Holton Hill (6-2, 185).
The Razorbacks are also doing their best to get an official visit from Pflugerville Hendrickson cornerback and Oklahoma four-star commit P.J. Mbanasor (6-1, 175), who Arkansas secondary coach Clay Jennings visited this week.
Williams joins several other Arkansas commits coming into this weekend – the Fayetteville duo of tight end C.J. O’Grady and defender Dre Greenlaw, Dumas tight end Will Gragg, Highland wide receiver Deon Stewart, Conway offensive lineman Colton Jackson, Fort Smith Northside defensive end Daytrieon Dean and Jacksonville, Fla., University Christian offensive lineman Josh Allen.
This is the last weekend for visits until Jan. 16-18 under NCAA rules and that’s something that Bielema is not happy about.
“Charlie and I grew up in a system where there used to be three weeks in December,” Bielema said. “Now, it’s reduced to two and it’s a little thing that has made a huge difference in recruiting because you used to be able to take a little bit of time and ease into it.
“But now, you only have two weeks of live recruiting so it’s shortened the window especially in the state of Texas where you’re great teams, you’ve got teams that are very, very good are still playing and kids can’t take visits because they’re not done with their season,” Bielema added.
He hopes the NCAA will do something to address it soon.
“It’s something the NCAA has to address because there are literally kids that are going to come out in January as early grads that are playing football past the December deadline and they can’t take official visits,” Bielema said.
“That makes no sense,” Bielema added. “So the NCAA does a lot of great things, don’t get me wrong, but we got to make some corrections in our calendar for recruiting because we are really hamstringing some kids that are doing things that are right.
“Obviously, if a kid is graduating in January, he is very intelligent,” Bielema continued. “He’s got his business in order and he can be a great asset to a program. We just can’t hamstring him.”
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