Arkansas Pushes Ahead in 2016 Recruiting

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema noted that his staff has just approved 35 new offers for the 2016 recruiting cycle and that he is presently in the process of seeing where the new guys on his staff will best fit in terms of the areas they will be recruiting.

Now that he has his entire staff in place for the 2015 season, Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema can really began pushing it in terms of 2016 recruiting.

Bielema noted during his Thursday press conference that the program’s recruiting areas were evolving and that he and the Razorback assistants had just approved sending out a host of new offers.

“We probably offered about 35 kids this morning, or approved them, after going through the process this week,” Bielema said.

Bielema hired Oklahoma State running back Coach Jemal Singleton as his new Razorback running backs coach and special teams coordinator.

“Jemal has actually recruited in Texas,” Bielema said. “He's from San Antonio. He's been all over the place. Obviously, Air Force (where he played and coached) is a different type of recruiting thing. I'm really kind of taking that in right now.

“We do a seasonal critique at the end of the recruiting thing, where they get to have input on everything from game day locker room to where they recruit to our recruiting process,” Bielema added. “I'll get through reading those this weekend.

" “…As a head coach, I think if you're not evolving you're dead,” Bielema continued. “So we'll evolve from where we were a year ago."

Arkansas will keep secondary coach Clay Jennings in Texas and will have offensive line coach Sam Pittman in Oklahoma, some in Texas and on all high school offensive linemen.

“Clay does a really nice job in a certain area, so certain guys I won't move at all,” Bielema said. “Coach Pittman is an outstanding recruiter. I'll give him a part of Texas.

“… We'e going to try to get into Georgia a little bit more,” Bielema added. “We'll redefine our area in Florida just to make sure that we're clean there.

“I think it was very evident that our name in Florida is very, very strong,” Bielema continued. “We want to make sure that we're broad-based.”

Finishing off the season by winning three of four games clearly has Razorback fans excited according to Bielema.

“(Arkansas assistant) Barry Lunney and I stopped in Fort Smith in an Applebees there and I think he took about 40 pictures,” He was a picture taker. As you guys say here in Arkansas, getting your picture made.

“It's amazing, especially in the state, the positive vibes and everything else,” Bielema added. “And in recruiting it was huge now. Especially in the state of Texas, to get four out of there. It was kind of one of those defining moments, and we were in on several others.

“I was just talking with Clay yesterday,” Bielema continued. “And Clay just felt so much more in tune with his area because he's been here a year now, and he had December and January to cultivate that junior and sophomore group. We're just so much more ahead of the game.”

Bielema, who has also added in offensive coordinator Dan Enos and linebacker coach Vernon Hargreaves this off-season, feels like long enough now to have solid relationships with prospects.

“All those high school freshmen that came in, we've known them now for a year and a half, maybe two years,” Bielema said. “We know everything about them. We just went through an academic report, and for the most part they're all off the charts, but there's one or two where we're like, hey, call mom or call dad. Call Uncle Billy.

“We know exactly where to go, because we're been recruiting them for so long,” Bielema said. “So I think the efficiency will be that much better.”

Bielema said he doesn’t expect his coordinators to do the heavy work when it comes to recruiting, but the other seven assistants better get it done.

“If you have a guy that's deficient in recruiting, he'd better be one heck of a ball coach,” Bielema said. “Because now you're talking about seven guys distributing the United States of America. We've gotten pretty stream-lined. We're going to do well in Arkansas, and anybody that's an offer in the state of Arkansas, we all recruit.

“Barry Lunney is the lead guy, don't get me wrong, but we all recruit Arkansas,” Bielema added.

“We'll have probably three guys for sure, maybe four in Texas. Sam will handle Oklahoma. Michael (Smith) might get some help in Louisiana, just because it's such a broad area, and his dad's from Baton Rouge, so he's got some ties there. In Florida, we'll have one guy for sure, maybe two guys there.”

Bielema noted that he doesn’t like to waste time recruiting in an area if he doesn’t feel good about it.

“We really don't do a lot of broad-based, going out and chasing a bunch of ghosts. We kind of stick to what we know and do very, very, very well in the areas that we're strong,” Bielema said.

Bret Bielema

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