When Bret Bielema was the head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, he always made the offensive line and the ground game the highest priority.
And it was incredibly successful, churning out multiple All-Americans at tailback and along the line, all while going to three straight Rose Bowls. When Bielema was hired by Arkansas to lead their football team, he planned on using the same strategy for success he’d used in Madison.
So Bielema, with only two months to build upon the Razorbacks signing class of 2013, placed a high priority on getting elite talent along the line and in the backfield.
The results of National Signing Day speaks for themselves.
The Razorbacks signed three tailbacks and four offensive linemen. And there’s serious quality in that list.
Alex Collins, after an unbelievable signing day fiasco (his mom stole his letter of intent because she didn’t want him to go there, so his dad signed a new one, now mom’s taking it to court), officially signed today. Collins, from Plantation, FL, is considered by 247sports to be the number one running back in the country, and at 5’11” 205lbs, could see very early playing time. In fact, there’s a terrific chance Collins starts game one for the Hogs next year. Korliss Marshall and Denzel Evans are talented tailbacks who will likely redshirt.
Offensive tackle Denver Kirkland was the pleasant surprise of Signing Day for the Razorbacks, choosing the Hogs over hometown Miami and Florida State. Kirkland (6’5” 335lbs) is an absolute road grader, and fits Bielema’s style very well. Reeve Koehler (Honolulu, HA) just might be the best guard in America. At 6’3” 330lbs with a fiery disposition, he’s exactly what you look for in a guy who will be specializing in close quarters hand to hand combat. Bielema has already indicated he wants to use Koehler to help bring in more Hawaiians to Arkansas.
John McClure is a JUCO transfer, and will add some veteran leadership on the interior of the offensive line. Dan Skipper offers the most potential of the group, and at 6’10” 300lbs, it’s easy to see why. Give him two years in a college weight room and sit back and watch him develop into an All-American tackle.
Overall, a very good signing class brought in by Bielema, who hit on the areas he wanted addressed the most.