Bret Bielema and the Arkansas Razorbacks did a fine job of closing for the recruiting class of 2013. He nabbed some big names at some crucial positions at the last minute like running back Alex Collins, guard Reeve Koehler and offensive tackle Denver Kirkland. This next class is the truly important one for Bielema and co. as it’s the first full recruiting year they’ll be working with. This next one will set the tone for the future of the program.
By the looks of things, the Hogs are off to a fantastic start. The Razorbacks already have three verbal commitments for the class of 2014; quarterback Rafe Peavey, running back Juan Day and defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson.
Peavey and Jackson are considered 4-star recruits by rivals.com, and both claim offers from many of the major programs. Day is a specimen at running back, and with his 6’2” 210lb frame, you can only imagine what kind of power running game you can build around him.
Jackson is a monster at 6’2” 340lbs. He’ll offer the versatility that look for on the interior of the defensive line. He’s perfectly suited to play the nose in a 3-4, but can also play under in the 4-3. Either way, he’s taking up two gaps and clearing blockers for the Razorback linebackers.
Peavey is the biggest name, and as a dual threat quarterback, is very athletic. He committed to the Razorbacks in June of 2012, so apparently he approves of the coaching transition from Bobby Petrino/John L. Smith to Bielema. After seeing the progress fellow running quarterback Russell Wilson made in his senior year at Wisconsin under Bielema, and seeing how prepared he was for his rookie season in the NFL, Peavey surely likes what he sees with this offensive scheme and coaching staff.
Day could have the highest upside of the three. Now that he’s out of the shadow of Altee Tenpenny (Alabama) at North Little Rock High School, he should blow up his senior year. It’s smart the Hogs are locking him down early, as his stock will only rise in the coming months.
Overall, judging from the scholarships offered so far in the class of 2014, the Razorbacks are once again looking at adding running backs and offensive linemen. It’s no surprise, considering Bielema’s offensive philosophies. Defensive back will also be high priority in this next class. The Hogs are thin all throughout the secondary, and will only get thinner after this years seniors graduate.
It’s going to be interesting watching how this next class is assembled, as Bielema certainly knows he’s laying the foundation for the program.
Rick Stavig is a National Recruiting Columnist for RantSports.com. In addition to covering College Football, he also covers the NFL and NFL Draft. Follow him on Twitter @rickstavig or add him to your network on google.