Bret Bielema made no secret of the fact he wished to upgrade the offensive line from the moment he arrived in Fayetteville to coach the Arkansas Razorbacks.
And it’s not a surprise. I mean, just look at the line he fielded year-in and year-out when he was with the Wisconsin Badgers. Bielema coached six Badger linemen to All-American status over the course of six years while perennially having one of the strongest rushing attacks in the country. He’s going to need to have offensive linemen like that if he’s going to compete in the nearly-professional SEC West.
Bielema got off to a good start in his quest for a dominant offensive line on National Signing Day last week. The Hogs signed four offensive linemen, and all have the skill level to come in and compete for time from day 1. Tackles Denver Kirkland and Dan Skipper and guards John McClure and Reeve Koehler all could be sprinkled into the depth chart this fall.
But what about the class of 2014?
The Hogs aren’t going after a ton of quantity along the line for this class, but they are looking for some serious quality. So far the Razorbacks have offered six linemen for the class of ’14, and all of them are considered the most highly touted in the country. The biggest name of those big names is tackle Cameron Robinson, widely considered to be the number one lineman in the country.
The 6’6” 330lb behemoth is going into his senior year at powerhouse West Monroe (Monroe, LA), and already claims offers from schools like LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma and Ole Miss. Do the Razorbacks have a shot at this 5-star prodigy?
It’s no secret they’re going to have to make up ground on LSU and ‘Bama if they want Robinson. As of now he has the Razorbacks on his second tier list of schools, so they’re going to have to work some magic to crack into his top group. It’s absolutely possible though. Remember, for the longest time everyone knew Laremy Tunsil (#1 lineman this past year) was going to sign with either Alabama or Georgia. As you all know, Tunsil picked Ole Miss instead. Can the Hogs do the same thing with Robinson?
The answer is absolutely. The Hogs have all the right ingredients to sell to a promising young lineman. The Hogs are going to a power running game (which everyone lineman loves, and which is synonymous for All-American offensive linemen). Not only that, the linemen that Bielema produces aren’t just good college linemen, they’re good professional linemen. He prepares these guys the right way for success at the professional level. On top of all of that, immediate playing time is a distinct possibility considering the Razorbacks depth chart along the line. And perhaps the biggest selling point could be the back he’d be blocking for, Alex Collins, who 247sports rated as the number one running back, and who signed with Arkansas last week. An elite running back like that certainly helps make his linemen look better.
So why wouldn’t the Hogs have a good shot at landing Robinson?
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.