Arkansas entered this past week with the No. 70-ranked recruiting class according to 247Sports 2014 rankings, but after a flurry of commitments on Saturday, coach Bret Bielema and the Razorbacks have climbed 36 spots up to No. 34. Prior to this week, the Hogs had a paltry five commitments, with one of those being a kicker, and just two after Jan. 7, but after three-star cornerback Chris Murphy (Marietta, Ga., Lassiter) committed last Sunday, the momentum picked up.
The day after Bielema spoke at SEC Media Days, another three-star cornerback pledged his allegiance to Arkansas in the form of 6-foot-1, 185-pound Kweishi Brown (El Cajon, Calif., Grossmont College). He was followed by one of the most important commitments of the class thus far in big offensive tackle Jovan Pruitt (Bishop Dallas, Texas, Dunne Catholic). The 6-foot-6, 290-pound three-star tackle believes he can make an immediate impact and help Arkansas get back to the top in comments made to Otis Kirk.
“I feel they’re going to rise to the best of the best. I want to be a part of this team and come in as a freshman to help us get to that level we’re trying to be at.”
These three commitments would have been considered a good week for Arkansas, but the flurry hit on Saturday with four committing to the Hogs, or one less than the class had prior to the July 14. The headliner of Saturday’s commitments is four-star cornerback Henre’ Toliver (Metairie, La., Archbishop Rummel), who is another big corner at 6-foot-1, and he was joined by high school teammate and three-star safety Dwayne Eugene.
Those were two of four Louisiana recruits and one of two sets of high school teammates to commit today as three-star wide receiver Corey McBride (Geismar, La., Dutchtown) and athlete Torrance Mosley pushed the Hogs total to 12 commitments for the 2014 class.
The Arkansas faithful may have been growing impatient with the lack of commitments other than four-star defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson (El Dorado, Ar., El Dorado) and quarterback Rafe Peavey (Bolivar, Mo., Bolivar), but after those top two, he added seven of his next eight top recruits.
Bielema is hoping to prove that it’s not about how you start but rather how you finish, and with a little more than six months to go until national signing day, he should have Arkansas consistently climbing the recruiting class rankings. The big caveat to that — and I mean that in the literal sense — is receiving a commitment from the state’s No. 2 prospect and top-seven defensive tackle John Frazier (Springdale, Ar., Har-Ber).
The 6-foot-3, 325-pounder was on campus Saturday and had glowing remarks about the facilities at Arkansas, in particular the new locker room. He said Arkansas is in his top five, but I believe they’re his prohibitive leader and will eventually commit to Arkansas over offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Texas A&M.
Also worth noting is Abu Lamin (Fort Scott, Ks., Fort Scott C.C.) has Arkansas inside his top five after an official visit this week. The No. 2-ranked JUCO defensive tackle named South Carolina his leader in May but has since back off those words and could open the door for Arkansas to make their move.
The 2014 class will have the opportunity to be the start of something special in Fayetteville. When signing day rolls around, I would expect Bielema to have his team inside the top 25 classes, as is the norm in the SEC, and lay the foundation for a successful run at Arkansas.