As always, with coaching changes comes recruiting changes.
Anytime a new coach is brought in, there’s always the question of what will happen to the current recruiting class. Many times the new coaching staff will honor the previous staff’s scholarship offer. Sometimes they don’t.
You could have an excellent recruiting class being assembled (See: Auburn Tigers, 2013), but then the next thing you know, the coach is gone and all the recruits in their class are looking elsewhere for a school.
So it’s really a guessing game as to what will happen to a recruiting class when a new staff takes over.
In the case of the Arkansas Razorbacks, it was looking good until very recently when running back Kaleb Blanchard de-committed.
The bruising 6’0” 200lb star tailback from Denham Springs High in Denham Springs, Louisiana, had been loyal to Arkanasas throughout the whole process- even enduring the entire Bobby Petrino/John L. Smith debacle this past year.
When Bret Bielema came in, most thought Blanchard would be thrilled. After all, you’d think he was a near perfect fit in Bielema’s power-running style of offense. But Bielema and the new staff weren’t quite as high on Blanchard as the previous staff was, and he wasn’t considered a ‘high priority’. Blanchard, understandably, didn’t want to put all of his eggs in one basket until he knew for sure that he was truly wanted and needed at the school he chooses. So he re-opened his recruitment.
The LSU Tigers, TCU Horned Frogs and Tennessee Volunteers all noticed, and have come in full force to get Blanchard. The Hogs still have a chance to sign the talented rusher, but they are going to have to make a strong push down the stretch.
Blanchard has indicated that he will be taking official visits in January to LSU, TCU and Tennessee. Following that, most assume he’ll have made up his mind after that, especially since National Signing Day is just right around the corner.
If I had to throw my opinion in the ring (as I so often do), I’d give the nod to LSU. Denham Springs High School is less than 20 miles away from the LSU campus in Baton Rouge, just down I-12. His good friend and teammate, Tevin Lawson (defensive tackle-6’4” 275lbs), is committed to LSU. All of his family and friends are LSU fans. I just don’t see how LSU lets a talented running back a couple miles down the road take off to another school.