The Arkansas Razorbacks are going into their recruiting class of 2014 without a huge need at quarterback.
After all, by the time the class of 2014 is actually taking the field for the Razorbacks, the Hogs will have two senior quarterbacks (Taylor Reed and A.J. Derby), one junior (Brandon Allen) and two redshirt freshmen (Damon Mitchell and Austin Allen). That’s not counting Rafe Peavey, who will be a true freshman that fall and is already committed to the Hogs. So it seems like another signal caller is about the last thing Arkansas will be looking for in the class of ’14. But I think they need at least one more guy. One more guy in particular- Jabe Burgess from Greenwood, Arkansas.
Burgess, in my incredibly humble opinion, is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country for the 2014 class- for now. I understand it’s hard to call a player underrated that already claims offers from a BCS schools before his junior year of high school is even complete, but the Razorbacks need to jump all over Burgess. Here’s why…
The biggest reason is that, as of right now, the Razorbacks don’t have a “franchise quarterback”. Razorback fans got used to remarkable quarterback play with Ryan Mallett and Tyler Wilson over the last half decade, and now are faced with the stark realization that there’s a hole under center. Sure, Allen has shown flashes of potential, but after seeing him against Alabama last year (I know, it was Alabama, but still…), he’s clearly got a long way to go in terms of development, and that’s not even counting the progress he’s got to make learning an entirely new scheme and offense.
Reed and Derby are also totally un-proven commodities. The incoming freshmen from this class could be the next Big Man On Campus, but that’s even a long shot, and Mitchell could get moved to wide receiver. Peavey, the incredibly talented young signal caller already committed to the Hogs for the class of ’14, might not even stick with the Hogs for another year, so you can’t depend on that.
The point I’m trying to make is that there’s no sure thing in line to be the next star quarterback of the Arkansas Razorbacks, so Bret Bielema and co. shouldn’t stop looking. Burgess, a born and bred Arkansan, hails from Wilson’s alma mater at Greenwood High School, and is everything you look for in a quarterback. He’s got enough size (6’2” 200lbs) and speed (4.8 40), is a proven winner (3 straight State Championships), and has plenty of production. In his junior year of high school, en route to another State Championship, Burgess threw for 3,128 yards with 36 touchdowns and merely 5 interceptions, all while completing nearly 75% of his passes on the season. If you really need a cherry on top, his mentor/cousin is Tyler Wilson, so he’s got thoroughbred bloodlines. Plus, the kid wants to be a Razorback, a point that’s often times overlooked.
Burgess is going to be getting a lot more attention throughout the next year, and by the end of his senior season next fall, mark my words, he won’t be underrated. He’s going to be recruited hard by many of the big boys in the south. Alabama and LSU have already started sending letters.
So please, Coach Bielema, don’t overlook Burgess. He just might be the next great Razorback quarterback.
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.