From the first day he was hired, until the final signature from Alex Collins, Razorback fans have wondered, “Is it possible to recruit top-caliber high school players from Florida to Arkansas? Shouldn’t the coaches be focused on Texas?”
Despite hire after hire by Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema of a staff deep with ties to South Florida, many Hog fans remained dubious, until Monday, Feb 4, 2013.
The high profile moments of Collins’ commitment, media confusion, fan concern, and ultimately signed and faxed letter to the Razorbacks, almost overshadow the haul of Florida talent for Bret Bielema and his staff on National Signing Day Feb. 6.
Razorback fans started their National Signing Day binge with the televised announcement of highly-touted and heavily recruited offensive lineman, Denver Kirkland. Believe it or not, he chose Arkansas instead of Miami and Florida State.
Then there was Ke’Tyrus Marks, the South Florida athlete who set a single-season record for sacks at Suncoast High School.
We shared a report from Florida with you earlier in the recruiting process outlining how well folks in the know from that part of the country think Bielema and company do in recruiting the Sunshine State. The final analysis from coaches in that area: Bielema has the connections to draw players from Florida.
We stumbled upon this gem of an analysis from Palm Beach providing even more insight into the how’s and why’s of Florida recruiting for Bielema.
“You can find a diamond in the rough. Or two. Or three.” said Bret Bielema, now the head coach at Arkansas. …
“We really thought there’d be a huge spike of interest, and there has,” said Bielema.
The pitch: You’ll play in a powerful SEC division that’s produced five of the last six national champs. The added bonus: occasionally getting a shot at Florida. The two teams play Oct. 5 in Gainesville.
And this from one former recruit and current Razorback commit:
“My mom always has tons of questions (for recruiters),” Ky’Tyrus Marks said. “After Coach Partridge’s PowerPoint presentation, she had no questions.
“Arkansas sells itself.”
This tweet from Coach Charlie Partridge on National Signing Day seems to sum up his outlook and approach on the recruiting trail, and who can’t be relaxed in confidence and visions of trips to the beach to attract the Next Big Get for the Razorback football team?
Poise...Go Hogs#WPS— Charlie Partridge (@CoachPartridge) February 6, 2013
So, Bielema may not have gotten every Florida recruit on his wish list, but what do you think?
Are you pleased with the class? Are you more comfortable with the idea that Florida just may be a new pipeline of talent for the Razorbacks?