Arkansas signed 25 players in its 2014 recruiting class. To this point, the group has been a mixed bag for the Razorbacks.
Nine of those signees transferred from the program or were dismissed from the team before finishing their careers. Another 10 started more than a handful of games with some expected to play significantly this season.
Here’s SEC Country’s re-grade of each player signed, with an overall grade for how the class panned out at the bottom.
(All recruiting ratings are based on the 247Sports composite.)
Bijhon Jackson, 4-star DT
Summary: Jackson has played in 38 games, that’s all but one since he’s been on campus. Though he’s been featured regularly in the defensive front, he hasn’t always been reliable or effective and has never been a starter. His biggest issue has been keeping his weight under control enough to stay on the field for a significant amount of plays each game.
His grade is decreased by the fact he came in so highly regarded. He was the No. 1 player in Arkansas, No. 5 defensive tackle and No. 81 overall recruit in the class. No matter how you look at it, he’s not lived up to those expectations. An impressive senior season (he’s expected to start at nose tackle in the new 3-4 scheme) can go a long way toward raising his final grade.
Frank Ragnow, 4-star OT
Summary: After opting to come back for his senior season rather than leave for the NFL, Ragnow is set to extend his streak of 26 straight starts this fall. He’s a preseason first-team All-American according to Lindy’s and Athlon, and a top candidate for national awards.
Ragnow was probably the best player on the roster in 2016, and will be viewed as such this season. Pro Football Focus tabbed him the best offensive lineman and run blocker in college football last season.
It’s safe to say he’s lived up to the expectations.
Jojo Robinson, 4-star ATH
Summary: Bielema dismissed Robinson from the team in the middle of his redshirt freshman season for a failure to attend class. His wide receiver career at Arkansas came to a close with 6 catches for 53 yards.
After a stint at Independence (Kan.) Community College, Robinson recently announced he will transfer to Texas Tech. He’s a major disappointment for the Razorbacks considering he chose them over offers from Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Miami (Fla.), Southern Cal and several others.
Brian Wallace, 4-star OL
Summary: Wallace came on strong last season as he started the final 10 games for the Razorbacks. Though he may never have seen the field much had Colton Jackson not faltered as the initial starter at right tackle, Wallace turned out to be one of the Hogs’ best offensive linemen. He’s cemented as a starter entering his junior season (he redshirted in 2014) and has the tools to become an All-SEC caliber player.
So far, he’s on track to be at least a reliable three-year starter, which should be considered living up to the hype of his billing as a top 100 overall recruit in the class.
Rafe Peavey, 3-star QB
Summary: Peavey arrived at Arkansas as one of the more highly recruited quarterbacks in the class. He failed to earn an opportunity at living up to his hype after losing out to Austin Allen for the starting job in the spring of 2016. He subsequently transferred to SMU last fall and is currently in a competition to start for the Mustangs this season.
Jared Cornelius, 3-star WR
Summary: Cornelius was the best slot receiver in the SEC last season according to Pro Football Focus. He had his share of big-time moments in 2016 with more than 100 yards receiving against Alabama and Texas A&M, and the game-winning rushing touchdown against Ole Miss.
The key has been remaining healthy. He’s had a handful of injuries in his three seasons on campus that have kept him off the field or hindering his play significantly.
Arkansas will rely on him heavily as a senior this season, making his expectations high as ever. If he lives up to those, his grade should vault to at least an A-minus.
Juan Day, 3-star RB
Summary: Day deserves credit for giving every effort to make things work at Arkansas. He showed flashes of becoming a contributor, but injuries and a crowded backfield kept him off the field. He impressively graduated after three years and has transferred to Stephen F. Austin, an FCS school in Texas, where he’ll be eligible this season.
Dwayne Eugene, 3-star LB
Summary: Eugene saw a spike in playing time when he replaced injured starter Dre Greenlaw midway through last season. He was neither exceptional nor terrible. The best moments of his career did come in 2016 with an interception against Alabama and a career-high 10 tackles against LSU. He’s not expected to start in 2017 with Greenlaw back to health, but should contribute in a reserve role and on special teams for a fourth straight season. That’s not necessarily a bad career for a guy who was the No. 1,274 overall recruit in his class.
Cornelius Floyd, 3-star CB
Summary: Floyd’s role continually decreased over two seasons with the Hogs before he was removed from the team in the spring of 2016 as he failed to meet academic standards. He made it back into the program, but ultimately transferred before last season.
Floyd was a starter at Eastern Kentucky last season and led the team with 9 pass break-ups. He’ll be a senior and is projected to start for EKU this season.
Khalia Hackett, 3-star S
Summary: Hackett was a spring superstar at Arkansas, always impressing during that time of year but never doing much when it counted in the fall. The low point in his career came when Bret Bielema removed him from the travel roster last season for what the coach called accountability issues.
After leaving Arkansas in the winter, Hackett announced earlier this summer he will play his final season of eligibility at Division II West Alabama.
Jake Hall, 3-star DE
Sumamry: Hall has spent time at defensive end, tight end, offensive tackle and now is back listed as an end on the roster. He’s hardly seen the field other than special teams, making no significant impact.
Cole Hedlund, 3-star K
Summary: Hedlund arrived as the No. 1 kicker nationally in the class. He’s been nowhere near as effective as anyone would’ve hoped, making 64 percent of his field goal attempts with only 1 made from more than 40 yards. He lost his job midway through last season before regaining it late, and is the favorite to start in 2017.
Still, if a precious scholarship is used on kicker, it’s expected they’ll be near perfect. Hedlund has been far from it so far.
Jack Kraus, 3-star TE
Summary: After waiting his turn behind NFL talent for three years, Kraus has by far his best chance at playing time this season. He’s played in 22 games to this point, almost exclusively on special teams, with no stats recorded. Whether he takes advantage of his opportunities now will determine the success of his career.
Josh Liddell, 3-star S
Summary: A reliable option at free safety, Liddell has started 20 straight games and 25 total in his career. He finished second on the team with 63 tackles and tied for the team lead with 2 interceptions last season.
Liddell likely won’t be making any all-conference teams, but he’s at least been one of Arkansas’ best defenders the past couple seasons. Though that might not be saying much considering the Hogs gave up an FBS-worst 39 rushing touchdowns last season.
A strong senior season can go a long way toward raising his stock.
Christopher Murphy, 3-star CB
Summary: Murphy enrolled early, went through spring practice, and then left the program. He is now at Cincinnati.
Jovan Pruitt, 3-star OG
Summary: Pruitt never enrolled at Arkansas after failing to qualify academically. He went to Trinity Valley Community College in Texas and is now at Division II Tarleton State.
Santos Ramirez, 3-star S
Summary: Despite losing his starting safety spot more than once last season, Ramirez enters 2017 as a team captain. His teammates believe in him as a leader, but it’s also obvious the coaches doubt his reliability as a player.
Ramirez has had some nice moments, most notably a forced fumble with a big hit to seal a victory over Ole Miss last season. He’s also had his share of missed tackles, taking bad angles and mistakes in coverage.
The upcoming season is critical for Ramirez, maybe as much as anyone on the roster, because Arkansas has more options to replace him if needed.
Randy Ramsey, 3-star S
Summary: Ramsey even being on the team is a success story. He was removed from the program for academic issues following his freshman season and spent much of 2015 back home in Florida trying to get his grades back on track. Determined to make it at Arkansas, his grades were good enough and Bielema allowed him to rejoin the team in the spring of 2016.
Given a second chance, Ramsey has excelled. He led the team with 3 forced fumbles and had 2.5 sacks as a pass-rushing specialist at defensive end last season. In 2017, he’s expected to play a significant role at outside linebacker in the new 3-4 scheme.
Henre’ Toliver, 3-star CB
Summary: Toliver has been a constant in the defensive backfield since arriving on campus. He’s appeared in 37 games with 24 starts. With a knack for making big plays, Toliver has 5 career interceptions with 1 returned for a touchdown.
Yet another defensive back on this list, along with Liddell and Ramirez, who can boost his image with a big 2017 season.
Sebastian Tretola, 3-star OL
Summary: The junior college transfer was exceptional in his two seasons with the Razorbacks. He started 24 games over that time and earned at least an 80-percent grade in 10 of his 13 starts as a senior. Tretola is now with the Tennessee Titans after being selected in the sixth round of April’s NFL draft.
Armon Watts, 3-star DT
Summary: Watts has hardly seen the field, playing in only one game last season. He figures to have a much more significant role this season, possibly as a starter at defensive end. So, to this point, he’s been a disappointment. That could change soon, though.
Kendrick Edwards, 3-star WR
Summary: Like Robinson, Edwards was dismissed midway through the 2015 season. He caught 8 passes for 121 yards and 1 touchdown during his time at Arkansas. He is now listed as a junior at Arkansas State.
Cody Hollister, 3-star WR
Summary: Hollister was a small part of the wide receiver rotation while making more of an impact on special teams. He made 8 tackles on kickoff and punt coverage last season, and shared the Hogs’ special teams MVP honors with punter Toby Baker.
Hollister is now with the New England Patriots after signing as an undrafted free agent. For a junior college transfer who didn’t have any other Power 5 options, Hollister had a solid career.
Anthony Brown, 2-star DE
Summary: Brown appeared in three games a freshman and was suspended the following spring. He transferred after not appearing in any games a sophomore and is now at Tennessee-Martin, an FCS program.
Josh Williams, unrated LB
Summary: A late addition in this class as a junior college transfer, Williams appeared in the first 18 games of his Arkansas career. He then suffered a broken leg that ended his 2015 season and derailed his career. The injury nearly cost Williams his leg, though he did return to the team and was cleared for action last season.
In total, he appeared in 30 games with four starts over three seasons and was a favorite among the coaching staff.
Overall Grade: C
Ragnow and Tretola turned out to be standouts and are the best of this class. Most of the other 23 signees are somewhere between dismissed from the team and slightly above average.