A measure of panic comes through Arkansas whenever Alabama comes knocking. Nick Saban’s program has poached three players from within the Natural State’s borders in the last five years. Saban offered a 2018 prospect recently, too.
Three of the last four who have been offered by Alabama have done so under the Bret Bielema regime with the Razorbacks. The last two, rather, current two, have not been offered by Bielema and the Razorbacks. Mouths foam at that. Some mouths.
Their idea, I suppose, is that if those players are good enough for Alabama, they’re good enough for Arkansas. By golly. Because, you know, we randoms knows more than Bielema does about recruiting 17-year-old high school football players.
There is a reason Arkansas doesn’t offer every in-state player. Heck, there’s a reason it doesn’t offer every power conference, quality in-state player. It could be grades, fit, scheme or any number of things. Animosity about such things is often used as fuel for the “fire Bielema” crowd, even though such things have been going on for several years prior.
Arkansas offers the in-state players it needs to. The Razorbacks land every one they need to, as well (save one). Look at this list of every 3-star recruit, as ranked by Rivals, from the state from 2013-15. Then, look at what they’ve accomplished in college.
Note: Classes of 2016 and 2017 aren’t included because those players have not had enough time to showcase ability.
- Jamario Bell, DE, Junction City — Arkansas (He’s been a defensive end, linebacker and tight end. He’s also yet to play.)
- Ty Storey, QB, Charleston — Arkansas (was the No. 2 QB this last season but appears he isn’t the future at the position)
- Will Gragg, TE, Dumas — Arkansas (stayed in Bielema’s doghouse since arriving. Has not played.)
- KJ Hill, WR, North Little Rock — Ohio State (18 catches and a touchdown in his first season)
- Cheyenne O’Grady, TE, Fayetteville — Arkansas (also spent time in the doghouse but did have 3 catches and a touchdown in five games)
- Colton Jackson, OL, Conway — Arkansas (began season as starting right tackle but lost job halfway through schedule)
- Dre Greenlaw, LB, Fayetteville — Arkansas (second on team in tackles as a freshman and was on pace for similar sophomore year before breaking a foot halfway through)
- Darveon Brown, WR, Warren — Arkansas State (1 carry for 7 yards last season)
- La’Michael Pettway, WR, Nashville — Arkansas (1 catch, 1 touchdown last season)
- Jaqwis Dancy, RB, Junction City — Louisiana Tech (diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in October, not with team)
- Ross Trail, QB, Wynne — Cincinnati (threw 1 touchdown and 6 interceptions this last season)
- DJ Brown, RB, Little Rock — Northern Illinois (91 yards receiving and 84 yards rushing in two seasons)
- Deon Stewart, WR, Highland — Arkansas (primary kick returner in his first season, but Arkansas was last in SEC in kick returns)
- Daytrieon Dean, DL, Fort Smith — Arkansas (yet to play)
- Bijhon Jackson, DL, El Dorado — Arkansas (25 tackles in 3 seasons)
- Josh Frazier, DL, Springdale — Alabama (13 tackles in 3 seasons)
- Jabe Burgess, QB, Greenwood — Tulsa (left Tulsa quickly; now at Delta State, where he threw 1 touchdown pass and 4 interceptions this past season)
- Juan Day, RB, North Little Rock — Arkansas (never saw significant time before leaving the team this past fall)
- Jack Kraus, TE, Bentonville — Arkansas (playing time but no catches as the fourth or fifth tight end on the depth chart the last couple years)
- Chuks Ota, DL, Jonesboro — Arkansas State (34 tackles in two seasons)
- Jake Hall, DL, Springdale — Arkansas (no impact in three seasons; now an offensive lineman)
- Jarvis Cooper, RB, West Memphis — Memphis (Tigers’ second-leading rusher in 2015 before transferring to Central Arkansas)
- Hunter Henry, TE, Little Rock — Arkansas (John Mackey Award winner, current NFL player)
- Altee Tenpenny, RB, North Little Rock — Alabama (left Alabama before playing; died in a car crash in October 2015)
- Drew Morgan, WR, Greenwood — Arkansas (All-SEC performer as a junior, led team in catches as a senior)
- Nick Byrne, TE, Springdale — Louisiana Lafayette (30 career catches in 4 seasons)
- CJ Gooden, LB, Ashdown — Tulsa (35 career tackles in 3 seasons)
- Alex Brignoni, DB, Fayetteville — Arkansas (never played)
- Brooks Ellis, LB, Fayetteville — Arkansas (four-year starter)
- Austin Allen, QB, Fayetteville — Arkansas (current starting QB)
- Korliss Marshall, RB, Osceola — Arkansas (two years of very little before transferring to FCS)
- Tevin Beanum, DL, Forrest City – Arkansas (9 TFL in three seasons before quitting the team this offseason)
Arkansas, simply stated, gets the best players from the state. If you were to make a top 10 of all those players, only one — KJ Hill — did not become a Razorbacks player.
So, let’s all relax on the talk of Arkansas isn’t doing its recruiting job. We know you want Bielema fired. But come up with something better than that junk.
Put those dancing shoes on
Arkansas’ game against Vanderbilt on Tuesday night was one we saw plenty of times last season. Waning seconds, the Razorbacks had an opportunity for the win and …
Well, now the answer is they win. Pretty much every chance in 2015-16 they lost. But Arkansas’ come-from-behind victory, on the road no less, against the Commodores is the mark of a good basketball team. Arkansas was down by 15 points with six minutes left, down by six with less than a minute left. And …
They won. Maybe not as much as Vanderbilt lost, but that’s moot. As I’ve written in this space before, Arkansas simply needs to rack up wins. It matters not how those wins come. Now, at nearly the halfway mark of the SEC season, the Razorbacks are sitting pretty, tied for fourth in the conference, just two games back of first place and a half-game back of third.
Stop letting people tell you they’re not an NCAA tournament team.
- The Arkansas high school player Alabama recently offered is Gerry Bohanon out of Earle. He’s hoping for a Razorbacks offer next, our Trent Shadid writes.
- Arkansas basketball travels to Oklahoma State on Saturday and the Pokes’ coach wishes the two schools played more often.
— Nate Feken (@TheGreat_Nate) January 24, 2017
- Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples writes that former Arkansas tight end Jeremy Sprinkle is working on being trustworthy again at the Senior Bowl.