Hitting Texas Hard Again
Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema left no doubt on 2014's national signing date that his 2015 recruiting haul would have more of a Texas flavor.
In fact, he was very clear about how he was going to have six different coaches who would have footsteps this year in the Lone Star state – always a traditionally fertile recruiting ground.
"We're going to recruit the snot out of Texas," Bielema said.
It appears that is exactly what the Razorback staff is going to do with the 2015 class with several of the 12 or 13 prospects due in for official visits this weekend being from Texas.
It certainly makes sense – especially since Arkansas is currently set to play six games in the next four years in Texas.
Four of those are neutral site games against Texas A&M (2014-2017) at the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium in Arlington and one each at Texas Tech (2014) and at TCU (2016).
"The 2015 class in Texas is one of the deeper ones in recent memory and that is saying a lot," Scout.com recruiting analyst Greg Powers said Thursday. "It is a great time to invest manpower and resources in Texas, especially with the success Arkansas has had here in the past."
It wasn't an accident that Bielema recently hired TCU secondary coach Clay Jennings, who has been recruiting the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the Horned Frogs and will now do so for the Razorbacks.
"Philosophically, he is very, very similar to what we believe in as far as exact teaching and all that stuff," Bielema said at a recent Searcy Razorback Club meeting. "He's also a great recruiter in the state of Texas."
Jennings is anxious to put his recruiting relationships to work for Arkansas.
"I've got a pretty good rapport here with the coaches in the Metroplex, as well as the coaches down in the southeast area along with the Houston area as well," Jennings said. "I was born and raised in Waco, Texas and I attended the University of North Texas. I'm pretty well versed with the coaches here and I have a pretty good relationship with those guys. I can't wait to have an opportunity to get in and continue to nurture those relationships and recruit their kids."
Expect Arkansas in 2015 to match or exceed the five Texas prospects it has landed in Bielema's first two Razorback recruiting classes.
They already have one pledge from Texas in the 2015 class in Lewisville Hebron standout Zach Rogers (6-3, 300), who missed the 2013 season with an injury shortly after being named the nation's top center by Scout.com.
Rogers is expected to be joined Saturday in Fayetteville by four fellow Texas prep standouts in McKinney North tailback Ronald Jones II (6-1, 185), Rockwall tailback Chris Warren (6-2, 220), Plano OL-TE-DL Sam Tecklenburg (6-4, 250) while Rockwall Heath safety DeShon Elliott (6-1, 205) also hopes to make it.
Arkansas will also have seven in-state stars on hand with Razorback quarterback commit Ty Storey (6-3, 222) of Charleston, Arkansas offensive line pledge Colton Jackson (6-6, 290), Pine Bluff tight end Will Gragg (6-4, 245), North Little Rock wide receiver K.J. Hill (6-1, 180), Fort Smith Northside defensive tackle Daytrieon Dean (6-3, 260) and the Highland duo of wide receiver Deon Stewart (6-1, 183) and safety Avery Johnson (6-2, 210).
Also expected to visit Saturday is wide receiver Dahu Green (6-4, 193) of Oklahoma City Westmoore.