Getting Talent From Texas Key For Arkansas

Scott Kennedy

Scout.com Director of Scouting Scott Kennedy writes about how Arkansas' success on the football field has often been tied to an infusion of Texas talent and could be the key again now that Razorback head coach Bret Bielema is now focused on the Lone Star state.

Arkansas' Record and Players from Texas

2006: 10-4, 27 players from Texas

2007: 8-5, 26 players from Texas

2008: 5-7, 25 players from Texas

2009: 8-5, 22 players from Texas

2010: 10-3, 27 players from Texas

2011: 11-2, 20 players from Texas

2012: 4-8, 21 players from Texas

2013: 3-9, 21 players from Texas

2014: 15 players from Texas

Over the course of the last eight seasons, Arkansas has had three teams finish with double digit wins, 2006, 2010 and 2011.

Two of those seasons coincided with the most players from Texas on the roster, while the two worst seasons of the last eight featured two of the three years that had the least amount of players from Texas.

Of course the high water mark of 2011 had the fewest players from Texas in the last eight seasons, so this is hardly a direct cause and effect.

One thing is certain however, and that’s the downward trend of Texans on the Razorback roster over the course of the last decade including the fewest amount of players (15) from the Lone Star State on the roster for the 2014 season.

It’s not hard to come up with reasons why Arkansas has seen the number of players from Texas dwindle. The move to the SEC in the ‘90’s partially explain the move more to the southern states, and the addition of Bobby Petrino in December of 2007.

Petrino had close ties to Florida and Georgia having coached the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons in the NFL as well as spending a season at Auburn who makes a living recruiting border states Florida and Georgia.

Enter Bret Bielema whose coaching experience was virtually all in the Midwest, and it’s easy to see why Arkansas has focused more on the Deep South than Texas in recent years.

However, any coach at Arkansas knows how vital Texas is and should be to the success at Arkansas. The 15 players on the Arkansas roster from Texas in 2014 should be the low water mark for the Razorbacks.

Bielema has made a concerted effort to concentrate more recruiting effort in Texas with new Director of Recruiting E.K Franks having coached at Texas State, and defensive backs coach Clay Jennings having earned a reputation as an ace recruiter while at TCU.

Arkansas already has two commitments from Texas in the 2015 recruiting class in center Zach Rogers of Lewisville Hebron and Rawleigh Williams III of Dallas Bishop Lynch.

Another new factor for Arkansas and the rest of the SEC is the addition of Texas A&M to the conference. Already considered the premier conference in the country, now all of a sudden Texas is an SEC state with the addition of the Aggies.

With the Big 12 seemingly in a constant state of flux these days, the SEC has the opportunity to have a significant presence in Texas quickly.

The two legacy programs that will benefit the most from the increased exposure in Texas? LSU and Arkansas. For all the talk about facilities and coaches, being close to home is still the biggest factor in recruiting for the vast majority of prospects.

So how important can Texas be to Arkansas? For the Class of 2014 the state of Arkansas produced 20 Division 1 (FBS) signees, eight of which signed with BCS schools.

Needless to say, Arkansas isn’t going to be competitive in the SEC simply by signing players from within its own borders the way LSU or Georgia or Florida can.

Meanwhile, Texas produced a whopping 405 D1 signees for the Class of 2014.

With five BCS schools within its state borders, even if every one of those teams signed 25 players, only from Texas, there would still be over 275 college football signees in Texas available that would have to leave the state to play for a BCS program. How significant is the number 275? Only one state in the nation produced more than 275 signees in 2014, Florida.

Arkansas doesn’t have to win every battle with the Longhorns and Aggies to build a championship caliber program.

With so many players available, Arkansas can build a strong foundation of seven to ten SEC caliber players from Texas, seal the borders around the home state by keeping the very best Arkansans home, and cherry pick talent rich nearby southern states like Louisiana, Georgia, and Florida, the three of which produce nearly 600 college signees per year.

Class of 2014 Signees by State

1, Texas, 405

2, Florida, 372

3, California, 250

4, Georgia, 214

5, Ohio, 167

6, Alabama, 94

7, Louisiana, 94

8, Michigan, 78

9, North Carolina, 75

10, Illinois, 73

11, Virginia, 68

12, Pennsylvania, 65

13, Mississippi, 58

14, New Jersey, 58

15, Maryland, 48

16, Missouri, 48

17, South Carolina, 47

18, Tennessee, 42

19, Arizona, 39

20, Indiana, 36

21, Oklahoma, 31

22, Colorado, 30

23, Utah, 30

24, Kentucky, 24

25, New York, 22

26, Washington, 22

27, Wisconsin, 22

28, Arkansas, 20

29, Hawaii, 18

30, Kansas, 17

31, Nevada, 15

32, Minnesota, 14

33, Connecticut, 13

34, Massachusetts, 13

35, Iowa, 11

36, DC, 9

37, Idaho, 8

38, Oregon, 7

39, New Mexico, 6

40, Delaware, 4

41, Nebraska, 4

42, Canada, 3

43, West Virginia, 2

44, Wyoming, 2

45, American Samoa, 1

46, Alaska, 1

47, Montana, 1

48, International, 1





Arkansas 2015 commit Zach Rogers of Lewisville, Texas, Hebron





Razorback 2015 tailback pledge Rawleigh Williams of Dallas Bishop Lynch

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