Ok. So the Hogs aren't going anywhere this year. Taken in the long view, this isn't surprising. 6-6 was about the best we could hope for, and even that may have been a bit optimistic.
Let's move on.
Not completely, of course. Much could still be gained from an emotional/psychological standpoint with a strong finish to the season. But it's time to start casting a eye toward the future, and as has already been discussed, 2014's schedule does Arkansas no favors.
So if there Hogs are going to avoid another year in the sub-.500 doldrums, the roster must be improved. Some of that will occur naturally as young players progress, and the two-deep could also use an infusion of talent from a solid recruiting class.
Today, we break down the offense by position, level of need, current commitments and prospects the Hogs are hoping to land.
Maybe Brandon Allen's a better quarterback than he's shown so far. I think we all hope so. But even if he morphs immediately into the four-star talent he was trumpeted as coming out of high school, the Hogs need depth at the position. This season has proven that.
Hopes remain high that redshirting freshmen Austin Allen and Damon "Duwop" Mitchell will be capable of pushing for playing time this spring, but until we have at least two known quantities at the position, it's hard to feel good about depth.
Thankfully, quarterback is one position Arkansas is recruiting well.
COMMITTED: Rafe Peavey, Ty Storey (2015)
Peavey is a consensus four-star dual threat guy from Missouri who stuck with the Hogs over offers from USC, Auburn, Louisville, etc. He's got decent size (6-2, 212) and speed, and his highlight films show a live arm (see link). Think: a bigger version of South Carolina's Connor Shaw. Perhaps the best news: he'll arrive on campus in about six weeks, and, as an early enrollee, he's eligible to sign immediately. He's slated to do so next week.
Storey is a junior prospect from Charleston, Ark., and is considered one of the top quarterbacks in the country for the Class of 2015. He verbally committed to the Hogs over an offer from Alabama and Auburn, and is expected to be the kind of prospect who can pretty much name his destination. Let's hope he sticks with Arkansas.
WISH LIST: Just get these two guys to campus.
The Hogs are in good shape at the top of the depth chart with Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams. After that, we're not so sure, since it seems Korliss Marshall is bound for defense. We haven't seen much of Kody Walker or Nate Holmes this year, and true freshman Denzell Evans is redshirting. If the Hogs truly hope to keep Marshall on defense, another reliable back needs to emerge.
COMMITTED: Juan Day
Altee Tenpenny's former backup at North Little Rock, Day is more of a big, bruising runner. He topped 1,000 yards spelling Tenpenny last season, but had his senior year cut short by an ACL injury. Highlight films show good running instincts and a tough tackle, but not a ton of speed. Consensus mid-level three-star guy.
WISH LIST: Kevin Shorter, Dalvin Cook
Shorter is a speedy Texan in the 6-0, 190-pound range. He's committed to the Longhorns but still taking visits. The interest between he and the Hogs appears mutual, and Arkansas freshman DB DJ Dean is his cousin. Ranked as a low-end four-star by the recruiting services.
Cook is one of the top backs in the country and may be a pipe dream for Arkansas. If it wasn't for the fact that this staff was able to go into South Florida and flip Alex Collins from Miami last season, I'd say there's no way they pry Cook away from his commitment to the home-state Gators. But they did get Cook to visit earlier this month, and with all the turmoil in Gainesville this year, anything could happen. Still, gotta consider this one a long shot.
It's been a bad year for the Hogs' passing game, and the receivers deserve their share of the blame for that. Keon Hatcher has shown some playmaking ability with the ball in his hands, but has been inconsistent catching it. No one else who will be on the roster next season has stood out. Maybe Demetrius Wilson will provide a spark next year when he returns, and maybe D'Arthur Cowan will show some of the ability the coaches were so high on before his preseason injury.
One way or another, the Hogs need immediate help here.
COMMITTED: Jared Cornelius, Corey McBride, Torrance Mosley
None of these three Louisiana prospects have an offer list that will blow you away; the Hogs only had to beat out a handful of BCS-conference programs for their verbal commitments, and each is considered a low- to mid-three-star by the recruiting serviceS.
If we were going to compare these guys to the Arkansas trio of Adams/Childs/Wright for the sake of easy/lazy analysis (which isn't fair, but whatever), Mosley would be Adams, McBride would be Wright and Cornelius would be Childs. I guess.
WISH LIST: Adonis Jennings, Ryeshene Bronson
Jennings is a New Jersey kid who recently decommitted from Rutgers, and Bronson is another South Florida guy committed to an in-state school (USF). Jennings is the more highly touted as a low-end four-star, but both would be welcome additions to the class and both have good size (6-3/4, 185/190).
The Hogs have a future high-end talent in Hunter Henry, and good depth returning in 2014 with Mitchell Loewen, Jeremy Sprinkle and Alex Voelzke.
COMMITTED: Ravian Pierce, Jack Kraus
Nice complements of receiver (Pierce) and blocker (Kraus) based on surface analysis. Pierce is another good-looking South Florida prospect (6-4, 215, with a frame that could easily carry 30 more pounds). He's considered a high-end three-star prospect and reported an impressive offer list (Georgia, Florida State, Florida).
Kraus is a Bentonville product in the 6-5, 240-to-250-pound range and considered a mid-tier three-star.
WISH LIST: I think we're good here. The Hogs would've loved to have landed Deandre Goolsby (who announced for Florida earlier this month), but there are other positions on the roster (ahem, linebacker) that could use more attention.
The Hogs closed very strong on the offensive line last year, landing current starters Denver Kirkland and Dan Skipper, as well as redshirting freshman Reeve Koehler. Those three figure to be the cornerstones of the offensive line for the next few seasons, but if Arkansas is going to build a winner playing pro-style offense, an elite offensive line is a must. And to be elite, last year's class needs to be duplicated year after year.
COMMITTED: Jovann Pruitt, Colton Jackson (2015), Zach Rogers (2015)
The staff is off to a strong start for next season's class with a pair of four-star prospects already on board. Unfortunately, the current class took a big hit a couple of weeks ago when Jermaine Eluemunor - one of the top junior college prospects in the country - flipped his commitment to Texas A&M.
Arkansas is also having to fend off poachers for remaining commit Jovann Pruitt, a low-end four-star seemingly cut from a 300-pound block of marble. Pruitt has offers from Bama, Baylor, Oklahoma, everybody. Arkansas desperately needs to keep him in the fold.
WISH LIST: Frank Ragnow, Brian Wallace
Landing these two may not be a Skipper/Kirkland level haul, but it wouldn't be that far off, and the Hogs appear to be very much in the mix for both.
Florida State and Minnesota may be the primary competition for Ragnow, a Minnesota kid with offers from Ohio State, Miami, etc. Bielema & Company have pitched him on the idea of becoming the next Travis Swanson, and Ragnow has responded well, according to reports.
Wallace is a teammate of current defensive tackle commit Armon Watts. The Hogs will have to beat out Alabama, Nebraska and Iowa for this 6-6, 300-pound, four-star prospect.