First, we'd like to offer our congratulations to all the new Razorbacks. We're excited to have them and hope they have great careers at Arkansas.
Unfortunately, you can't talk about Arkansas' Signing Day without acknowledging the early disappointment when Solomon Thomas pulled the tree from under the table and committed to Stanford.
As we've mentioned in the Signing Day previews, Arkansas didn't have a desperate need for defensive ends - although he likely would have made a great impact - but he was the key for putting an unquestionably positive light on Arkansas' class. The Hogs would've finished in the Top 25 in the composite rankings. ESPNU would've replayed a high profile player committing to Arkansas all day instead of committing to Stanford (similar to the Denver Kirkland experience last year). But it didn't work out. And when Demetrius Jackson held firm with his commitment to Miami an hour later, that knocked the mood down another level.
But unfortunately, that overshadowed the commitment of JoJo Robinson. He's a tremendous prospect with great offers, and plays a position in which Arkansas desperately needs playmakers to come in and help as soon as possible. He brings a skill set that Arkansas simply didn't have last year. Perhaps he would have made a bigger splash with the fans if he wasn't widely expected to flip to Arkansas for the last couple of weeks, but he could prove to be among the most important commitments in this class, at least in the short term.
Some other quick thoughts on the class
- Have to love the offensive line group. We all know a dominant offensive line is the foundation of Bielema's offense, and he appears well on his way to having an offensive line unit as good as anybody.
- In addition to Robinson, it's a good thing to get tall receivers for certain situations. Kendrick Edwards and Cody Hollister both provide that. That's another thing Arkansas didn't have last year.
- I would've liked to have gotten more than one player designated as a safety. The Hogs signed five defensive backs but only Joshua Liddell is listed as a safety. I like the cornerback group, and it's possible some of them could play safety eventually, but it seems like the Hogs really needed more than one. It will be interesting to see how that shakes out.
- Arkansas signed three linebackers, but it's hard to know what really to expect out of them right now. There was a lot of talk from national analysts about them being under-the-radar talents, particularly Randy Ramsey. That's a position Arkansas needs quick help, and we know they missed out on some of their higher targets, so I'm willing to wait and see what happens with these guys.
- Cole Hedlund may be the most underrated player in the class just because kickers are always rated low. Hedlund is one of the best in the country but nobody rates him above a 3*. A good kicker is a great weapon, and replacing Zach Hocker is no easy task, but Hedlund may be able to step in and do it. Hedlund is as good a high school kicker as you can hope to get.
- Overall, Arkansas finished #30 overall in the composite rankings on 24/7. That's not great. We would've liked to have seen that a little higher, but in the end, especially if Bielema can keep most everybody on campus like he did last year, this feels like a better class than the 2010 class they're replacing on campus. I think it does make Arkansas better, How much will that translate into wins this fall? Who knows. Of course, most of the rest of the SEC had great classes, so it will be imperative for Bielema to live up to his reputation of being able to develop players.
That's my initial reaction to the class. What do you think?