Signee- Ty Storey
Devan: The fact that he played in Arkansas' second smallest division and that he committed to Arkansas way back before Bret Bielema even coached a game may have kept his rating down. He is still a 4-star on every service. Regardless, this was the only quarterback Arkansas offered in the 2015 class. He threw for over 4,000 yards and 53 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. Nick Saban and Bob Petrino wanted him, but they never stood a chance. He is the quintessential pro-style quarterback that fits into this offensive system perfectly.
Doc: This was exactly what you want in recruiting, especially for a high profile position like quarterback. Identified early, committed early, ended up being a highly rated player and his commitment never wavered. No problems here.
Signee- Rawleigh Williams III
Devan: Williams lit up the private school division in Texas running for nearly 3,000 yards and 37 touchdowns. The consensus 3-star is a very good running back who would likely be rated higher if he played tougher competition more consistently in Texas. This is the second straight season Arkansas only managed to get one running back in their signing class. Keeping Jonathan Williams might be the biggest recruit of the 2015 class because if he left there would be no depth at this position next season. Bret Bielema is going to have to get more than one next season.
Doc: All of your comments are spot on but I'm going to give it a little more credit. It's a rare year that Arkansas had a lot of in-state talent, but none of them were running backs. The Hogs got one over the summer which usually means they really like him. Bielema compared him to Montee Ball, which is high praise. Next year is the year they really need to hit a home run at running back though.
Signees- La'Michael Pettway, Deon Stewart, Dominique Reed
Devan: This position had a lot of promise before K.J. Hill jumped ship. Then it looked bleak for a little while, then Dominique Reed jumped on board and now all looks fine at this position. Arkansas needed some breakaway speed at this position, and they may have gotten it without many people knowing. Reed reports running a 4.3 40 time. He's that breakaway speed we have been looking for. The other two players report running sub 4.5 40s. Expect a couple of these players to come in and play right away, especially Reed.
Doc: My feeling about this group is entirely dependent on whether Reed qualifies, which most people seem to be optimistic about at this point. If he's as good as everyone seems to believe, he'll be a star and instantly will be able to revamp Arkansas' offense by himself. If he doesn't qualify, the Hogs picked up a pair of in-state players who may not add much to Arkansas' current receiver corps other than depth. And you do have to account for the fact that K.J. jumped ship, and holding onto him for so long possibly cost the Hogs another high-profile target.
Grade: B+ if Reed qualifies, C- if he doesn't
Signees- Austin Cantrell, Will Gragg, C.J. O'Grady
This is the crown jewel of the 2015 class. No one signed a better group of tight ends, anywhere. All three are 4-stars on at least one service. Gragg could have picked his school of choice, O'Grady shot up the rankings throughout the season and ended up being the #1 player in the state, and other schools tried to pluck Cantrell after Arkansas found him but he shut his recruiting down. We may not have the top wide receivers, but don't think Bret won't line up with 5 linemen, 4 tight ends, a quarterback, and a running back and just run it right at you. We even have a name for it, the Bert Smash. Arkansas was already loaded at this position, but they might just have the best set of tight ends in the country now.
BERT SMASH COMIN FOR THE SEC IN 2015. pic.twitter.com/eWCT28Tyar— The Arkansas Logo (@Arkansas_Logo) January 2, 2015
Doc: Best group in the country. At least some of them could be instant impact guys. And Arkansas likes to use the tight ends as receivers, so real excitement here.
Signees- Josh Allen, Zach Rogers, Colton Jackson, Jalen Merrick
Devan: If the tight end class wasn't so spectacular, I would be clamoring over how good this group of linemen is. Because Sam Pittman and Bret Bielema have done it again. Many forget about Josh Allen, but he was a 4-star on ESPN (3* elsewhere) who couldn't get into UNC. Their loss is our gain. Jackson and Merrick are all 4-stars on at least one service. They may have missed out on Toby Weathersby at the end, but this is position where they can afford that. Seriously, how often do we say that losing a 4* doesn't hurt and really, really mean it. This is one position we will probably never have to worry about as long as Bielema is here.
Doc: I'll say that losing Weathersby hurts. I'm not taking away anything from those four because all of them have potential to be highly productive Razorbacks, but for all the great linemen that have signed in recent years, few have been true tackles, and Weathersby would have been a big fit there. The players Arkansas signed are all can be great and fans should be excited, but there are still some big, obvious question marks (Rogers' injuries, Allen being out for the last year, Jackson's few offers), and there's just that one glaring hole for me where Weathersby would have been.
The offense took a step forward today and people should be excited. There were some misses at running back and receiver but you can't catch 'em all. There are several players here that can come in and compete immediately for starting positions. Arkansas' new OC Dan Enos got a lot of new toys to play with today.