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Arkansas Razorbacks 2015 Recruiting Class Grades: Defense

Robb Smith came in last season and completely changed the mindset of how people around the country look at Arkansas' defense. These are the preliminary rankings of how good Arkansas did at replenishing the needs and depth at some of the positions.

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In 3-4 years when Arkansas has another top ten defense and a couple All-American type players we can come back and look at this and realize how bad these grades were. Nevertheless, here we go.

Defensive Line

Signees- Hjalte Froholdt, Jeremiah Ledbetter, Daytrieon Dean, Jamario Bell, T.J. Smith

Devan: Compared to the offensive side of the ball, this group of players is almost as good as the group of tight ends Arkansas brought in. 3 of these players are consensus 4-stars. The other two are rated 88s on 247Sports, which is almost a 4-star. That's pretty damn good. With Philon and Flowers both gone look for some of these players to come in and play right away. Froholdt is probably the biggest steal in the SEC. We got him all the way from Denmark! Or Ohio/Florida, but Denmark sounds better.

Grade: A+

Doc: This group didn't get a lot of attention throughout the year it seems, as all but Smith committed pretty early, but yes, it's a really impressive group. Considering both Froholdt and Ledbetter came from out of state, you have to give bonus points any time Arkansas can sign a 4* player who's not an Arkansan. Jamario Bell is one of my favorite players in the class. Love those kids from small Arkansas town who never have access to all the resources available at bigger schools but are so gifted athletically they come and blossom when given those resources in college.

Grade: A


Signees- Derrick Graham, Kendrick Jackson, (possibly Dre Greenlaw)

Devan: While neither of these players ratings will light a fire under Razorback Nation and get you fired up about the linebackers, they add much needed depth. Without these two players Arkansas would be down to 5 scholarship linebackers next season and that in itself would be terrifying. Arkansas stole Graham from Florida and flipped Jackson from Arizona. So it wasn't a terrible day for new linebackers coach Vernon Hargreaves.

Grade: B-

Doc: It's baffling that Arkansas has hardly ever been able to sign a highly-rated linebacker despite the obvious need the team always seems to have. You do have to like that these were players Arkansas was on pretty early in the calendar, even if Jackson didn't commit until Tuesday, so these were players Arkansas clearly wanted. But are they good enough to be good immediately? Don't know about that. None of these were early enrollees, either, so, while I think these guys could be great Hogs down the line, I don't know that Arkansas got players who could have a big immediate impact.

Grade: C


Signees- Ryan Pulley, Nate Dalton

Devan: Just like the linebackers, their ratings won't blow you away, but both of these players held offers from major power 5 schools. Dalton picked Arkansas over Kentucky and Oklahoma. Pulley picked Arkansas over South Florida, Arizona, Michigan State, and Louisville. Some of those schools play some pretty good defense. These are the type of players that add depth, and that can develop into starters eventually. Arkansas could've done worse at this position.

Grade: C

Doc: The Hogs did pretty well at corner last year, so they didn't need too many this season. Still, everyone seems to be really high on Dalton, in particular. Pulley also had some nice offers, and it's never bad to pull in a good athlete from South Florida.

Grade: C+


Signees- Willie Sykes, (possibly Dre Greenlaw)

Devan: Arkansas went the longest time without having a single commitment at this position. Then they decided to finally offer Fayetteville's Dre Greenlaw. Greenlaw held offers from several mid-majors and Washington State. Sykes just decommitted from Nebraska and signed with Arkansas on Signing Day. These players could come in and immediately play on special teams and eventually rotate into the lineup. Both players have huge upsides and fit into Robb Smith's system to a key.

Grade: C

Doc: Like linebacker, Arkansas seems to struggle to pull in safeties. They did manage to bring in Sykes at the last minute, which obviously helps. Arkansas missed out on a few people. and while Sykes may end up being a great safey, it's hard to say this is the strength of the class, especially if Greenlaw ends up as a linebacker.

Grade: C-

Special Teams

Signee- Blake Johnson

Devan: Arkansas lowest rated recruit just happens to be an Army All-American and the #1 player at his position. That tells you everything you need to know. Someone has to replace Sam Irwin-Hill, and while his name isn't as good, his skills prove that Arkansas is going to be in good hands (or feet) with him.

Grade: A

Doc: Need a punter, got an All-American. Again, it was early in the process, no wavering, and Arkansas was able to put it behind them and focus on other needs. Exactly what you want.

Grade: A

Overall, Robb Smith got to replenish some depth at all positions. The line is going to be just fine. The back seven may be more of a project, but Smith has shown he can certainly develop those players. It's definitely not the project-type of players Petrino used to recruit on defense. Bielema has proved that he can evaluate good enough in this conference. Henre' Toliver from 2014 is a perfect example of this. So don't write of any of these players just yet.

Overall: B-