Fayetteville, Ark. – New Arkansas Razorback head coach Bret Bielema wasted little time shaking up the verbal commitments from the previous coaching staff to reshape the team going forward within his own vision.
A couple of weeks ago the Hogs had 17 verbal commitments including 4-star running back Kaleb Blanchard from Denham Springs, Louisiana, and 3-star quarterback Tyler Cogswell from Plantation, Florida. Gone are Blanchard, Cogswell, and junior college offensive lineman Mitchell Bell (Navarro Junior College Texas) but Bielema was able to sign five junior college players to bolster holes in the Arkansas roster heading into the 2013 season.
On Wednesday Arkansas was able to get Letters of Intent from cornerback Carroll Washington, linebacker Myke Tavarres, linebacker Martrell Spaight, safety Tiquention Coleman, and offensive lineman John McClure.
Arkansas needed to fill gapping holes at linebacker with the losses of Alonzo Highsmith, Tank Wright, Terrell Williams, and Ross Rasner to graduation; all starters at one time during the 2012 season. Returning next year for the Hogs will be All-SEC Freshman linebackers Otha Peters and A.J. Turner.
Spaight, 6’1”, 220 pounds, was a two-time NJCAA All-American at Coffeyville, Kansas, and the 2012 Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Not highly recruited out of North Little Rock High School due to missing his sophomore year for personal reasons and missing his junior season because of a foot injury, Spaight proved himself at the JC level and returns to Arkansas just in time.
Bielema was able to keep Tavarres onboard after a phone call leading up to signing day. Tavarres was heavily recruited by Boise State, Arizona, and Oregon State among others but stuck with his verbal commitment to Arkansas, and the Hogs are better for it.
Tavarres, 6’2”, 215 pounds, 4.42 forty-yard dash speed from Weed, Calif., College of the Siskiyous recorded 85 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 5 pass breakups, 2 recovered fumbles and 1 forced fumble in 2012 after a solid 2011 season when he recorded 13 TFL with 5 sacks.
McClure, 6’4”, 320 pounds, was a second-team All-American offensive tackle for Butler County Junior College last season and a Kansas First-Team All-State selection during his senior year in high school at Wichita Heights.
McClure comes to Arkansas with FBS experience after Kansas State enrolled McClure as a walk-on in 2010 before he transferred to Butler County Community College after the fall semester.
The Hogs lost offensive guard Alvin Bailey to the NFL as an early entry and will lose Jason Peacock and Tyler Deacon to graduation; all three starters during the 2012 season.
Depth, talent, and experience in the secondary were major problems for the Arkansas defense during the 2012 college football campaign. The Hogs lose cornerback Darius Winston, Kaelon Kellybrew, and safety help from previously mentioned Ross Rasner to graduation.
Several starters return for a unit that appeared overmatched at times during the previous season. Bielema signed cornerback Carroll Washington and safety Tiquention Coleman to add depth and experience for the Hogs defense in 2013.
Washington, 6’0”, 180 pounds, earned 2011 All-Coast Conference honors playing for Hartnell Community College in Salinas, California in 2011 and 2012. All noted ball-hawk, Washington secured five picks in 2011 and three in 2012 while breaking up six passes this season.
Coleman, 5’ 10”, 200 pounds, is a junior college prospect from Georgia Military College. The Mauldin High School South Carolina product is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 8 safety prospect at the junior college level, Coleman had previously committed to Wisconsin on Nov. 18 after visiting the campus the weekend of Nov. 16.
The Hogs still have a lot of ground to makeup via recruiting rankings, for what those are worth. Per Rivals the Razorbacks are ranked No. 49, No. 48 by Scout, and No. 34 by 247Sports.
Arkansas Razorback Commitments for the 2013 Recruiting Class
1. QB Austin Allen, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 3-Star
2. LB Brooks Ellis, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 3-Star
3. SS Alex Brignoni, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 3-Star
4. TE Deondra Skinner, Patterson, Louisiana, 3-Star
5. SS Khari Harding, Edmond, Oklahoma, 3-Star
6. WR Jervenski Johnson, Amite, Louisiana, NR
7. TE Hunter Henry, Little Rock, Arkansas, 4-Star
8. LB Myke Tavarres, Weed (JC), California, 3-Star*
9. CB Carroll Washington, Salinas (JC), California, 4-Star*
10. LB Marcus Robinson, Memphis, Tennessee, 3-Star
11. DE Tevin Beanum, Forrest City, Arkansas, 2-Star
12. OT John McClure, El Dorado (JC), Texas, 2-Star*
13. WR Drew Morgan, Greenwood, 2-Star
14. SS Tiquention Coleman, Milledgeville (JC), Georgia, 3-Star*
15. LB Martrell Spaight, Coffeyville (JC), Kansas, 3-Star*
Arkansas Razorback Commitments for the 2014 Recruiting Class
QB Rafe Peavey, Bolivar, Missouri, Not Rated Yet
*Denotes signed Letter of Intent.
All verbal commitments are nonbinding.