Can the Razorbacks get any good news this season? Not only have the Hogs started 1-2, but Razorback players are dropping like flies due to injuries, and Bielema has taken a nationwide hit due to previous comments made about in the press about various topics. After the loss this weekend to Texas Tech, fans are clamoring for changes heading into the start of their SEC schedule.
Sep 19, 2015; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema during the second quarter against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nobody knows what the rest of the season holds; whether that means the Razorbacks get out of the funk that they are in right now, or become the team of 2012, only time will tell. But lets look beyond the X’s and O’s of the game, and look at something that Bielema has hung his hat on since being named the Arkansas head coach: recruiting.
Right now, the Razorbacks are putting together a very nice recruiting class for 2016, which stands at 14 players. That class is led by four-star defensive end McTelvin Agim from Hope, Arkansas. Agim is poised to be a star for the Razorbacks and in the SEC. Other notable recruits are include defensive tackles Austin Capps, a Star City, AR native, and Briston Guidry, and guard Jake Heinrich. According to 247Sports, Arkansas has the 24th ranked national recruiting class heading into 2016. Arkansas’ SEC recruiting class rank, 10th. Does that tell you how tough the SEC is?
But what happens to recruiting if the Razorbacks tank this season and finish at an abysmal 2-10, 3-9, maybe even 4-8? Do those recruits change their mind and look else where to continue their football career? Or will they stick it out?
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As much as team record shouldn’t matter, sadly I think it will come into play. Why wouldn’t it? Not even a year ago, Arkansas was one of the biggest talking points in the nation, thanks to their quick turnaround and winning three of the their last four games. All summer, all we heard about was how much the Razorbacks improved throughout the season and what could possibly happen this year? This team was picked by some to be a sleeper team in the SEC West. If I’m a recruit and I constantly hear about the Razorbacks and the potential of that team moving forward, I want to be apart of it. It’s music to the ears of high school players. Fast forward to where we stand now, a broken team at 1-2 and now starting the daunting schedule of the SEC. Realistically, the Razorbacks won’t make a bowl game, unless something drastic changes very, very soon. Looking ahead to the off-season, the Razorbacks will lose quite a bit of their team due to graduation and moving on to the NFL. How successful will the Razorbacks be? Who knows, but in the minds of some high school athletes, they don’t want to be apart of another rebuilding year. I don’t blame them one bit either. Some recruits won’t have that mindset. Some will be dedicated to become a Razorback and create something special during their tenure at Arkansas.
Aside from the issues the Razorbacks and Bret Bielema are facing right now, recruiting is always something that Bielema has thrived at. He is a player’s coach, and caters to the development of their talent as a football player. You don’t have many coaches like that in college football today. But the downfalls of this 2015 Razorback team could pose difficulties moving forward into 2016. If the Razorbacks aren’t successful this season, you could kiss some of those recruits goodbye. But if the Razorbacks can quickly turnaround the mess they are in right now and getting on the winning track again, maybe those recruits will stay put and wear the Razorback colors proud.
Texas A&M is next up at AT&T Stadium, can the winning trend start Saturday?
Here’s to hoping.