Bret Bielema’s style of play heavily relies upon the big men in the trenches and the 2014 recruiting class for the Hogs is shaping up pretty well for the offensive and defensive line.
The seemingly best pickup for the Razorbacks is keeping the number one player in the state of Arkansas at home. Defensive tackle Bijohn Jackson of El Dorado is a 6’1”, 335-pound beast who helped lead his Wildcats to yet another state title and is a force on the inside. Add him alongside the breakout star Darius Philon, and the Hogs are set up well on the inside.
Jackson will be accompanied by another defensive tackle in Armon Watts of St. Louis, Missouri. Watts is a large 6’4”, 260-pound commit and could certainly begin to see playing time soon at the position.
The Razorbacks would get their best recruit of this signing class if five-star DE Solomon Thomas decides to come to Fayetteville on national signing day. Word is that Thomas had a great visit to Arkansas last weekened, but it is still up in the air as to where he will decide to play at.
Ole Miss DE commit Beeland Speaks of Jackson, Mississippi is planning to take an official visit to Arkansas this weekend. Speaks is a four-star recruit and despite already committing to the Rebels, is bringing his parents this weekend for his visit, so maybe there is still a chance for the Hogs for a late flip, but it is highly unlikely.
While the defensive line is showing promise, the offensive line is getting big players as well.
Highly recruited OT Brain Wallace of St. Louis picked the Hogs over Alabama in the U.S. Army All-America game earlier this month. The 6’6”, 305-pound Wallace is a tremendous get for the Razorbacks, and he should battle for playing time as soon as he steps on campus. After watching film on this guy, he completely dominates whoever he lines up against and is SEC ready.
Another big-time OT Frank Ragnow of Chanhassen, Minnesota announced today that he will be coming down south to play for the Razorbacks. Ragnow is a 6’6”, 291-pound four-star recruit and is rated as the third-best recruit in the state of Minnesota. Ragnow chose Arkansas over Florida State and Minnesota.
Junior College transfer OT Sebastian Tretola is rated as the tenth-best offensive tackle in this class. Tretola started off redshirting at Nevada before transferring to Iowa Western. Sam Pittman lured Tretola to Arkansas over Oklahoma, TCU, Florida, and others. He has a good shot at coming in and challenging for the starting spot at one of the tackle positions this upcoming season with his experience.
Along with these great recruits, the Razorbacks got a hard verbal commit from Jovan Pruitt, a three-star OT from Dallas who looks very promising as well.
Another recruit to keep your eye on is OT Andrew Mike. He is a 6’7”, 270-pound recruit from Tucson, Arizona and is really leaning towards signing with the Razorbacks. He has an official visit to Vanderbilt this weekend, but Arkansas seems to be in the lead over them and Florida. We’ll see how it plays out with Ragnow’s announcement today.
It’s obvious that Sam Pittman is has been doing some serious work this offseason recruiting some monster offensive lineman. Arkansas now has three, 4-star offensive lineman recruits in this class and five in the past two years with Pittman.
A big, fierce line is exactly what Bret Bielema needs to have in order to play his style of football and is something that the Arkansas football team is lacking at the moment. It looks like some brighter days may be ahead for the Razorbacks.