September 17, 2014

Shooting Stars

Here’s a special guest post from my boy (and current UA student), HogBlogger Jr.

A new era of ‘Pig Men’ is soon to be upon us.  The day known by many a collegiate football fan to be the start of something amazing or the realization of a dismal future is coming.  Yes…I am talking about National Signing Day — February’s most important ‘man holiday.’  Well…besides the Super Bowl and February 13th — a.k.a. ‘desperation day.’

Bobby Petrino (AP Photo/J.T. Wampler)Rivals.com first started nationally ranking recruiting classes in 2002.  Looking back at the top five classes each year, one will find a laundry list of BCS teams.  Texas, USC-West, LSU, Georgia, and Florida frequent the top five year in and year out.  And, not surprisingly, come next January we’ll expect to see those teams competing for the national title.

A few years ago, our fan base was happy to be in the top 30.  We were led to believe that we were ‘just Arkansas’ by a few once prominent…and now ‘un-prominent’ men.

However, those men have moved on.  One currently boasts the #37 class coming off a Cotton Bowl victory over one of the several overrated Big 12 teams.  The other celebrated by bearing his name to a lot of grass that, coincidently, our new coach wants to rip up and turn to turf.

In spite of what once was believed, Head Coach Bobby Petrino is proving otherwise.  To date, we boast the #14 class in the nation with the potential to crack the top 10 if the ‘stars’ align properly.  In addition, there are several noticeable differences in Bobby’s first class and Houston’s last.

During Houson Dale’s last stand — coming off a 10-win season — we took in six two-star recruits, 17 three-star recruits (of which five were lost due to ineligibility or transfer), and four four-star recruits (two of which were tight ends — which would, of course, only be useful in a two tight end set).

Our 2007 class ranked #31 in the country.  As of now, Head Coach Bobby Petrino boasts no two-star, 22 three-star, seven four-star and one five-star recruit after coming off a modest 5-7 record.  That’s five less wins and over a half point increase in star power.

It appears Bobby Petrino and Thomas The Train hold the same “I think I can” philosophy.

Additionally, we are finally recruiting for need rather than to fill roster spots.  In our current class, we have six defensive backs (all flaunting a ‘Florida-esque’ 4.55 or better speed) that collectively have been ranked as the #2 defensive backfield in the nation and #1 in the SEC.  As we all recall from last year, outside of Ramon Broadway, our secondary was an issue.

Furthermore, we have realized that Michael Smith (another Thomas The Train follower), while similar to lightning, needs a thunder.  Next year, that thunder will likely be in the form of either a 6’0″, 208-pound Knile Davis, 6’0″ 218-pound Jahron Brown, 6’2″ 215-pound Turell WIlliams, or heralded 4-star Ronnie Wingo, Jr. — a 6’3″ 212-pound St. Louis phenom.

Finally, Coach Petrino has understood that our offensive line, while mighty at heart, was small in stature.  Correcting this, we now will boast six mammoths between 6’4-6’8 in height and collectively weighing 1,786 pounds.  (Luckily I’ve heard our new quarterback is quite tall.)

As the eternal optimist, I believe this class will finish up even stronger, as a few other renowned recruits should be crying “pig sooie” in the next few days.  Now all we have to do is sit back and let Coach Petrino continue to mold this team…and maybe wish on a few stars.

  • T-towner

    Attaboy, Hogblogger Jr! Nice capsule and fun reading!

  • Hawgfan100

    Yep! Although I usually just cross my fingers, I may just find myself wishing on some of those stars! ;^)

  • BlindHog

    Good Job Junior!

    Bobby is by far the most qualified coach hired at Arkansas since Lou Holtz. And, Lou was no recruiter. The next few years should be a real treat.

    For all of Frank’s weaknesses he left some wonderful fascilities which this bunch is making good use of. And, poor ol’ Dale was the luckiest coach in America. If not for Matt Jones and Darren McFadden he would have been exposed years ago. It’s scary how bad off we would be right now if the powers that be hadn’t gone ahead and pulled the trigger after he beat LSU.

  • Carolina Hog

    I for one believe that Holtz was overrated and Notre Dame was the perfect fit because he was there at a time when they could recruit because of their name. I’ll admit that I doubted how good of a coach we could bring in after the way it went down with Dale but I am happy to eat crow. I work with Ole Miss fans and I am generally happy for them and the success they had but when they try to give me crap about running Houston off, I just smile. The new attitude with recruiting is awesome. As Hawgfan said we used to just sit and cross our fingers and it always seemed that when it came down to us and one other team down the home stretch that the big boys went with the other guy. I’m still shocked at how many times this year when it came down to that situation we end up with the stud. Can’t wait til Wednesday. Go Hogs.

  • http://www.razorbloggers.net/ HogBaller

    Nice post. We shall soon see if this staff finishes strong. I believe they will with a few pleasant surprises on Wednesday.

  • ReasonRules

    I say if he finishes top 15 with recruiting class we rip up the grass and give Bobby his turf. By the way, whoever said turf was low class must have been sorely disappointed in the Super Bowl last night.

  • Jayhawg

    Not a bad post SGH! I take the Big 12 diss personally, as I think it was intended, but I can live with it. Since your post our Hogs have dropped a spot to #15, so I’m not sure if your optimism is working, but there’s still time. Now a few comments, could we have actually done better than Petrino? Maybe, had we pushed harder for Butch Davis, a coach with a better history and currently a top ten recruiting class at UNC, of all places, a second tier ACC school!! However, lets look at Petrino’s recruiting at Louisville…35, 64, 45, 34 represent his recruiting classes from 03-06 and he still had good teams, albeit in the Big East. One would think with superior talent would come superior results, but only time would tell with that. We must also remember that Petrino is a threat to flee, if the bail remains high, he should stay. Recruiting classes can only tell us so much, there is definitely a correlation between the top teams and the top recruiters, but there are also teams that recruit well, but still play terrible ball. I’m thinking about State BG… All in all I agree, a good recruiting class bodes well for the Hogs future, but I hesitate to say I’m optimistic. I am also surprised to see HogBlogger Jr. writing for the Razorbacks as opposed to just the SEC in general, in my dealing with him he is conference first team second, “if an Arkansas loss helps the SEC, I’m okay with that”. I would also like to point out that he is no longer a U of A student, but an alum with a partially finished minor (for very good reason, congrats!). I look forward to more posts from the young pup and I hope he looks forward to my responses! Rock Chalk, Whoo PIg!

  • HogbloggerJr

    BlindHog- Yes Frank did leave us with the scenery, just curious to why our other coach always found it so difficult to display its allure……

    Jayhawg- I too have seen the lack of love for Petrino’s classes. With that being said Scout.com has put out a re-ranking of those classes now that the 2003 and 2004 players are off to greener pastures. If you look at the re-ranked 2003 class Petrino jumped from a scout ranking of 48 all the way up to 9 (http://cfn.scout.com/2/615853.html) as this class was the foundation for his Orange Bowl victory. Again if you look at 2004 (http://cfn.scout.com/2/726003.html) Petrino was initially given a 54 ranking and now, looking back, he was adjusted to 14. I was also surprised to see that both years he was said to have zero misses in each class. Simply put it Head Coach Bobby Petrino knows what he is looking for in a player and gets the most out of them. As for the SEC, a league where even in a down year we win National Championships, they are only a beacon by which Arkansas will become nationally known. Much like a “Bat-Signal,” when opposing teams see the logo they automatically know that unless they play defense they will get beat.

    On another note tell Jones the juice is running and Bg, Weston, and I will be looking forward to a lovely night on your behalf.

  • Ward_Hog

    Guys I would like to say a BIG THANKS for keeping your site free. As I was trying to get some information about some of our new recruits, I ran into a few sites that charged for their service. I’ve said this before, you guys rock! Not only are your opinions entertaining, they are very well sourced. Again, thanks for your service and GO HOGS GO!!!

  • http://www.razorbloggers.net/ TipsterHog

    Thanks Ward_Hog!!!