October 1, 2014

All That Glitters

We can’t begin to describe how impressed we are with the staff that new coach Bret Bielema is assembling.  The recent addition of former Miami head coach Randy Shannon as linebackers coach is the icing on the cake.

Shannon, wide receivers coach George McDonald, and defensive line coach Charlie Partridge all have extensive ties to recruiting Florida.  Partridge is originally from Plantation, Florida; McDonald was previously receivers coach at Miami.

Bielema has said that no more than two assistants will be assigned to recruit in Florida.

While we’re intrigued by this chance to start mining the Sunshine State for players willing to come to Arkansas, there’s a part of us that wonders, ‘Is it fool’s gold?’

Our previous two coaches spent a lot of valuable time and resources trying to make inroads into the state with little to no success.

Since 1999, here’s a ranking of the ten players Arkansas has signed out of Florida high schools.  Note:  This does not include any junior college players signed who were originally from Florida.

Rank Player/Position City Years/Letters Career
1 Michael Smith RB Tallahassee, FL 2005-09  4L 359 RuAtt, 2,023 RuYds, 16TDs, 529 RecYds, 3TDs.
2 Steven Harris WR Orlando, FL 2000-04  4L 64 Rec, 1,008 RecYds, 5TDs.
3 Chris Balseiro K Miami, FL 2001-05 3L 111-114 PATs, 28-40 FGs, 195 Total Points.
4 Javontee Herndon WR Jacksonville, FL 2010-12 2L 31 Rec, 473 RecYds, 3TDs.
5 Marquel Wade WR Jacksonville, FL 2011  1L 8 Rec, 62 RecYds, 14 KO Ret, TD
6 Lance Ray WR Havana, FL 2009-10  1L 1 Rec, 6 RecYds, 23 KO Ret, 518 RetYds.
7 Michael Aguirre OT Fort Lauderdale, FL 2005-08  3L 13 Games Played, 2 Starts.
8 Carlton Salters, WR Tallahassee, FL 2006-09  2L 13 Rec, 185 RecYds, TD.
9 Darrell Smith S Port St. Joe, FL 2010-11 1L 9 Tackles.
10 Kareem Crowell OT Tallahassee, FL 2007-09 0 Games Played.

Other than the warrior Michael Smith, not exactly a ‘Who’s Who’ of Razorback Football.

While we do believe that Partridge, McDonald and Shannon will fare much, much better there because of their connections, Texas, Oklahoma, and northern Louisiana are the proven areas that have produced for Arkansas in the past.

Bielema seems to be fully aware of where the players are.

“It’s always been entertaining for me as a head coach when you hire a coach, they automatically think they can only recruit in areas they’ve traditionally been,” Bielema said.  “What I’ve learned as a head coach and also as an assistant as you watch, good recruiters are great recruiters wherever they are.”

One thing is for sure — if you can get those south Florida kids to come to Madison, Wisconsin, you should be able to convince them to come to Fayetteville, Arkansas and play in the SEC.  Right?

  • GonzoHog

    So far, so good. I won’t complain a bit at this point.
    All that glitters may not be gold, but we have to start somewhere, and it’s hard to complain about any of the credentials this staff currently has. I have very high hopes to this point.
    GO HOGS GO, BABY!!!!!

  • texhogforever

    No doubt about it, Bielema’s assembling an all-star coaching staff at the University of Arkansas–maybe the best in Razorback history. You’re right–if they’ll come to the frozen tundra they should come to the Ozark and Boston Mountains! And if they can win championships in places like Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, they can win championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas! WPS!

    • http://www.razorbloggers.net/ Walking on Sunshine

      Well said. I hope Tim Horton can be that last member of the staff. Would hate to lose him unless it was him getting a HC gig somewhere.

  • NewYorkHogFan

    I hope we can keep Tim Horton too. Everyone who knows him speaks very highly of him. He has recruited Texas and bleeds Razorback Red. It would be good to have him as a transition from the old to the new. Of course, if he is offered a HC job, then I wish him the best, but he is the kind of coach you want on your staff.

  • Roadhog

    After Long and the UofA hired Bielema and he has nearly finished assembling his impressive staff, and after hearing a radio interview with a national sports writer a couple of weeks ago, on the future of college football, I feel Arkansas football is poised to prosper in the coming years. While the collapse of the Petrino program was painful to watch, I believe we will be better off in the long run, perhaps even in just a couple of years. It seems that the big time boosters have committed to upgrade the program by making the necessary investments. Soon, I hope, nobody, especially me, will remember the 2012 season and the Petrino era. Onward, Hogs!

    • Defense Wins Championships

      I see nothing but good happening with Razorback football in the future. Give the coach time to assemble players and to coach up those who are there and we will be proud of the product. Defense will improve immediately. I am in awe of the coaching staff. I believe recruiting will improve tremendously not only in Texas but many other places as well. As far as Horton, I am pleased that they did not retain him. He is a connection with the old and it is time to move forward with new talent. There are not too many Manziels and Cam Newton around. Those two are special brands. Loved the TAM game. That is specially true since a Texas longhorn told me Christmas Eve that A&M having success proved to him that the Big 12 is the stronger conference. I told him Manziel is special and they did not have him when in the Big 12 nor did they have their current coach. TAM is going to remain tough. The longhorn believes the SEC only has 4 strong teams. Wonder what he is thinking tonight with the beat down of the Aggies over the Sooners. I do think that football is somewhat cyclical and I think Texas and Sooners are experiencing that.

      • Roadhog

        The main concern over the loss of Horton is how that may affect in-state recruiting, especially now that he is teamed with Malzahn. My feeling is that if an Arkansas high school star doesn’t want to be a Razorback first and foremost, we don’t need him anyhow. I do hate to compete against feral hogs tho. The remedy for everything is winning. If the Razorback brand is a winner the players will want to come.

  • GolfHog

    Talent is where you find it. Sure Texas, Louisiana, and Florida have plenty. And, this is an impressive staff and they should be able to bring in the talent. At first blush, it appears as though they may bring us much closer to LSU and Bama.
    And then there’s coaching. Charlie Strong showed last night what happens when recruiting meets coaching. Each team is a reflection of their coach. In Charlie’s case that was a very good thing. Muschamp’s boys are a bunch of hot heads. We’ll know more in September.

  • skepticalhogfan

    I am not even close to sold on giving the Texas connection away in favor of Florida. I like the Shannon hire a lot, but can’t stand the Jim Chaney hire. There is NO Texas or Oklahoma flavor to speak of on the recruiting and I am concerned. I will withold judgement until after season 2 with Bielema and I have nothing but high hopes. Problem is when I look objectively, I just don’t see it. I have burned drinking the kool aid too many times in the recent past. Come signing day we will have a glimpse of what kind of recruiters this staff brings, but it won’t really come out until the 2014 class. If that 2014 class doesn’t make an immediate impact, time to move on and find the right guy. If it does, then we have found him and Jeff Long looks like the smartest guy in college football administration.

    • GolfHog

      Beilema’s contract does not allow for any moving on. He is here for at least 5 years. He had better do well. If he is the next John L. Smith there is nothing we can do about it. They won’t pay that much money to get rid of him.

  • Defense Wins Championships

    I believe he will recruit strongly where ever they concentrate. Shannon is the real deal but I know nothing about the others but resumes are very impressive. I am a believer that he will get it done in Florida and Texas and even in more places than in the past!