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.
|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?