Hogs sign 22; missing No. 1
No LOI from Collins
Fayetteville High's Austin Allen shakes hands with his father Bobby Allen after signing his letter of intent to play football at the University of Arkansas during the official signing ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, at Fayetteville High School.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas announced 17 new signees on Wednesday, but the Razorbacks' prized recruit didn't ink a letter of intent alongside his high school teammates.
Running back Alex Collins, rated by Rivals.com as the third-best senior at his position nationally, didn't sign with the Razorbacks on Wednesday after committing to Arkansas earlier this week. Citing sources, ESPN reported Collins' mother confiscated his signing documents prior to a ceremony at his high school in Plantation, Fla. earlier in the day.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema couldn't comment on Collins during his previously scheduled press conference Wednesday, but said his first class for the Razorbacks "could grow by one in the next 24 hours."
The lack of Collins' signature dowsed a strong finish to the recruiting season for Arkansas, including a commitment from Miami offensive lineman Denver Kirkland on national TV earlier Wednesday. Kirkland, rated one of ESPN's top 150 recruits, chose the Razorbacks over offers from Florida State and Miami, among others.
According to recruiting rankings, Arkansas' class was rated toward the bottom of the Southeastern Conference and outside the top 25 nationally.
"I don't look for headlines today," Bielema said. "What I look for is this group to come in and work and build for the future."
Arkansas was able to land all but one of the top in-state recruits - North Little Rock running back Altee Tenpenny, who signed with Alabama. The Razorbacks signed eight players from the state, including junior college linebacker Martrell Spaight, who signed in December.
Three of Arkansas' signees came from Fayetteville High School - quarterback Austin Allen, linebacker Brooks Ellis and safety Alex Brignoni. The Razorbacks were also able to hold onto all-American tight end Hunter Henry from Pulaski Academy, and added signatures from Greenwood receiver Drew Morgan, Osceola safety Korliss Marshall and Forrest City defensive end Tevin Beanum.
The Fayetteville trio and Henry were committed to the previous coaching staff at Arkansas and never wavered in their commitment.
"I think we bought into the university and not a coaching staff," said Allen, the younger brother of current UA quarterback Brandon Allen. "We've been together since elementary school and never had any thoughts of going anywhere else."
Among Arkansas' top out-of-state signees were Honolulu offensive lineman Reeve Koehler and Arvada, Colo. offensive lineman Dan Skipper. Koehler is rated a four-star prospect by Rivals.com.
Bielema had in-home visits with both during an extended trip early on his time recruiting for the Razorbacks, indicating a snapshot of the long and sometime odd days he worked playing catch-up on the recruiting trail.
"I left Honolulu and it was 84 degrees and landed in Denver, where it was minus-8 degrees," Bielema said.
Arkansas signed five junior college players in December. Four are currently enrolled at the university and will go through spring practices beginning March 10.