Richard Davenport is a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Analyst: UA’s class bodes well
University of Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema talks about the 22 players who committed to the Razorbacks as he conducts a press conference Wednesday afternoon in Fayetteville.
LITTLE ROCK Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema and his staff put together a good class in a short period of time, national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network said.
The Razorbacks were coming off a tough year that included the firing of former Coach Bobby Petrino and a 4-8 record under interim Coach John L. Smith.
“With all the things Arkansas went through this year, I think it’s an excellent class,” said Lemming, who doesn’t have the Hogs in among top 25 classes nationally. “It bodes well for the future once these guys get a full year under their belt. I think you’re going to hear Arkansas’ name mentioned everywhere because it was kind of a chaotic year.”
The class could get even better.
Five-star running back Alex Collins, 5-11, 210 pounds, 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of South Plantation (Fla.) High School is expected to sign with Arkansas today and would be the Razorbacks’ 23rd signee.
Without Collins, Rivals.com ranks the Hogs’ class No. 31 in the nation. ESPN.com included his commitment and rates the class at No. 31. Scout.com also includes Collins in its rankings and has Arkansas’ class at 34th in the nation.
Arkansas’ class features one four plus-star player, Pulaski Academy’s Hunter Henry, who Lemming rates as the No. 1 tight end in the nation.
“I think landing Hunter Henry and landing some of the big stars at the end is promising for the future,” Lemming said.
The Hogs signed five four-star prospects: offensive linemen Dan Skipper, 6-10, 295, 4.97, of Arvada, (Colo.) Ralston Valley; offensive guard Reeve Koehler, 6-3, 315, 5.1, of Honolulu St. Louis; Denver Kirkland, 6-5, 330, 5.1 seconds in the 40 yard dash, of Miami Washington; quarterback Austin Allen, 6-2, 210, 4.7, of Fayetteville; and linebacker Brooks Ellis, 6-2, 218, 4.7, also of Fayetteville.
Collins would give the Razorbacks their sixth four-star recruit.
The offensive line was major area of need and Lemming was impressed with the signing of Skipper, who had 26 scholarship offers.
“ I think Dan made a good decision,” Lemming said. “He definitely needs a red shirt year and maybe another year after that, but when he comes back he can be a 6-9, 350-pound kid.”
Koehler, who played in the U.S. Army All American Bowl game in early January, also intrigues Lemming.
“He’s one of the two best players in the state,” Lemming said. “I think he’s a guy that could be a quality offensive guard in college. Great feet and an aggressive style of play.”
Lemming said he likes Kirkland’s talents and said he believes the Hogs landed one of the nation’s finest offensive line prospects.
“I love him,” Lemming said. “He’s another wide-body guy When you look at him, he has big shoulders, great straight-ahead speed. I think he’s better served at guard than at tackle.”
Sports, Pages 21 on 02/07/2013