Hog football program says 2015 recruiting class ‘one of the best’ in UA history
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Officials with the University of Arkansas football program say the 2015 recruits are “one of the best signing classes in program history. The program has signed 24 future Razorbacks to National Letters of Intent for the 2015 season, according to Head Coach Bret Bielema.
In his third recruiting class at the helm, Bielema and the Arkansas football staff’s 2015 signing class checks in at No. 21 on the ESPN team rankings. The rank marks the first time since 2011 that the Razorbacks have put together a top 25 class, according to a UA statement.
Arkansas’ recruiting class has seven four-star recruits according to 247Sports, the most in program history. The 2015 class also dipped into Florida, picking-up five recruits from the Sunshine State. It is the second most, behind last year’s six, since the Razorbacks joined the Southeastern Conference.
The Natural State is also well represented as the Razorbacks carry 10 Arkansas natives on the signing day roster, including eight of the top 10. Texas touts three signees while Louisiana is represented with two. The furthest new Razorback, Hjalte Froholdt, hails from Svendborg, Denmark by way of IMG Academy (Fla.).
Arkansas returns 15 starters from last year’s squad.
The Razorback trenches will see plenty of depth in the 2015 season as the team welcomes four offensive and five defensive lineman to the mix. In the 2014 season, the Arkansas offensive line blocked for running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, who were the only FBS teammates to each rush for 1,000-plus yards in the 2014 season, while protecting quarterback Brandon Allen to lead the SEC with 14 sacks allowed.
In addition to the five defensive lineman, the program adds six more prep standouts on defense to six returning starters. The Razorback defense ended the 2014 season as the 10th ranked defense in both total and scoring measures. It was the first time a Razorback defense finished in the top 10 in either category since joining the Southeastern Conference in 1992.
Newly-appointed offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dan Enos will see the addition of eight new offensive threats. Three tight ends, three wide outs, one quarterback and one running back will look to propel the Razorbacks to the top of the SEC standings. In 2014, the Arkansas offense was highlighted by the back field duo of Collins and Williams who each eclipsed the 1,000 rushing yards mark. Collins (12) and Williams (12) also became the first Arkansas running back pair to collect 10-plus rushing touchdowns since Darren McFadden (16) and Felix Jones (11) in 2007.
According to 247Sports, the Razorbacks’ tight end fleet ranks as the top in the nation. Arkansas touts the No. 2 tight end in C.J. O’Grady (Fayetteville, Ark. / Fayetteville HS), sixth-ranked Will Gragg (Dumas, Ark. / Dumas HS) and No. 7 Austin Cantrell (Roland, Okla. / Roland HS).
Arkansas’ special teams will also see a boost from three-star punter Blake Johnson of Long Beach, Calif. At Los Alamitos High School, Johnson blasted a 70-yard punt as a sophomore and was one of two punters selected to play in the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.