Arkansas Football Recruiting: Hogs' Top Priority for National Signing Day

Jacob B.Contributor IIIJanuary 8, 2013

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - DECEMBER 5:  Former Wisconsin Badger Head Coach Bret Bielema speaks during his introduction as the new Head Coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks on December 5, 2012 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

National Signing Day is a month away, and The Arkansas Razorbacks have some positions to fill to get the Bret Bielema era off to the right start.

Bielema is expected to bring a run-first offense to Fayetteville and has come into a program that has been dealt a few blows when it comes to the running back position.

Former star Knile Davis had a tumultuous college career. After a breakout season in 2010 where he was considered a possible Heisman contender, he missed all of the 2011 season due to injury. He never did recover his footing in 2012, and opted to enter the NFL draft as opposed to staying at Arkansas to find it. 

While Davis was struggling to regain his form on the field, senior Dennis Johnson was able to make plays and eventually replaced Davis at the top of the Hogs’ offensive depth chart. Johnson’s graduation leaves freshman Jonathan Williams as Arkansas’ remaining running back with the most game time during 2012.

The Hogs need a running back.

Ideally, the Razorbacks would have liked to have received a verbal commitment from Altee Tenpenny, a running back from North Little Rock, Ark.

Tenpenny gave a verbal commitment to Alabama last January. His father says that he is unlikely to go back on his word.

Arkansas’ highest-ranked recruit according to is five-star running back Alex Collins.

Collins is currently a senior in Plantation, Fla. He has been recruited by several schools including Wisconsin and Miami.

The Hogs have an advantage here because Collins met with Bielema while the new Arkansas coach was still at Wisconsin. It is also likely that new Arkansas wide receivers coach George McDonald met with Collins while McDonald was still at Miami. If that is the case, Arkansas has two coaches on staff that have already developed a relationship with Collins.

Collins would do well to commit to Arkansas. His only competition at the running back position would be Jonathan Williams, Dylan Cruz, Nate Holmes, Donovan Roberts and Kody Walker, all freshmen during the 2012 season. He would be more likely to get playing time, maybe even starting, at Arkansas than at other schools.

Collins would also be guaranteed games against Alabama and LSU. Coming to Arkansas would offer him the opportunity to test his skills against the best competition, something all real athletes strive for. There are not a lot of schools that can guarantee the chance to run against the national champions.

Bielema needs Collins because he needs to set his precedence at Arkansas. Any doubts that fans have about Bielema’s ability to recruit in the south would be dispelled if he is able to bring in a five-star running back in his first two months on the job.

If Bielema is going to be successful in implementing a competent run-first offense in the SEC-West, he can go a long way towards making that goal a reality by making Alex Collins' signature his top priority.