Arkansas Football Recruiting: Meet the Razorbacks' 2014 Class

Bryan HeaterCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2014

Arkansas Football Recruiting: Meet the Razorbacks' 2014 Class

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    Head coach Bret Bielema
    Head coach Bret BielemaDanny Johnston/Associated Press

    The day the Arkansas Razorbacks and fans had waited for since the end of a forgettable 2013 season finally came and went. National signing day wasn't a great day for the Hogs, but it was good.

    The Razorbacks and head coach Bret Bielema ended February 5 with 24 commits for the 2014 class. Though it lost out on a few top prospects, Arkansas brought in a nice haul in Bielema's second recruiting cycle. 

    Several of the prospects will have chances to make immediate impacts for a team that needs a lot of help in certain areas on the field. Others will have to improve on their skills and strength before contributing in the SEC.

    With that said, it's time to meet the 24 newest additions to the Razorbacks family, with analysis of what each player is good at and what he will have to work on leading up to the 2014 season.

     

    All recruiting rankings and prospect stats courtesy of 247Sports.com.

DE Anthony Brown

1 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 235 pounds

    Ranking: 2-star, No. 102 DE nationally

    High School: Killian (Miami, Fla.)

    Other Finalists: Mississippi State

    Commit Date: 01/27/14

     

    Defensive end Anthony Brown wasn't a highly touted recruit, but with some coaching, he could work his way into the rotation and become a key contributor. He has a very good frame for his position, but as stated, he has a lot to work on before he sees the field for the Razorbacks. 

    Brown will have to get better at his hand quickness, the point of attack and his first step, which is critical for a defensive end to make an impact at the college level. Former end Jamaal Anderson was also a 2-star recruit coming out of high school, and we all know the huge player he became for the Hogs.

WR Jared Cornelius

2 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 175 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 121 WR nationally

    High School: Evangel Christian Academy (Shreveport, La.) 

    Other Finalists: TCU

    Commit Date: 12/18/13

     

    Wideout Jared Cornelius had a very impressive senior year, hauling in 82 balls for 1,189 yards and 16 touchdowns. Those numbers were down from his junior year, but that is largely due to teams zoning in on him. 

    He isn't a great route-runner and needs to improve on getting more yards after the catch. His best attributes are his hands and change of direction, not to mention he has good speed. However, before he really starts making an impact, he'll have to improve those weaknesses. 

RB Juan Day

3 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 210 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 47 RB nationally

    High School: North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.)

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 01/07/2013

     

    The Razorbacks missed out on North Little Rock back Altee Tenpenny last year, but they were able to get his teammate Juan Day to stay in state. Day isn't as skilled as Tenpenny, but he is talented nonetheless.

    He has good speed, clocking a 4.50 in the 40-yard dash. He is considered to be more of a power back than a guy like Tenpenny, who relies on his elusiveness to gain his yards. With Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, as well as Korliss Marshall, in the backfield, it could be a year or two before Day sees his fair share of carries, but that time will allow him to work on his game and be more prepared when the time comes. 

WR Kendrick Edwards

4 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 205 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 114 WR nationally

    High School: Norland (Miami, Fla.)

    Other Finalists: Rutgers

    Commit Date: 01/27/2014

     

    There's no way to teach size, and wideout Kendrick Edwards definitely has it. He is the biggest receiver the Hogs have had since Marcus Monk was one of the most dangerous deep threats in the SEC. Edwards has good hands and is a capable route-runner. 

    What he gives the Razorbacks is a prime red-zone target and deep threat. His size gives him the potential to be a great wideout, but for that to happen, he'll have to make some major improvements to his game. Still, he adds depth to the receiving corps and provides Arkansas with a raw prospect who could become a dangerous player in the future.

LB Dwayne Eugene

5 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 222 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 117 S nationally

    High School: Archbishop Rummel (Metairie, La.)

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 07/20/2013

     

    Dwayne Eugene played safety in high school, but the Razorbacks will use him as a linebacker at the next level. He will have a lot to learn with the position switch, but something coaches won't have to worry about is his tackling. He is an elite tackler, which the Hogs need desperately.

    One of the biggest problems for the defense in 2013, particularly the linebackers, was tackling, and Eugene has no problems with that. His time as a safety should also allow him to excel in coverage. He was one of the most solid locks for Arkansas leading up to signing day. 

CB Cornelius Floyd

6 of 24

    CB Cornelius Floyd
    CB Cornelius FloydCredit: 247Sports

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 190 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 132 WR nationally

    High School: Gulliver Prep (Miami, Fla.)

    Other Finalists: Virginia

    Commit Date: 01/27/2014

     

    Like Eugene, Cornelius Floyd will be making a position change in college. A wide receiver in high school, he will move him to cornerback at Arkansas. Another huge problem last year for the Hogs was the secondary, and Floyd could end up being a huge pickup for the unit in the future. 

    The best part of his game as a receiver was his ball skills, which should help the defense when he's making plays on the ball against opposing wideouts. With some work this offseason, he could make an impact as a freshman.

LB Khalia Hackett

7 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 205 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 94 S nationally

    High School: South Paulding (Douglasville, Ga.)

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 07/29/2013

     

    Yet another prospect who will be making the transition to another position is former safety Khalia Hackett. He will be switching to linebacker, where the Hogs hope he will shore up a weak unit. Because he played in the secondary in high school, he should be able to excel in pass-coverage situations. 

    He does have to add a lot of muscle so he can hold his own against the SEC's best backs and shed blocks. He has good instincts and is also a good tackler, though he can stand to get better at both. If Hackett struggles with the switch, Bielema has the option to put him back at safety, but that should be a last resort.

DE Jake Hall

8 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 235 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 49 strong-side DE nationally

    High School: Springdale Har-Ber (Springdale, Ark.)

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 10/27/2013

     

    Arkansas lost a number of defensive linemen to graduation, and Jake Hall will look to eventually work his way into the rotation. He has great size and never quits on a play. What he brings to the table is a hard work ethic, which is underestimated when it comes to recruiting. He uses his hands well to get past blockers and is good in pursuit of the ball.

    Hall's work ethic has made up for his lack of athleticism. He's not the fastest guy and must develop a better first step off the snap, but you'll never have to worry about him taking plays off. He is one of the more underrated prospects in this class and could become a key player for the Hogs down the road.

K Cole Hedlund

9 of 24

    Height/Weight: 5'10", 170 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 2 K nationally

    High School: Argyle (Argyle, Texas)

    Other Finalists: Texas A&M

    Commit Date: 02/05/2014

     

    One of the best kickers in the nation, Cole Hedlund picked the Hogs on signing day and will replace the departed Zach Hocker. A kicker is never a sexy commit, but make no doubt, he will be a fixture in the kicking game for the next four years. 

    Hedlund has a strong leg and racked up numerous accolades after his senior year, including being named a first-team All-American by USA Today and MaxPreps, as well as a Parade All-American. 

WR Cody Hollister

10 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 205 pounds

    Ranking: 2-star, No. 27 JUCO WR

    High School: Mountain View (Bend, Ore.)/Arizona Western CC (Yuma, Ariz.)

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 12/16/2013

     

    Wideout Cody Hollister could quite possibly be the most underrated prospect in the 2014 class. He redshirted his first year in the JUCO ranks, so he will have three years to play for the Hogs. What stands out the most about him is his size, though much of his game is raw and needs coaching. 

    He isn't a speedster, but he uses his route-running skills to get open and also has good ball skills. He is going to have to get much better in changing direction and getting yards after the catch, but don't be surprised if you see him making contributions in 2014, despite his low ranking.

DT Bijhon Jackson

11 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'1.75", 334 pounds

    Ranking: 4-star, No. 81 player nationally, No. 5 DT, No. 1 prospect in Arkansas

    High School: El Dorado (El Dorado, Ark.)

    Other Finalists: None

    Commit Date: 12/20/2012

     

    Defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson committed to Arkansas in 2012 and never wavered on his pledge. He is the top recruit in this class and has the skills to step on the field as a freshman and make an immediate impact. The weakest part of his game is at the point of attack, though he's good at it.

    Jackson has a never-ending motor, and what make him so good are his explosiveness and first step. He consistently blew by offensive linemen with his superior strength in high school on his way to making plays in the backfield. He also has quick hands and is a great athlete for a guy his size. 

    You can expect to see him as a key player in the rotation and possibly a starter in his first year. 

TE Jack Kraus

12 of 24

    TE Jack Kraus
    TE Jack KrausCredit: 247Sports

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 240 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 47 TE nationally

    High School: Bentonville (Bentonville, Ark.)

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 04/01/2013

     

    The Hogs signed just one tight end in Jack Kraus for the 2014 class. His size is one of the most obvious pluses for Kraus, and he has soft hands. However, he has a ton of things he'll have to make major improvements to if he wants to be an impact player for Arkansas in the passing game.

    Great tight ends take advantage of mismatches in coverage, something Kraus is not good at. He has the size to create a lot of mismatches against linebackers, but he has to learn how to use it to his advantage. He also has to expand his catch radius, which is the distance that a receiver can stretch for the ball. He'll also want to get better at his route running, as he is not a great athlete and doesn't have outstanding speed.  

S Joshua Liddell

13 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 193 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 98 S nationally

    High School: Dollarway (White Hall, Ark.)

    Other Finalists: Arkansas State

    Commit Date: 01/25/2014

     

    Arkansas loaded up on defensive backs in the 2014 class and flipped safety Joshua Liddell late in the recruiting process. He had been committed to Arkansas State, but when the Hogs offered on Jan. 16, he changed his mind just nine days later. 

    He has very good instincts and playmaking ability, and his size is a positive. His most glaring weaknesses are his tackling and ball skills, both of which he must improve. Liddell also isn't a speedster, so improving upon those weaknesses will be critical if he plans to be an impact player for the Razorbacks during his collegiate career.

CB Chris Murphy

14 of 24

    CB Chris Murphy
    CB Chris MurphyCredit: 247Sports

    Height/Weight: 5'10", 178 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 42 CB nationally

    High School: Lassiter (Kennesaw, Ga.) 

    Other Finalists: Missouri, Washington State

    Commit Date: 07/14/2013

     

    Cornerback Chris Murphy chose the Hogs early in the process and could see the field his freshman year. He is good in all aspects of the position, including his ball skills, recovery speed, change of direction and tackling. His best skill is his reactive quickness, one of the most important skills for a cornerback. 

    Murphy's ball skills are not up to par with starting defensive backs in the SEC. It's the most suspect part of his game, but it's nothing a little coaching and practice can't help. He is a highly rated 3-star prospect with the potential to play a big role early on in his career.

QB Rafe Peavey

15 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 212 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 19 pro-style QB nationally

    High School: Bolivar (Bolivar, Mo.)

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 06/11/2012

     

    The first commitment for the 2014 class came all the way back in the summer of 2012 when quarterback Rafe Peavey chose Arkansas. He could prove to be the most important recruit in the class because of the Hogs' troubles at the quarterback position. 

    He isn't the tallest guy, and his arm strength doesn't wow you, but he has a sound pocket presence. Maybe more importantly, he is accurate with his throws, which Brandon Allen struggled with all season. Peavy's footwork is also good, as is his release. 

    Though Allen did get better late in the season, the Hogs have to find a quarterback who is going to make good decisions and plays with his arm. This offseason, Peavey will battle Allen for the starting job. Don't be surprised if the freshman ends up getting the nod against Auburn in the season opener.

OT Jovan Pruitt

16 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 290 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 346 player nationally, No. 29 OT

    High School: Bishop Dunne Catholic (Dallas, Texas)

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 07/19/2013

     

    Though Jovan Pruitt is rated just a 3-star recruit, he has the potential to be an All-SEC offensive tackle and possibly an All-American with Sam Pittman coaching him on the O-line. Pruitt has that thing you can't teach: size. He dominated opponents in high school with his strength, athleticism and quickness.

    He is very quick for a man his size and has great feet. Oddly enough, that hasn't correlated into him being a great run-blocker. While he isn't terrible at it, he needs to get better at his punch off the snap and staying on his blocks after. He is a better pass-blocker; with some work with Pittman, he could become elite.

    Keep an eye on Pruitt this offseason. 

OT Frank Ragnow

17 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 291 pounds

    Ranking: 4-star, No. 311 player nationally, No. 24 OT

    High School: Chanhassen (Chanhassen, Minn.)

    Other Finalists: Florida State, Minnesota

    Commit Date: 01/31/2014

     

    Offensive tackle Frank Ragnow was one of the biggest steals in this class. Many thought he would stay in state and play for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, but he chose to go down south and play for the Razorbacks

    His frame fits what you'd expect to see in a lineman on a Bielema-coached team. He has very good footwork to go along with good body quickness. Like Pruitt, Ragnow is a better pass-blocker than run-blocker. He also needs to improve his punch off the snap.

    He has the skills to crack into the rotation in his first season.

S Santos Ramirez

18 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 180 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 70 S nationally

    High School: Evangel Christian Academy (Shreveport, La.)

    Other Finalists: Baylor, LSU

    Commit Date: 11/11/2013

     

    Safety Santos Ramirez is another good addition to the secondary for the Hogs in the 2014 class. He picked Arkansas, despite many believing he was going to LSU. He has prime size for a safety and a great frame. Beyond those two things, though, his game needs a lot of fine-tuning.

    Ramirez doesn't have blazing speed, which isn't unusual for a safety, but his instincts are not good enough right now for him to be an impact player. He also needs to improve his playmaking abilities, ball skills and tackling if he plans on being a starter in the nation's best conference. He is a good athlete and has the potential to be a very good player for Arkansas.

LB Randy Ramsey

19 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 210 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 101 S nationally

    High School: Dillard (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

    Other Finalists: Kentucky

    Commit Date: 01/26/14

     

    Randy Ramsey is another in a line of recruits who will switch positions at the college level. A safety in high school, he will be moving to linebacker at Arkansas. Coaches will hope that he can be successful in the transition and help at a position that is looking for life.

    He can make plays from sideline to sideline and is good in coverage. Ramsey also has good closing speed, which will help him against both the pass and run. It hurts that he's not a great tackler because that has plagued Arkansas in 2013, but he has an offseason to work on it and learn the position.

    Ramsey has good athleticism and could end up being a diamond in the rough for this class.

WR JoJo Robinson

20 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 183 pounds

    Ranking: 4-star, No. 258 player nationally, No. 22 ATH 

    High School: Northwestern (Miami, Fla.)

    Other Finalists: Florida State

    Commit Date: 02/05/2014

     

    Another huge steal on signing day was JoJo Robinson, who had been considered a soft verbal to Florida State since 2012. Even though he had been committed to Florida State, all of the experts on his Crystal Ball Predictions predicted he would call the Hogs.

    He will be a receiver for Arkansas, although Bielema will look to get him the ball in numerous ways because of his natural playmaking abilities. 

    He is a lot like former wideout Joe Adams, who could turn what appeared to be a loss into a huge gain. Robinson is fast, has great hands and is versatile in how he can contribute to the offense. He's an explosive player and gives the Hogs their first real dynamic playmaker since Adams. 

    Expect to see Robinson on the field a lot his freshman year.

CB Henre' Toliver

21 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 165 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 34 CB nationally

    High School: Archbishop Rummel

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 07/20/2013

     

    The highest-rated defensive back in the 2014 class for Arkansas is Henre' Toliver, who was right on the border of being a 4-star recruit. He is the most college-ready secondary recruit in this class and could be an All-SEC player with some work. His length works greatly in his favor in coverage, as does his reactive quickness when making plays on the ball.

    There are no real glaring weaknesses in his game. What he can improve are his tackling, change of direction and recovery speed. He makes up for a lot of that with his instincts and pure ball-hawking skills. He is a 3-star by 247Sports' Composite rankings but is a 4-star in the 247Sports rankings. 

    He could make the biggest impact out of any freshman defensive back in 2014.

OT Sebastian Tretola

22 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 315 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 58 JUCO player nationally, No. 10 OT

    High School: Cajon (San Bernardino, Cali.)/Nevada Wolfpack/Iowa Western C.C.

    Other Finalists: Iowa, Oklahoma

    Commit Date: 12/18/2013

     

    Another borderline 4-star recruit for the Hogs is offensive tackle Sebastian Tretola, who originally started four games for Nevada in 2012 before playing a year in the JUCO ranks with Iowa Western. With Pittman on their side, the Razorbacks are reeling in big-time O-line prospects, and Tretola is another guy who could be an All-SEC performer.

    His punch off the line is something fierce and often knocks opposing players back a few steps. He's a good run and pass-blocker but can still get better at both. Tretola has to work on his footwork and quickness the most. If he makes strides in those areas, he will be an important part of the rotation next season.

    Tretola, like Toliver, was also a 4-star prospect in the regular 247Sports player rankings.

OT Brian Wallace

23 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 305 pounds

    Ranking: 4-star, No. 90 player nationally, No. 8 OT, No. 1 player in Missouri

    High School: Christian Brothers College (St. Louis, Mo.)

    Other Finalists: Alabama

    Commit Date: 01/04/2014

     

    The Razorbacks loaded up on offensive tackles, and the highest rated out of them all is Brian Wallace. He chose the Hogs over Alabama at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which displays the nation's top talents. It was a huge recruiting win for Arkansas over a Crimson Tide program that regularly signs the country's best players.

    Wallace excels in just about every aspect on the O-line. From his run and pass blocking to his footwork and quickness, he is a prime athlete who gives Arkansas a potential All-American candidate. Of course he can improve in all areas, but he's about as college-ready as any athlete gets. 

    He's another freshman to keep an eye on during spring practices and leading up to the 2014 season. Wallace could be a starter in his first year.

DT Armon Watts

24 of 24

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 260 pounds

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 50 DT nationally

    High School: Christian Brothers College (St. Louis, Mo.)

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 08/09/2013

     

    Coming to Fayetteville with Wallace is teammate Armon Watts, a defensive tackle with a lot of upside. Once again, he is a guy with great size, which is an unteachable quality. He has a very good motor, and his strength allowed him to get by linemen and make plays in the backfield. Despite regularly being double-teamed, he still recorded 14.5 tackles for loss and five sacks as a senior last year. 

    Defensive linemen are becoming more and more athletic, and Watts has lots of athleticism. His explosiveness is also a plus, but he has flaws just like any other recruit out there. He relied on his strength a lot in high school, something he can't do in college. He'll need to improve his hand quickness and work on his first step. He's another player to watch leading up to the 2014 season.

     

    Bryan Heater is the featured columnist for the Arkansas Razorback on Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @BHeaterRivals.