FAYETTEVILLE - University of Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema announced the program's 2014 Signing Class, consisting of 24 student-athetes, Wednesday in the lobby of the Fred W. Smith Football Center.
Coach Bielema began his remarks to the media by expressing appreciation for others who contributed to the class.
"I have a long list of thanks", Coach Bielema said. "But first, to my staff, I can't say enough. From where we started this adventure a year ago to where we are today, I couldn't be more pleased. I can't say enough to them, all of the hours on the road, the travel, the time away from their families, the work during the bye week when everybody needed a bye week. I can't say thank you enough to those guys. All of them did an outstanding job, especially when we lost a couple of coaches and guys stepped up in a big way, a very selfless attitude. Our coaches' wives too. I've learned that more than anybody. I appreciate our coaches' wives for all they did to sacrifice, all of the recruiting meals, functions, sacrificed time away from their families, their kids. It's big time. Our recruiting staff, our student hosts, recruiting ambassadors, all of the people that helped once we got kids on campus. Our teachers, our professors, our guidance counselors, our academic people. There are so many things that go into the signing day that absolutely don't get enough recognition. And also administration, Jeff Long and Jon Fagg, who I work with all the time, and all of the people over in administration that make it all possible, I can't say enough to."
Coach Bielema also spent time talking about what the staff looked for when filling out this year's class.
"First and foremost, we wanted kids that believe in the family atmosphere, family dynamic, believing in the things that we think once we can get them here, we can work with," Coach Bielema said. "Second point, I think something that is really important is that they've got to love football. If you don't love football, you're probably not going to come to a 3-9 team. You're not going to come and embrace the challenges that that means. That was very, very important to us. We wanted to have a winning culture here. Obviously they've won here in the past and we want to get back in that direction as soon as possible. It's very, very important for us if we could target kids from championship programs. We had 24 guys that signed with us today. Seven of those guys have state championship rings. That to me was really something that we targeted and I think did a nice job of going and getting.
"The last thing is just to embrace everything that it means to come here right now. We're a team that's on the rise in the SEC and we want to be able to make a big transition from a year ago to where we're going this year and if they wanted to be a part of that, that jumped out to you right away."
For the complete 2014 Signing Class, click here.
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