FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In one of the best signing classes in program history, Arkansas football has inked 24 future Razorbacks to National Letters of Intent for the 2015 season, as announced by head coach Bret Bielema Wednesday.
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.
Highlighting Arkansas’ recruiting class are 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 that routed the Texas Longhorns in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl. The 24 new additions to the 2015 team will look to add upon the Razorbacks’ end of year surge and continue momentum into the fall.
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, UA adds six more prep standouts on defense to six returning starters. The Razorback defense excelled in the 2014 season, ending the slate 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 have ample talent on the offense with 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, California. 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.
Activities surrounding signing day continue with Signing Day in the Rock, presented by First Security, on Feb. 5, in the Wally Allen Ballroom at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with the presentation set to begin at 6:45 p.m. Individual tickets that include reserved seating and a dinner buffet are $65, reserved tables with 10 seats begin are $650. VIP tables are also available. Tickets may be purchased by visiting a Central Arkansas First Security Bank location or online from the Little Rock Razorback Club at lrrazorbackclub.com.
Fans can put a deposit down for 2015 season tickets by visiting ArkansasRazorbacks.com. The 2015 home schedule includes six games in Fayetteville, four against opponents that played in bowl games last season – UTEP, Auburn, Mississippi State and Missouri. Arkansas will also take on Toledo at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
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