FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas got some good news last Friday, when offensive lineman Frank Ragnow made a verbal commitment to the Razorbacks.
Bret Bielema and the rest of his staff hope the momentum continues this week.
The Razorbacks are wrapping up the final weekend with official visitors on campus, moving into the last leg before Wednesday’s National Signing Day. Coaches are no longer on the road with an NCAA-mandated dead period beginning Monday, but Arkansas is hoping the flurry of recruiting news doesn’t end.
There are 23 prospects that have either signed or made verbal commitments to the Razorbacks as of Saturday night. Arkansas could sign as many as 26 on Wednesday.
Arkansas’ commitment list is currently rated among the lowest in the Southeastern Conference, according to recruiting sites like Rivals.com (No. 32 overall), Scout.com (No. 35) and 247Sports (No. 31). But Ragnow gave Arkansas a boost, becoming one of Arkansas’ highest-rated verbal commitments last Friday.
Ragnow joins a group of offensive linemen that includes junior college signee Sebastian Tretola, St. Louis Christian Brothers College High’s Brian Wallace and Dallas Bishop Dunne High’s Jovan Pruitt. Ragnow is the fourth commitment rated as a four-star prospect, according to Scout.com’s database.
Defensive end Solomon Thomas remains the highest-rated prospect still considering the Razorbacks. The Coppell (Texas) High star took an official visit to Arkansas earlier this month and will announce his decision on signing day. The five-star prospect also is considering Stanford and UCLA.
But there are other prospects still on Arkansas’ radar who will announce their decisions over the next few days. The list includes four-star wide receiver JoJo Robinson, three-star offensive lineman Andrew Mike and three-star linebacker Sharieff Rhaheed. Breeland Speaks, a four-star linebacker, also is wrapping up an official visit to Arkansas even though he made a verbal committed to Ole Miss.
Super Bowl Hog
The Razorbacks will be represented in the Super Bowl for the sixth straight year tonight, when the Seattle Seahawks play the Denver Broncos.
Former Arkansas offensive lineman Alvin Bailey is in his rookie year with the Seahawks. Bailey left the Razorbacks after the 2012 season, but went undrafted last April. He signed with Seattle and has worked as a reserve offensive lineman.
Bailey made a key block on running back Marshawn Lynch’s 40-yard touchdown run in the NFC Championship game two weeks ago. He was working in an offensive package that called for an extra offensive lineman on a handful of snaps.
Bailey, who is from the Broken Arrow, Okla., told The Oklahoman during Super Bowl Media Day last Tuesday he was having "the time of a lifetime."
"I thought I was going to get drafted," Bailey told the Oklahoman. "Things didn’t work out that way. But I made it to the Seahawks, we’re in the Super Bowl now. I don’t regret anything."
Bielema’s Super Ties
Bielema will get a chance to watch several former players in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, linebacker O’Brien Schofield, safety Chris Maragos and Denver running back Montee Ball all played for Bielema at Wisconsin.
Bielema has the most former players playing in the Super Bowl tonight of any current college head coach, according to Arkansas.
Former Arkansas kicker Zach Hocker told Central Arkansas’ "Game On" radio show last week he received an invitation to attend the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine.
Hocker will be one of a handful of kickers working out at the NFL’s largest pre-draft event later this month. The schedule for the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine calls for kickers to arrive on Feb. 19 and work out on the field two days later.
Hocker will join at least three other former Razorbacks at the combine. Center Travis Swanson, defensive end Chris Smith and defensive tackle Robert Thomas also have received invitations. The full list of invitees has not been released.