Bret Bielema began building his offensive line when 4-star recruit Denver Kirkland decided to attend the University of Arkansas on national signing day, as announced on ESPNU.
Kirkland was selected for the Under Armour All-American game this season and he will bring his 6'5", 333-pound frame with him to Fayetteville this fall.
Arkansas’ offensive line struggled this season. They had difficulty protecting quarterback Tyler Wilson, resulting in his injury during Week 2. They also had a tough time creating opportunities and providing protection for running back Knile Davis.
Of all the areas in Arkansas’ game this season that needed the most improvement, the offensive line was one most in need of change. Bringing a 4-star recruit such as Kirkland to a struggling offensive line will go a long way towards helping Bielema build the kind of offense he is known for.
Arkansas’ current roster lists sophomore Mitch Smothers as the only other offensive guard after junior Alvin Bailey decided to forgo his senior year with the Razorbacks and enter the NFL draft. Kirkland will have the opportunity to make an impact for the team and become a key figure on the offensive line in his first season of college football.
Kirkland gets the chance to play as a freshman; Bielema gets to shore up his line and get that much closer to bringing his brand of football to Fayetteville.
It’s a win for the athlete, a win for the coach and, most importantly, a win for Arkansas.