Two games are all that remain on the Arkansas Razorbacks' schedule in 2013. That's probably a good thing, because it has been a very tough year for Bret Bielema in his first season as the Hogs' head coach.
Arkansas is still a long way off from where Bielema wants the program to be. With three different coaches in the last year and eight months, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the Hogs are struggling as much as they are.
When Bielema took the job, he knew it was going to be a rebuilding situation. It might be even tougher than he thought.
At this point in the year, it is obvious that Arkansas needs to improve vastly in many areas during the offseason. Bielema is going to accomplish that mainly with returning players and through recruiting.
So far, the Razorbacks have 17 commitments in the 2014 class, including three 4-star prospects (via 247 Sports). There are some very talented players on board, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in the next two months leading up to national signing day.
Here's a breakdown of the Hogs' best catches so far, as well as their needs going forward and the most important targets remaining on the board.
Where do the Hogs not need help?
The defensive line is losing two starters after this year. And though there are quite a few young players, Arkansas needs to add a few more guys. That is especially true at linebacker, which was inexperienced this year and will be next season, too.
You can go ahead and throw the secondary in there also.
Offensively, it's looking more and more as if the Razorbacks are going to need a quarterback, as Brandon Allen hasn't shown that he can be the guy. The O-line has a solid foundation, but it never hurts to add more depth. The running back position is set for the future. However, Arkansas needs playmakers at wideout.
Most Important Commits
Rankings, data courtesy of 247 Sports.
With Byran Jones graduating, there will be a defensive line spot up for grabs.
There are a few guys already on the team who will compete for that spot, but don't be surprised if El Dorado High School commit Bijhon Jackson comes in and immediately starts.
His motor is never-ending, and he recently was chosen to play in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American game. He's a force on the inside and has great athleticism for a guy over 330 pounds. He's been a solid commit since the end of 2012.
Arkansas also got an early big-time pickup in quarterback Rafe Peavey in the summer of 2012. Though he doesn't possess elite arm strength, he makes up for it with his footwork, accuracy and pocket presence. He should be Allen's top challenger for the starting nod next year.
The Razorbacks need as much help as they can get in the secondary. Cornerback Henre' Toliver should be of service early in his career. He has good ball-hawking skills, and maybe more importantly in the SEC, he's a speedster.
Arkansas might have struck gold with offensive lineman Jovan Pruitt, who has the typical size and strength you would expect in a Bielema-coached lineman. He will be another key building piece on the unit.
Most Important Targets
Rankings, data courtesy of 247 Sports
Though Arkansas has acquired some key pieces for the future already, there is still much to be done over the next few months.
The biggest remaining target is defensive tackle Josh Frazier, who plays right down the street from the Hogs at Springdale Har-Ber. Like Jackson, Frazier is a force in the middle and would be a huge pickup. He and Jackson would give the Hogs a nice one-two punch on the inside in the years to come.
And speaking of a one-two punch, fellow defensive tackle Craig Evans would more than solidify the interior. Though he's committed to Wisconsin, Bielema and his staff were the ones who turned him on there in the first place and are on his tail. His recruitment is far from over. It should come down to the Hogs and Badgers.
Sticking with the defensive side, former Arkansas running back Ronnie Wingo's little brother Raymond Wingo has seen his recruitment pick up significantly. He went to the campus several times while his brother was on the Hill, and the Razorbacks appear to be in good shape with the cornerback heading into the home stretch.
On the offensive side, the biggest target is lineman Brian Wallace. He is a mammoth of a man and would fit Bielema's scheme to a T.
If Bielema and his staff can close out strong and snag some of the remaining targets, this could turn out to be a very nice class.