Arkansas Razorbacks' 2014 National Signing Day Wish List
As kids, we all had wish lists for Christmas, birthdays, etc., which contained everything we wanted for the occasions. Whether it was video games, a bike or a huge dollhouse, we hoped and prayed that we'd get everything we wrote down on our lists.
The Arkansas Razorbacks also have a wish list, but it's not for toys.
National signing day 2014 on February 5 is almost here, and the the Hogs' wish list includes prospects they've been chasing to try and get their verbal pledges to the program.
Head coach Bret Bielema has 20 commitments for the 2014 class, but there are a number of recruits the Razorbacks are still hoping they land. Here, we take a look at Arkansas' national signing day wish list for 2014. These players would put an exclamation mark on an already respectable class for the Hogs.
WR Kendrick Edwards
Wide receiver is a big need for Arkansas and, as a result, the Hogs have four already on board. There's room for another wideout and the top target is Kendrick Edwards.
Hailing from Miami, Edwards has a long offer sheet from 15 programs, but his top two appear to be Arkansas and Rutgers. He made his official visit to Rutgers on Dec. 6 and is scheduled for Arkansas on Jan. 24.
At 6'6", 205 pounds, Edwards is a handful for corners to cover. Defensive backs are typically not very tall, making it very hard to cover a guy with Edwards' size. He's not the fastest wideout, but he has very good hands and can make catches that other receivers can't. His size would give the Razorbacks a prime target in the red zone, something they didn't have in 2013.
The Hogs are going to do everything they can to impress Edwards enough on his visit to seal the deal.
CB Cornelius Floyd
The secondary gave up a lot of yards through the air and big plays last season. Though Arkansas returns three of four starters for 2014, there's tons of work that has to be done and signing more defensive backs is a top priority.
There are two cornerbacks who have committed and the Hogs are hoping a third comes from Cornelius Floyd of Miami. He was listed at 161 pounds after his junior year, but he has added a good bit of muscle since and is now listed at 190.
Floyd has good speed, clocking a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash, and he is also good in man coverage. Arkansas' secondary had issues all year in man coverage, often having trouble staying with opposing receivers and getting beat off the snap. Floyd is the type of corner Bielema wants to have a secondary full of, and by that I mean guys who are going to play receivers up close and physical and minimize big plays.
Floyd's official visit was this weekend and both of his parents accompanied him according to HawgSports.com's Big Red Board.
DE Demetrius Jackson
It was great news when defensive end Trey Flowers announced he would return for his senior year, but Chris Smith, the team's top pass-rusher in 2013, is gone, and Bielema is looking for someone to step up in his place.
Brandon Lewis was listed behind Smith on the two-deep depth chart, but that doesn't guarantee him the spot. If the Hogs can flip 4-star Miami commit Demetrius Jackson, he could very well start as a freshman.
Jackson briefly decommitted from the Canes on Dec. 9 before recommitting the same day. Though his pledge is with Miami, Jackson's cousin Denver Kirkland, who was a starter in his first year, plays for the Hogs and the staff is hot on his trail. Richard Davenport of WholeHogSports.com wrote in Nov. that Kirkland was talking to him daily and trying to persuade him to play in Fayetteville.
Jackson needs to bulk up (6'4", 220 pounds), but he possesses a quick burst off the line. His quickness makes it hard for offensive linemen to block him and keep him from getting to the quarterback. He doesn't have an official visit set for Arkansas, but it wouldn't be a huge surprise if he called the Hogs on Feb. 5.
OT Andrew Mike
Offensive line coach Sam Pittman has made a big impact in recruiting. The nation's top offensive linemen are being reeled in by the Hogs, in large part by Pittman. Recently 4-star lineman Brian Wallace chose Arkansas over Alabama, giving the Hogs three for the position in the '14 class.
Another lineman Pittman would love to work with is 4-star tackle Andrew Mike. His 6'7", 270-pound frame is something you can't teach. Mike is a good run blocker, but Pittman will have to work with him on pass blocking and footwork. He isn't the most athletic guy, so improving upon those things will be critical in his progression.
He was part of a group that visited this weekend, however, he visits Florida next weekend. Arkansas is hoping it makes a bigger impression on Mike than the Gators.
OT Frank Ragnow
Another lineman Pittman and the Hogs are holding out hope for is 4-star Victoria, Minn., tackle Frank Ragnow.
Ragnow's stock has shot up over the last few months and Davenport reported that his visit on Nov. 2 was "awesome." He's 6'6", 291 pounds of muscle and strength, bulling over D-linemen. His footwork is much better than Mike's, and he is also a better pass-blocker.
Still, the feeling is that Ragnow will opt to either stay home and play for Minnesota or go to Florida State. With Pittman on the Hogs' side though, there's still a chance he could be a Razorback.
LB Randy Ramsey
The biggest need on defense is linebackers. Arkansas has two commitments in Khalia Hackett and Dwayne Eugene (both of whom are switching from safety to linebacker in college) and are looking to add at least one more, preferably two.
One of the remaining targets is 3-star Randy Ramsey from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. According to his profile on 247Sports.com, Ramsey's top three are Arkansas, Kentucky and N.C. State. The Crystal Ball Predictions all have him picking the Wolfpack, but the Hogs have a chance to impress him when he makes his official visit on Jan. 24, while Kentucky gets the last crack at him on Jan. 31.
Ramsey has good speed for a linebacker, and his time as a safety should allow him to excel in coverage. The Hogs have set themselves up to be right there when he announces his destination.
DE Rashawn Shaw
Just about every prospect on this wish list is from Florida and this one is no different. Three-star defensive end Rashawn Shaw has been committed to Louisville since June, but with Charlie Strong gone, he is reevaluating his options according to Dudley Dawson (subscription required) of HawgsIllustrated.com.
At 6'3", 228 pounds, Shaw will have to put on some weight, which is the case for a lot of recruits coming out of high school. Like Jackson, Shaw has a quick burst off the line and uses his hands very well to get around linemen. He has tons of potential, and with some coaching, he could become a fixture on the Arkansas D-line.
He is scheduled to make his official visit to The Hill on Jan. 24, so keep an eye on Shaw leading up to Feb. 5. If he commits to the Hogs, teammate and linebacker Sharieff Rhaheed could also join him.
DE Solomon Thomas
One of the highest recruits on Arkansas' wish list is 4-star Coppell, Texas defensive end Solomon Thomas.
Thomas has a great frame at 6'2", 258 pounds and is very advanced for someone who hasn't even graduated high school. He is exceptional from the point of attack and with his hands. Thomas can improve on his first step and when he's in pursuit, but make no mistake, his services are highly sought after by the Razorbacks.
He's taking his time with his decision and will finish his official visits with Arkansas on Jan. 24, followed by Ohio State on Jan. 31. His decision is going to go up to signing day and the Hogs have to be happy they are still right there. It should also be noted that according to HawgSports.com's Big Red Board, Thomas' father does business in the Fayetteville area, and he has a sister who attends Arkansas.
LB Zack Wary
If the Hogs can get any linebacker remaining on the board, Natural State native Zack Wary is that guy.
Arkansas is considered to be the overwhelming favorite to land the 4-star linebacker according to his profile, and he already made his official visit to the Hogs on Dec. 13. He is big and strong (6'4", 215 pounds), not to mention he has great speed, clocking a 4.44 in the 40-yard dash. Wary is also a good tackler, something the Razorbacks didn't have much of, and he possesses great instincts.
It would be a surprise if he opted to leave the state, but you just never know with recruits.
LB Kenny Young
Last, but certainly not least, on the Razorbacks' wish list for signing day is 4-star linebacker Kenny Young from New Orleans. He's one of the top linebacker prospects in the country and has a top three that includes the Hogs, UCLA and Texas A&M.
Young's best skills are his tackling, ability to play from sideline to sideline and instincts. What he has to improve on at the next level is his reaction time and play in space, neither of which he is bad at. As stated, Arkansas is in desperate need of play makers at the position, and Young has the skills to step in and provide immediate help.
His official visit to Fayetteville was scheduled for Jan. 19, and he follows that with visits to Oklahoma State (Jan. 24), LSU (Jan. 27) and UCLA (Jan. 31). The Bruins are listed as the favorites, but Arkansas is hoping his visit to the Hogs sticks out the most.
Bryan Heater is the featured columnist for the Arkansas Razorbacks on Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @BHeaterRivals.