Bret Bielema intent on recruiting state of Texas
I can only imagine the smile that filled Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema’s face when the second-year CEO found out his team was matched up with Texas in its bowl game.
The Dec. 29 Texas Bowl between the Razorbacks and Longhorns in Houston won’t lack storylines.
Two old Southwest Conference rivals renewing the hate. Two 6-6 teams trying to garner momentum for 2015, while proving on the national stage — the stage usually reserved for ESPN’s Monday Night Football — that their programs are taking the right step.
Perhaps, even more than that, however, is the battle for recruiting.
It’s no secret Bielema longs to recruit the state of Texas well; he calls Lone Star natives “Tex Hogs.” The Arkansas roster is filled with 19 players from Texas and, based on the current slate of verbal commitments, the 2015 class will include at least two Texans.
When the Hogs travel to Houston, it will be their third game in the state of Texas this season. Arkansas played Texas Tech in Lubbock and Texas A&M in Arlington in September. Those games were scheduled before Bielema arrived, but do coincide with Bielema’s priorities to raid Texas.
Arkansas has also scheduled a home-and-home series with old Southwest Conference foe TCU beginning in 2016.
“We use that a lot in recruiting,” Bielema said. “It’s a big deal to kids in the state of Texas to be able to come home and do that. We call them our Tex Hogs. We want to continue to expand that.”
By 2021, Arkansas will have played Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Texas and TCU in Fayetteville.
With the Hogs having already played games in West Texas, the Dallas-Fort-Worth Metroplex and now in Houston, Bielema said it’s huge for his program, especially targeting Houston prospects.
“For me, I don’t think it could be any better. It has a great time slot, exposure,” Bielema said. “You can have high coaches and recruits over to your practices, so for us to be live on some Houston kids right now is huge.”