A year ago, Bret Bielema was arguing about the distinctions between recruiting in the Big Ten compared with the SEC. But he's no longer head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, having left Madison this offseason to take over as the new coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. And with that move, it's fair to say certain areas will have to change in Bielema and his staff's approach to recruiting.
Some things, however, will inevitably stay the same, even as Bielema enters a recruiting realm he once questioned. And he feels prepared.
"We've settled into it," Bielema said in an interview last week. "We have another two weeks of recruiting that will hopefully yield another 10 to 13 prospects. We have a good class built around, but we have strong recruiters on staff. [The staff has] put everything they have in recruiting, knowing that it's the lifeline of everything we do."
Bielema and his staff have already experienced some early successes. Former Tennessee commit and three-star offensive lineman Reeve Koehler (Honolulu, Hawaii/Saint Louis) verbally committed to the program Saturday, and the lines of communication have also been reopened with top talents committed to other programs. Alabama commit Altee Tenpenny (North Little Rock, Ark./North Little Rock), Tennessee commit Dan Skipper (Arvada, Colo./Ralston Valley) , Oklahoma commit Dominique Alexander (Tulsa, Okla./Booker T. Washington) and four-star running back Alex Collins (Plantation, Fla./South Plantation) are all strongly considering the Razorbacks just two weeks before national signing day.
What kind of a recruiting strategy will Bielema and his staff employ at Arkansas? Let's take a look, breaking down the factors that will change as a result of Bielema's move to the SEC, and what about his approach will stay the same.