Shoring Up The Mid-Terms

Carroll Washington

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson chats with several Arkansas mid-term commits about their personal visits with new head coach Bret Bielema, their take on his assistant hires and where they stand in the recruiting process.

It appears that the staff being put together by new Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema is winning over some recruits.

Bielema has announced former Wisconsin coach Chris Ash as his defensive coordinator and former Tennessee coaches Jim Chaney and Sam Pittman as his offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, respectively.

The new Razorback grid boss stressed his desire to land a top-notch staff to Arkansas commitment Carroll Washington of Hartnell (CA) Community College on Thursday during a visit to his school.

"My visit with him went great and one of the things that really resonated with me was that he is determined to land a staff that is made up of great teachers," Washington said. "It's one thing to be physical and hit hard, but it's just as important to know where to be to make the play.

"He (Bielema) has a great philosophy about how he wants to do things and he really left me impressed," Washington said. "I was not sure what he was going to be like, but he is fully in control and knows exactly what he wants from everybody and everything regarding his program."

Washington later tweeted that he was taking his talents to Fayetteville and it was official.

Washington is one at least five mid-term graduates that could arrive on campus on before Jan. 11 and be able to go through spring practice.

Arkansas learned Wednesday that list will include Georgia Military College safety Tiquention Coleman (5-11, 190, 4.47), who flipped to the Razorbacks from Wisconsin after previously committing to the Badgers when Bielema was coaching there.

"Coach Bielema is building a great thing at Arkansas and I want to be a part of it," Coleman said. "He is surrounding himself with great coaches and with everything else that Arkansas has to offer, it's going to be something special."

Arkansas and Boise State are the final two teams in the hunt for Weed (CA) College of the Siskiyous linebacker Myke Tavarres (6-2, 223).

Tavarres, who committed to the Razorbacks in July, has visited both places and will host the head coaches next week.

He had Boise State's Chris Petersen in on Wednesday, visited with Bielema on Thursday and will announce a decision on Wednnes Dec. 19.

"I really liked him," Tavarres said. "We had a nice long talk. I think I am gonna decide next Wednesday... I'm blessed to have an opportunity like this."

Arkansas also currently has commits from two junior college offensive linemen in Butler County (KA) Community College's John McClure (6-4, 310) – recently named a first team All-American – and Navarro College's Mitchell Bell (6-4, 320).

Bielema met Sunday with McClure, who has graduated and was cleaning out his dorm room when contacted Thursday.

"He just seemed like a real down to earth normal guy that knows what he wants and I am happy that we have the same mindset," McClure said. "He and his staff want you to finish plays and I think that is one of the things that I do best. I really am excited about the hire."

The hiring of Pittman will also likely pay dividends with a pair of Hawaii high school prospects in offensive lineman Reeve Koehler (6-3, 320) and linebacker Colton Goeas (6-2, 245) of St. Louis High in Honolulu.

Koehler is ranked as the third best prospect in the state by Scout.com and his teammate comes in at fourth.

Pittman called them on Wednesday night for Arkansas even before he had been officially announced as a member of the Razorback staff.

"I love him (Pittman) as a coach and I love him as a recruiter," Koehler told Scout.com "He is probably one of the best you will ever see."

Koehler had narrowed his college choices to five schools including Tennessee, Kansas, Oregon, California and Hawaii before Pittman offered him an Arkansas scholarship on Wednesday night.

He has plans to make his decision at the U.S. Army All-American game on Jan. 5.

Goeas had offers from Oregon, UCLA, Hawaii, Kansas, Arizona State, Washington State and Army before pledging to Tennessee back on July 20.

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