Bret Bielema is having a recruiting cycle that is, well, about par for the course.
There certainly are some good players he’s getting commitments from.
Not any great ones, though.
That is why the news Wednesday that wide receiver Jared Cornelius is returning for his senior season was good news. Especially coming a day after center Frank Ragnow said he was coming back.
It won’t reflect in any rankings, but those may have been Bielema’s biggest success.
Remember back in 2008 when Bobby Petrino said he couldn’t land his biggest recruiting targets? He wasn’t talking about high school players. He made a run at getting Darren McFadden and Felix Jones to hang around for their senior year. No luck there.
Cornelius, a 5-11, 212-pound receiver from Shreveport, announced his return with a Twitter post and a link to a letter, titled “Best Time of My Life,” on ArkansasRazorbacks.com:
“My time here at the University of Arkansas has been the best time of my life,” Cornelius wrote. “I’ve grown as a man, a student, and as an athlete. I’ve made relationships that will last a lifetime, and I’ve learned a lot from my experiences here.
“When I made the decision to attend the University of Arkansas, I knew I was signing up to be a part of a family and I wasn’t let down. I’m proud to be a Razorback and I am thankful for the opportunity to attend a great school like the University of Arkansas. The road thus far hasn’t been easy. However, I am thankful for all the ups and downs along the way.
“That being said, I am very excited to say that I will be returning for my senior season.”
Cornelius has 32 catches for 515 yards and 4 touchdowns, 13 carries for 53 yards and 1 touchdown, and 12 punt returns for 85 yards. He ranks fifth on the team with 653 all-purpose yards.
It shouldn’t be surprising that Cornelius will be the Hogs’ top returning receiver. There are hopes for some of the commitments and new guys coming in, but you never know if they will be the playmaker Arkansas needs out wide.
Cornelius wrote that he hopes to lead the Razorbacks “to achieve something that has never been done here before,” a reference to Arkansas shooting for an SEC championship, which has never happened. The Hogs have four first-place division titles, but none in the last 10 years.
Cornelius and Ragnow turned in the paperwork to have their status for the NFL Draft evaluated.
With those two back, at least Bielema has secured what may have been his two biggest targets.