FAYETTEVILLE — Bret Bielema knew Arkansas needed as much help as possible following a 3-9 season.
The Razorbacks coach did his best to add to bring in immediate help on Wednesday, announcing a class of 24 signees during national signing day.
The class was highlighted by a heavy dose of offensive linemen and playmakers at wide receiver, and it was the first Bielema — who was hired following the 2012 season — and his staff spent a full year putting together.
Led by four offensive linemen signees, including top Missouri prospect Brian Wallace and Minnesota offensive tackle Frank Ragnow, Arkansas’ class was ranked No. 29 by Rivals and 32nd by Scout.
“We know our players so much better,” Bielema said. “Last year, we were trying to memorize their names ... I think we got a hold on who we wanted in our program. I’m a big believer in it’s not so much their ranking or what their offer list is, but are they right for us and can they play championship football.”
The Razorbacks also signed four wide receivers to help an offense that was last in the Southeastern Conference with an average of 148.5 yards passing per game. One of the few surprises to the day was the signing of Florida wide receiver JoJo Robinson, who was previously committed to Florida State.
“He’s gifted,” Bielema said. “He’s very, very gifted.”
The other receivers included a pair of signees who are already on campus, Jared Cornelius from Shreveport, La., and Cody Hollister from Bend, Ore. Corner back Chris Murphy from Marietta, Ga., was the last early enrollee.
Arkansas was 11th in the SEC in total offense last season, thanks in large part to its struggles on the offensive line. The Razorbacks started two freshmen from Bielema’s first recruiting class — Denver Kirkland and Dan Skipper — on the line for much of the season, and they added players they hope can help quickly on Wednesday.
Both Ragnow and Wallace (6-foot6, 305) earned invites to the Army All-American Bowl, and Wallace chose Arkansas over offers from schools such as Alabama, Missouri and Georgia. Ragnow (6-6, 291) also had offers from Florida State, Ohio State and Wisconsin, among others, and both are expected to see early playing time.
National rankings (Rivals 29; Scout 32).
Best in class: Bijhon Jackson, DT, El Dorado, Ark.
Best of the rest: Kendrick Edwards, WR, Miami, Fla.; Cole Hedlund, K, Argyle, Texas; Frank Ragnow, OT, Chanhassen, Minn.; Brian Wallace, OT, Florissant, Mo.
Late addition: JoJo Robinson, WR, Miami, Fla.
One that got away: Solomon Thomas, DE, Coppell, Texas.
NOTE: “Brian might have been one of our more heavily recruited kids. He’s a very talented young man with nothing but upside in front of him. He has the potential to maybe help us right away.” — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema on offensive tackle Brian Wallace.