Bielema eyes foundation in first class at Arkansas
Despite the uncertainty, Allen — the younger brother of Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen and son of the program's director of high school relations, Bobby Allen — never wavered in his desire to see the program through the transition. A combined 21-5 record in 2010-11 under Petrino, along with a new football operations facility that is under construction, was security enough.
"We kind of just bought into the program, really," Austin Allen said. "The whole state, the fan base, how much money the athletic department is putting into football, we just kind of put our trust in (athletic director) Jeff Long to make the right decision."
That trust paid off in the form of Bielema, who endeared himself to Allen with his "laid-back" attitude and reputation for developing players. And when Bielema announced the hiring of former Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney to the same position with the Razorbacks, Allen's mind was made up once and for all.
He, Ellis and Brignoni then turned their attention to helping recruit other players to Arkansas — an effort that paid off early with the commitment of Little Rock tight end Hunter Henry, among others.
"We all felt like we were always going to be at Arkansas, so we stayed together," Allen said. "We just worked on the guys all across the state. We all hung out and got along, so it was all fun."
Arkansas received a much-needed recruiting boost late Monday when Florida running back Alex Collins verbally committed to sign with the Razorbacks. Another running back, North Little Rock's Altee Tenpenny, is expected to sign with two-time defending national champion Alabama — though Bielema hasn't given up hope quite yet of keeping all of the state's best at home.
"I really want if anybody can play Division I, SEC-championship level football, we need to keep them in state," Bielema said. "I've done everything in my powers to make sure that happens."
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