Insiders questions on Bell, Gragg, and O'Grady

Will any of these guys ever play? Are these discipline issues or the fact they are Arkansas kids and just never were pushed based on competition level? Could this be the same with Storey because it sounds like he will be passed by Qb from Louisiana?

I don’t think it’s a discipline problem with any of them. I just don’t think they are on-par with the other players at their position. It’s a little bit like we’re seeing with Dominique Reed. They have potential and can do some things well but are not complete players at their position. One tight end may be able to block but runs poor routes. Or one may be able to catch the ball but has not put things together in the run game.

As for Storey, I don’t think he has been passed by Kelley. He may be in time, but Storey looked like the better all-around quarterback in the preseason, which is what you would expect from a player who has been in the program for 18 months longer.

Every player you mentioned has talent. What some don’t understand is that it takes time to become ready at the college level. For every player it’s different. It may be that they hit their stride as juniors. It’s been that way forever. What I see about Bret Bielema, he won’t put a player on the field until it’s their time. It’s sad when a player gives up before it’s his time. You don’t know when that will be. I do know that I wouldn’t give up on Jamario Bell, C.J. O’Grady or either of those two quarterbacks. They just need to keep toiling, keep straining and keep learning football. I think all are coveted by these coaches. But the good thing about Bret, he won’t give up on them and he won’t stop trying to develop them into SEC players.

Wow. It’s the 5th game of their RS freshman season and you’re wondering if they will ever play. It’s a sign of the times, I guess.

Actually I’m not giving up on any of them, just the opposite I hope they play soon and contribute. I don’t think the level of competition regardless of class in Arkansas comes close to preparing them to play at the D1 level. Not a state with many D1 players per year or high level competition. I hope they are as talented as advertised and it’s just the learning curve. On Gragg he was one of the most decorated HS players out of Arkansas in a while when you consider the offers he had. I have no idea on Storey just know what I read early on about Kelly, and for that matter don’t care who plays but we need a capable backup based on Saturday. I have coached at the HS level in Texas and the level of competition some of the kids I mentioned other than O’Grady was not very good compared to other states. We need more players on the field that is not an argueable topic we need our highest rated recruits on the field.

I have never thought that recruiting ratings mattered as far as who should be on the field. I may not understand your point. Sorry.

I guess my point is they are some of the highest rated players we have recruited as of late. If they were as talented as they were rated it would be nice to see them live up to that potential is all I’m saying. Seems I remember reading on this site that Gragg was offered more scholarships than any other Arkansas HS product in some time, maybe ever. So rankings may not matter as far as who plays but it would be nice to see those highly rated players on the field. When you get very few of those highly rated kids a year misses hurt this program a lot more than teams that consistently sign highly rated players.
Other point is that Arkansas HS football is not blessed with as much talent. Seem like the highly rated kids from Arkansas are not as ready to contribute as possibly a kid from from Ga, Fla, Tx, Ms.

BB says over and over, “you earn everything.” You earn winning, you earn losing, and you earn playing time, or lack of it. Those three haven’t developed, or learned the playbook, or performed in practice, or whatever else it is that earns time on the field. But the opportunity is there for them to do so.

Once you are past a recruit, it does not matter if you are 1 star or 5 star. What matters is what you do. Very simple concept that.

A well coached football team is one of the ultimate
examples of a meritocracy.

What a pity it is so often missing in politics.

Wilburhog is making a true point about Ark HS FB quality being less than some other states. Sadly, the talent is here but small towns won’t relinquish to consolidation, nor will they even consider consolidation of the High Schools while keeping their identity with JR High/Middle Schools.
-Based on some data that is about 5 years old, Ark has over 300 school districts while the state of Georgia has 150ish. Consider the population difference too!
-Please consider that we have very few large classification teams.
-Ark School districts are dominated by too many small classification teams
-Small Classification teams do not field fairly balanced talent that drives good competition.
-View it another way as how many 1500-5000 population towns do we have, AND each school district is limited in curriculum and talent.
-View it another way, I live in Jonesboro with over 70k people and we have 6 school districts (JHS, Nettleton, Valley View, Westside, Bay, and Brookland). The duplication of administration is chewing up funding and resources that could fund better curriculum…but that is a completely different discussion!

Our state has the talent and resources to have better school curriculum and competitive sports; but our school districts tie our hands behind our backs.

I understand both sides of it. I am very aware of the quality education being produced by some of the smaller districts. Norfork comes to mind. It’s tiny, but they are producing top quality candidates for college in big numbers. They should fall under the guidelines to move to a bigger district, but they are producing quality graduates at a rate that may be higher than the big districts around them. That’s the tough part about consolidation. It may be good in some places, but not in others.

I do think the players from the smaller schools are at a disadvantage. They stand out, but their skill level is superior to anyone else on the field most of the time, so it’s hard to judge just how good they are.

Football is different from just about every other sport because there are no travel teams. If you play basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis, golf, etc., you’ll play competitively outside your state’s high school circuit. That doesn’t happen in football. The closest thing is a college camp.

That’s why I think it’s important for players from the smaller schools to get to college ASAP, so they can acclimate themselves to better athleticism. Ty Storey and McTelvin Agim are a couple of examples of players from the small schools in the state who showed up early. We’ll see if it works out for Storey. It appears to have helped Agim.

On Gragg, while he graduated from Dumas, he played better competition for two years while at Pine Bluff. And O’Grady played against the best athletes in the state while at Fayetteville.

Depends on the kid and where he played. Hunter Henry played immediately. Same with Sosa Agim. We had a 5* rated HS corner back recruit from Helena in the past who never did anything. Fayetteville High School has supplied three current starters and impact players in the SEC. Cabot and Bentonville have none. Warren High school regularly turns out SEC & NFL caliber players. There, they have a large black population, strong community support, and great coaching. Unfortunately, they are the exception, not the rule in east and south Arkansas. We are a small state with only 20% African American population (the dominant ethnic group in the NFL, College football, track, etc.) and a lot of small high schools with limited funds and low community support. So, we generate from 4 to 10 SEC caliber recruits a year and they don’t always develop as expected.

These kids (Gragg & O’Grady) were highly recruited (both 4 * players) and a lightly recruited, 3 * player from MS is already playing ahead of them…SOMETHINGS up with Gragg and CHEYENNNE!.. I believe there ARE some discipline/work ethic issues for both of them…as I recall, Cheyenne was very upset about redshirting last year and got suspended for a period of time. Correct me if I’m wrong, and expound if I’m right.

If you have to rely on playing freshmen in the SEC you are in trouble.

Just remember Jeremy Sprinkle as a freshman…what was he 180 lbs? He had to develop, get stronger, gain weight, learn how to block, etc. Now he is developed as a senior and will play in the NFL.

Actually, whether we need our highest-rated recruits on the field is debatable. Ricky Town is one of our highest-rated recruits and he needs to be nowhere near the field.

Austin Cantrell is doing well. He wasn’t very highly rated. We don’t need Gragg on the field in favor of him.

All you star gazers can scoff, but we don’t need Pettway on the field before Drew Morgan.

Look–I get your point. We need the most playmakers on the field. The issue I have with the take is that it assumes some dude in his mom’s basement ranking recruits knows more about the players than the coaches.

In other words, I think we should value players and their actual on-field skills over some subjective ranking system by an amateur.

And, my point, before, was that wondering aloud if they are ever going to play is silly.

They may not ever play. But, it’s just too early too tell and it is too early for hand-wringing bc they aren’t playing a lot, yet.

Our roster and everyone is full of players who didn’t make a dent until their 2nd or 3rd years and became players.

Maybe you didn’t give up on those guys you listed, but asking if they will ever play 4 games into their RS freshman years when we have very good players ahead of them seems odd.

Clay, I noticed you did not include Gragg in the above. Freudian slip or just left out by mistake?

I don’t buy none of this. Neither of our RT are ready and they’re playing. Get these kids in the game and a game like today against Alcorn St is where it should start.

You know, that was my opinion an O’Grady. There was a camp in Texas two years ago (I think an Elite) that he attended. Some of the evaluators said, “He had the best hands they’ve seen since a guy called Megatron”. People have said if he touches it, he will catch it. Move him to a WR position and let him play in the red zone. May not be the fastest, or quickest, but with his size and supposed hands could easily become an AA.