"The Three Musketeers will be somebody you'll hear about for a long time," Bielema predicted as he discussed his first signing class at Arkansas.
Bielema was referring to quarterback Austin Allen, linebacker Brooks Elllis and safety Alex Brignoni, each key members of Fayetteville High's back-to-back 7-A state championship teams of 2011 and 2012.
The three Bulldogs committed to play for Arkansas under scholarship offers from interim head coach John L. Smith and his staff late last summer. Each was aware that the status of their commitments could change once Bielema was named as the Hogs permanent head coach on December 5, 2012.
The situation got a little dicier for them when they did not hear from Bielema during his first couple days on the job.
"When he first called me I was so nervous," Ellis recalled. "It was a little nerve wracking," Allen echoed.
As it turned out none of the three had anything to worry about.
"By NCAA rules I can only go off campus one time to see them," Bielma explained. "So what I did is have them come over. The first time all three of us met in my office. We just sat there an hour, maybe and hour and a half. It was juist really neat to see those kids talk about why they wanted to be here."
"He told us we were great players and ever since then it's been a great relationship with him and I can't wait to continue it for the next four or five years," Allen beamed.
"He just kind of told us his plan he had for us, where we would be in the system and I mean I love the guy," Brignoni added. "His personality is great,"
"I've never signed three kids from the same high school," Bielma revealed. "Had a great chance to go see (FHS) coach (Daryl) Patton a few days ago and sit down with him for about an hour and a half. To hear everybody talk about them the way they did and of course they all three have known each other for a long time."
"Not many people get a chance to continue their playing career with their two best friends," Allen raved. "It's just unheard of honestly."
Allen, Brignoni and Ellis will each monitor spring football at the University of Arkansas which is just down the street from Fayetteville High. They will also enroll in the first semster of summer school in order get started as soon as possible in the Razorbacks summer conditioning program.