By Otis Kirk
Arkansas has moved sophomore cornerback Jordon Curtis to running back according to Jeff Traylor on Thursday.
Traylor talked about the move as Arkansas prepares to start spring drills in one week on March 1.
“I am excited to start working with Jordon,” Traylor said. “He was a good high school running back and we needed the depth right now. So we moved him over there. I look forward to that.”
Is he is OK, he got hit by a car one night out here?
“He’s back now,” Traylor said. “I often tease him about that at times. He’s a running back and I know he jumped up and had that car miss him so he’s got some experience already.”
Curtis played both ways at Jenks (Okla.) High School. As a senior, he rushed 63 times for 784 yards and a 12.4 yards per carry average and scored nine touchdowns. Caught eight passes for 177 yards and a touchdown as well.
The Hogs were short a running back since junior T.J. Hammonds isn’t working with the team. Traylor said that Chad Morris would likely address that situation on Monday. Morris is slated to meet with the media at 2 p.m. Monday.
The Hogs return the three leading rushers from 2018. Rakeem Boyd led the team with 123 carries for 734 yards and two touchdownswhile also catching 23 passes for 165 yards. Devwah Whaley was second with 82 carries for 368 yards and two touchdowns while grabbing eight passes for 87 yards. Chase Hayden was third with 57 carries for 251 yards and one touchdown while also catching 11 passes for 61 yards.
Traylor talked about the experienced trio he has returning at running back.
“Obviously we’ve got Devwah back and excited about him,” Traylor said. “Unfortunate last year because he had a great offseason. Got the concussion in the Auburn game and he was having a great year to that. Came back and was running like crazy against Ole Miss and had the severe ankle injury and that put him out. It was really unfortunate for him. Got back against Missouri and looked good. One of the few bright spots in that game.
“Then we have Rakeem (Boyd) back of course. I think he was everything we thought he was gonna be. Unfortunately he had the shoulder injury and he’s out right now, but he had a great year. Chase Hayden will be back again for his third year so we feel real good about those three guys all coming back. We’re excited about that.”
What have you seen from them during the offseason?
“Devwah and Chase are looking really good because they are both healthy right now and moving around a lot,” Traylor said. “Rakeem is rehabbing from his shoulder and that’s going fantastic. I think he is hitting that really hard. That’s what those guys have been doing. It’s unfortunate for Rakeem because he’s the one that really needs spring ball. Nothing against him at all because he had a great year it’s just the small things in the spring you really get addressed. Chase and Devwah have done that quite a bit from last spring.”
As far as the running back position, what are the big improvements you are looking for in 2019?
“We’ve got a lot to improve on,” Traylor said. “When you only win two football games it’s pretty obvious that you weren’t very good so we’ve got a lot to get better at.
“In our room it will be consistency. We had too many tackles for losses especially on first down which creates a bad second down and third down. We’ve got to do a better job of that. We’ve got to do a better job of getting to the line of scrimmage, pressing and getting a a good three- or four-yard gain on first down in this league.”
The Hogs will practice Thursday and Saturday next week.