By Otis Kirk
Going into the season, it appeared the starting cornerbacks would be Ryan Pulley and Chevin Calloway.
However, Calloway hasn’t played since the Colorado State game due to personal reasons. Then, in the North Texas game, starter Britto Tutt was injured and hasn’t returned. That has forced a pair of redshirt freshmen to get the chance to show what they can do. Montaric Brown and Jarques McClellion have helped solidify the secondary with their improved play.
Chad Morris commented on Brown and McClellion on Monday during his noon press conference.
“I thought Jarques is playing well,” Morris said. “I thought that Buster is playing well. Two young kids that are getting better with reps. And that’s good to see. I think one of them had 40-something reps and the other had 30-something. Somewhere in there. I don’t know exactly the rep count, but I’m pretty close.
“Both of these young men are improving. They’re young and when you play a lot of youth you’re going to make mistakes. But the thing you always look for when you’re playing young players is how do they improve through the course of a game when things go wrong. I think that there’s a lot of good communication that’s happening on the back end with those guys.”
McClellion, who was making his second start in a row, finished the Texas A&M game with four tackles and a pass breakup. Brown added one tackle. For the season, McClellion is eighth on the Arkansas tackle charts with 13. He has three pass breakups as well. Brown has three tackles on the season.
John Chavis is Arkansas’ defensive coordinator. He also commented on the young pair on Monday.
“I don’t know when (Chevin and Tutt) are going to be back, but I will tell you this: every week, they’ve gotten better,” Chavis said of McClellion and Brown. “They’ve gotten better, there’s no question about that. Confidence, maturity, technique and fundamentals, that’s what we’ve got to keep doing. We’ve got a couple of young guys who are starting to show up and that’s exciting. We’re not there yet, but hey, we’re heading in that direction and that’s what’s important.
“Every day, every day, if we can get 1 or 2 percent better then we’re going to keep growing as a football team, and that’s what we’ve got to do. I mentioned the character, these guys are going out there and it’s not easy. It’s not easy going out there and busting your butt and not being able to see the full reward you want. They’ve been great, and that’s what you’re going to expect. Those two young corners are growing. Not where they need to be yet, and that’s OK as long as they keep the attitude they’ve got and bring that every day.”
McClellion comes from a football family. His father, Central, played football at Ohio State. His cousin, Brandon Flowers, has played cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers. McClellion is from Lake Worth (Fla.) American Heritage.
As a senior he helped his high school squad to a 10-3 record. He had 46 tackles and 21 pass breakups. Also caught four touchdown passes on offense. He chose the Hogs over offers from Florida, Louisville, Michigan State, Nebraska and others.
Brown was a four-star recruit at Ashdown. He had three tackles in the U.S. Army All-American Game. As a senior for the Panthers, Brown had 110 tackles and seven interceptions including returning one 71 yards for a touchdown. On offense, he caught 52 passes for 813 yards and seven touchdowns.
He chose Arkansas over Alabama, Oklahoma State, LSU, Oklahoma, Auburn and others.
Morris was once again asked about Calloway’s status on Monday and if he is still a member of the team?
“He’s still on the team, but there’s nothing new to report on him,” Morris said.