FAYETTEVILLE — Several battles will be on for playing time and a spot in the starting lineup when Arkansas begins spring drills on Thursday, March 9.
The Razorbacks will practice Thursday, Friday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday before taking off for spring break.
Here’s a look at three positions where the competition should be very fierce for both the starting and backup spots.
Gone are Jadon Haselwood, Matt Landers and Ketron Jackson. So the Hogs will have three new starters this season. Bryce Stephens and Jaedon Wilson started alongside Landers in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Stephens has the most receptions of any receiver returning. He caught nine passes for 109 yards and a touchdown in 2022. Wilson had three receptions for 49 yards in 2022. As a true freshman, Isaiah Sategna caught two passes for 10 yards. Those three return and are only ones who have caught passes for the Hogs in a college game. They will be joined by redshirt freshman Sam Mbake, Landon Rogers, walk-on Chris Harris and others this spring. Davion Dozier was the lone high school wide receiver signed. He will arrive in late May or early June. However, the Hogs did add four wide receivers from the transfer portal, including three on scholarship, and they are all enrolled now. Tyrone Broden, Andrew Armstrong and Isaac Te’Slaa along with walk-on Marlon Crockett will all definitely be in the mix to start or play a lot off the bench. This is a new group of wide receivers, but the talent seems to be there.
It appears Beaux Limmer will be the center and that Brady Latham will start. But will Latham stay at left guard or move to tackle? Will Ty’Kieast Crawford be the right tackle? He started at right guard in the bowl game, but was injured during the first drive. True freshman E’Marion Harris stepped in and did an outstanding job at that guard spot. Harris, like Crawford and Latham, can play guard or tackle. Gone are both tackles, Dalton Wagner and Luke Jones, as well as center Ricky Stromberg. So Limmer’s right guard spot is up for grabs as well as right tackle. Latham is a lock to start at guard or tackle. Andrew Chamblee and Devon Manuel are two very talented options at left tackle if Latham remains at guard. Joshua Braun signed with the Hogs at midterm out of the transfer portal from Florida. He is certainly an option to start at one of the guard spots. Arkansas has other options on the offensive line but it seems only two players, Limmer and Latham, are assured of starting so the competition this spring and in the preseason should be very spirited. With Stromberg and Wagner along with Latham and Limmer having started so many years this is the first opportunity for many of these linemen to truly have a legit shot at starting. That should make for fun.
The Hogs are deep at the edge portion of the defensive line. They have Zach Williams, Jashaud Stewart, Landon Jackson and possibly Eric Gregory competing with John Morgan III and Trajan Jeffcoat this spring. Gregory may play inside, but also has vast experience at end. Freshman JJ Hollingsworth and walk-on Jon Hill are others to watch closely. Morgan came over from Pitt while Jeffcoat is former All-SEC player at Missouri. Williams is among the leaders of the returning group. He had 34 tackles, 11 solo, 6.5 for loss, 4.5 sacks and six quarterback hurries in 2022. Jackson, who transferred in from LSU, finished with 23 tackles, nine solo, 3.5 for loss, three sacks, a pass breakups, two quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and blocked a kick. Gregory splitting time at end and inside had 19 tackles, eight solo, four for loss, two sacks and four quarterback hurries. Stewart added 14 tackles, eight unassisted, 2.5 for loss, a pair of sacks, one pass breakup and a quarterback hurry. There’s lots of talent for Deke Adams to work with at the end spots as the Hogs apparently plan to use more four-man fronts.