FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas returns an experienced group of wide receivers and the hope is they can shine in Kendal Briles’ offense.
Junior Mike Woods returns after catching 33 passes, tied for the team lead with Cheyenne O’Grady, for 423 yards and four touchdowns. Treylon Burks and Trey Knox were outstanding as true freshmen. Burks caught 29 passes for 475 yards, tops on team, and Knox hauled in 28 passes for 385 yards and three touchdowns.
Sam Pittman recently talked about the wide receiver position.
“You have Trey Knox and everyone knows about Treylon Burks and Mike Woods,” Pittman said. “Those guys have done an outstanding job. I’ve been impressed with Tyson Morris. He’s made some outstanding catches. We moved T.J. Hammonds over there to a slot. He has speed. He’s helping us. At first we were running back with him but we felt like he could help us because he has speed out there. So we moved him to slot. Those guys are doing a good job. Kendall Catalon has had a good camp. I like those guys.
“This is a grown man’s league. You’ve got a corner he’s going to hold you and we’ve been doing some really good work getting off press man and separation. What do we have to do to get away from this guy? We have to be as physical as our opponent and these guys have really taken to that.”
Morris played in 11 games last fall. He caught 13 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. In five games, Hammonds caught four passes for 10 yards.
Another returning wide receiver who has made an impression on Pittman is senior De’Vion Warren, who is also a kickoff return specialist. Warren caught four passes for 19 yards last season.
“De’Vion Warren and Hammonds, those are the guys behind the first three that I can think of that have made plays,” Pittman said.
Knox agrees with Pittman on Warren and Hammonds as well as some of the other backups.
“De’Vion and TJ, they’ve been playing so fast this whole camp,” Knox said. “They’re speedy guys. Just having that speed on the outside that can just take the top off the whole defense that we can air it out to when we need a big play down the field. Just to get somebody to go track the ball and go get it. That brings a lot to the table. Kendall Catalon has been playing his tail off. Karch Gardiner has been having a solid camp also. I think as a room we’re pretty deep. If somebody needs to come out a play, then somebody goes and gets them and makes a play. We have each others backs. Our chemistry goes a long way. We have one of the best rooms, I think, in the country.”
Catalon is the older brother of safety Jalen Catalon. Knox talked about what he has brought to the table.
“Hard worker,” Knox said. “He’s a grimey kind of guy. He’ll go in and make crack blocks, just do what anybody asks him to do, and he has great hands, and he knows how to get open. He knows how to work the top of his routes. Same thing with Karch. Karch does a lot of great things and tremendous hands. Some of the best hands I’ve ever seen and knows how to get open. You know, they’re smaller guys, so they can get in and out of cuts with ease. And it’s amazing to see that those are the guys we have surrounding this room.”
The Hogs open the season on Saturday, Sept. 26, when they host Georgia at 3 p.m. in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.