FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas has one of the best returning running backs in college football in senior Rakeem Boyd, but finding depth is important.
That is where sophomore Trelon Smith, senior T.J. Hammonds and redshirt freshman A’Montae Spivey enter the picture. In 2019, Boyd rushed 184 times for 1,133 yards and eight touchdowns while also catching 19 passes for 160 yards. Hammonds had eight carries fo 65 yards and caught four passes for 10 yards. Spivey rushed seven times for 24 yards. Smith redshirted after transferring in from Arizona State. Sam Pittman likes what he has seen from the group so far.
“At running back, of course you have Rakeem,” Pittman said. “But Trelon Smith has stood out. I mean, he’s done good, along with Spivey, and Hammonds has too.”
When the COVID-19 ends and the Hogs are allowed to practice again Pittman was asked if he would hold Boyd out of scrimmages or put limits on what he does in practice?
“No, he wouldn’t be any different of anybody else with the exception that obviously if we were going to scrimmage we would limit some, have a limit on his number of carries,” Pittman said. “That would be the same with Smith, Hammonds and Spivey. We would have a number of carries we want them to get in the scrimmage. He would obviously not get as many carries as some of the other kids that haven’t shown as much as he has. Nah, there wouldn’t be any limit other than that on him.”
Smith came to Arkansas after previously being with Arizona State. He was a standout at Houston Cypress Ridge High School in Texas before heading to the Sun Devils. Pittman talked about what Smith has done that impressed him.
“The way he works,” Pittman said. “The guy is a phenomenal effort guy. He has a lot of talent. We don’t know if he can hang on to the ball or not. I imagine he can. But just the way that he works. The way he goes about his business. He’s a tough kid and I’ve really grown fond of the way he works.”
The running backs have a new coach in Jimmy Smith. Pittman is very pleased to have Smith on his staff.
“Jimmy is exactly what we needed at running back coach,” Pittman said. “No nonsense guy, but a guy that can relate to his players. He is an exceptional recruiter and I needed a guy to recruit Georgia. Jimmy was the first guy that came to mind when I was in the hiring process. I needed to hire a great coach. I needed to hire a great recruiter. I have been as pleased as you can possibly be about how he has handled his room. They respect him, he knows what he is talking about.
“He was the athletic director at his school as well so he knows how to handle people. He is an exceptional football coach and his future is bright, bright, bright. I have known him for five years. We wanted to hire him when I was at Georgia, we just weren’t able to because we didn’t have a full-time job there, but he did interview there and he was outstanding in that interview.
“I have known him, known his character, known what he is about for the last five years and I am really, really glad we were able to hire him here.”
Smith will add true freshman Dominique Johnson to the running back group when the team is allowed to report again. He signed with the Hogs in February.