FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ defense got a huge boost when Grant Morgan opted to return for his extra senior season.
Morgan will join Bumper Pool to form one of the SEC’s best pair of linebackers on one team. The key for Rion Rhoads will be to continue develop depth behind that pair.
Morgan led the Hogs with 111 tackles in nine games. Pool had 101 also in nine games. Morgan had 40 solo, 7.5 for loss, two sacks, one interception returned for a touchdown, five pass breakups and two quarterback hurries. Pool had 40 solo, 6.5 for loss, 0.5 sack, five pass breakups and one quarterback hurry.
Andrew Parker played in all 10 games as a redshirt sophomore. He finished with 12 tackles including three solo. Eric Thomas Jr. had four tackles, including three solo, as a true freshman and one for loss.
Jackson Woodard played in four games as a true freshman walk-on and finished with two tackles. Senior Deon Edwards had two tackles and one fumble recovery in five games. He has also announced he plans to return to Arkansas for his extra senior season.
Other returning scholarship linebackers are true freshman Kelin Burrle, redshirt junior Levi Draper, true freshman J.T. Towers and redshirt freshman Zach Zimos. Draper was a grad transfer from Oklahoma and was injured in preseason missing the entire year.
Walk-on linebackers returning are true freshman Brooks Both, redshirt sophomore Cedric Johnson, redshirt freshman Asa Shearin, redshirt sophomore McKinley Williams and redshirt sophomore Jake Yurachek.
Arkansas signed two linebackers in December. They added Jonesboro’s Marco Avant and Cordele (Ga.) Crisp County’s Chris Paul. Jordan Hanna will join the team this season as a preferred walk-on.
Grant Morgan, 5-11, 222, Redshirt Senior, Greenwood
Bumper Pool, 6-2, 229, Senior, Lucas (Texas) Lovejoy
Brooks Both, 6-0, 225, Redshirt Freshman, Harrison
Kelin Burrle, 6-0, 212, Redshirt Freshman, Harvey (La.) Helen Cox
Levi Draper, 6-1, 223, Redshirt Senior, Oklahoma Transfer (Collinsville, Okla.)
Deon Edwards, 6-1, 218, Redshirt Senior, Clermont (Fla.) Lake Minneola
Cedric Johnson, 6-0, 200, Redshirt Junior, University of Maryland Transfer (Dallas, Texas)
Andrew Parker, 6-2, 235, Redshirt Junior, New Orleans (La.) Sophie B. Wright
Asa Shearin, 6-1, 221, Redshirt Sophomore, Jonesboro
Eric Thomas Jr., 6-3, 246, Redshirt Freshman, Pensacola (Fla.) Booker T. Washington
J. T. Towers, 6-4, 205, Redshirt Freshman, Joe T. Robinson
McKinley Williams, 6-1, 210, Redshirt Junior, Sheridan
Jackson Woodard, 6-3, 227, Redshirt Freshman, Little Rock Christian
Jake Yurachek, 6-0, 233, Redshirt Junior, Colorado Transfer (Friendswood, Texas)
Zach Zimos, 6-4, 225, Redshirt Sophomore, Sugar Land (Texas) Fort Bend Travis
Marco Avant, 6-3, 212, Freshman, Jonesboro
Christopher Paul Jr., 6-1, 225, Freshman, Cordele (Ga.) Crisp County
Jordan Hanna, 6-2, 215, Freshman, Greenwood