GREENWOOD — Greenwood Class of 2025 wide receiver Grant Karnes is having an outstanding season for the Bulldogs.
In five games, Karnes, 6-0, 180, has caught 39 passes for 614 yards and 10 touchdowns. That’s very impressive statistics, but in three of the games he hasn’t played much, if any, in the second half due to blowout wins. They have reeled off four consecutive wins in a row since dropping the season opener 41-27 at Stillwater (Okla.).
“The season is going really well,” Karnes said. “Stillwater was a tough season opener. We were all a little rusty getting into the season. Now the chemistry is back. We’re all doing good. (Quarterback) Hunter (Houston) is finding me open and getting me passes. (Quarterback) Kane (Archer) can get the ball to me. It’s all going really well right now.”
Houston loves having a wide receiver like Karnes to throw the ball to when the Bulldogs need a big play.
“Grant is a dude,” Houston said. “He’s only a sophomore and came up and got a little taste of it last year being a freshman coming up. We know one-on-one 10 times out of 10 he’s going to go get the ball and that’s what he has done all year. It’s fun throwing a little shovel pass to him and he takes it to the house.”
Greenwood coach Chris Young did what many says can’t be done. Young followed a coaching legend, Rick Jones, at Greenwood and has a record of 27-5 thus having great success. Young was an assistant under Jones. He has seen a lot of standouts come and go at Greenwood and Karnes is one he’s very high on.
“He’s just having an amazing season,” Young said. “A young talent who has a combination of great speed, great athleticism and can go up high and catch the ball. He’s so physical after the catch. He’s just throwing guys off of him and has very soft hands. He’s just a special athlete and the fact he’s just a sophomore is scary for a lot of people. Because he’s only going to continue to get better because he’s a hard worker as well.”
In the second game of the season with Houston injured, Archer, a Class of 2026 quarterback, filled in against Fort Smith Northside. The Bulldogs trailed by 18 points with three minutes remaining, but put together a rally that saw Archer throw a Hail Mary to Karnes on the last play to win 56-53. That play made some national highlights around the country. The play was a 40-yard touchdown that Karnes outjumped the Northside defender for the pass from Archer.
“My strengths are my speed and being able to go up and high point the ball to people and breaking tackles are my top three,” Karnes said.
The athletic Karnes also plays basketball and baseball including for the Arkansas Sticks. The Sticks are a great baseball team that only selects the best players to play for them. Many former Sticks have gone on to play for Dave Van Horn and the Razorbacks.
“He’s a big baseball player and also a basketball player,” Young said. “Just shows you the benefits of playing other sports. Making you a better athlete all around. Once he has a chance to get in the weight room he’s really going to get a lot stronger. That is something he hasn’t done yet because he’s playing other sports.”
As far as where he may need to improve, Karnes talked about those areas.
“My main one right now is not cutting routes off on certain things,” Karnes said. “I know I can outrun the guy so I’ll just do it early and make it hard to throw even though I’m open.”
Karnes has been timed at 4.51 in the 40-yard dash, owns a 37-inch vertical jump and a 4.0 grade-point average. Karnes talked about his ability to go up and get the ball such as the play at Northside against talented defensive backs.
“I just know a lot of guys even though they are bigger than me I can out jump them,” Karnes said. “I’m going to get at the highest point, get right in front of them where they can’t jump as high since I’m in front of them.”
Karnes camped at the University of Arkansas this summer. There he worked with Kenny Guiton who coaches the Arkansas wide receivers.
“I love the coaches,” Karnes said. “I thought it was really cool. I definitely want to play there. Coach Guiton is a really cool guy. He helped me with my foot work on routes and just made me better while I was there.”
Karnes is hoping for an offer from the Hogs in the future and if he gets it the decision will be an easy one.
“That is where I want to go,” Karnes said.
Karnes watched former Greenwood standout Drew Morgan experience great success at Arkansas. Linebacker Grant Morgan also experienced success with the Hogs. Lucas Miller was another wide receiver from Greenwood who, like both Morgans, didn’t have a long list of offers out of high school, but experienced success at Arkansas.
“A lot of time at Greenwood we’re not the biggest guys,” Karnes said. “But we work hard all summer. We just work like crazy all summer. We work on high point on ball and stuff like that.”
The Razorbacks are 3-1 and Karnes has been keeping a close eye on them. He talked about what he has seen to this point.
“I thought they’ve done really good,” Karnes said. “They made some errors against (Texas) A&M they can’t make against Alabama.”
Greenwood has also defeated Mountain Home 49-0, Siloam Springs 61-7 and Van Buren 63-21.
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