FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman has no issues playing freshmen and despite having 22 seniors on this year’s squad look for several newcomers to see action this fall.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see several freshmen make a contribution at some point this season. This is a look at five, and certainly not the only ones who could make a big impact, but instead who may be in position to show their presence against Rice.
Some freshmen such as Tulsa (Okla.) Union running back AJ Green would have been on here, but he missed the two preseason scrimmages. Cordele (Ga.) Crisp County linebacker Chris Paul is behind four seniors at linebacker thus may not have the chance to make as big an impact as he would otherwise. The list goes on and on like that.
Here’s five true freshmen though it’s almost a certainty much more than that number will play this fall.
Ketron Jackson, WR, 6-2, 205, Royse City, Texas
Enrolled at Arkansas in January. Went through spring drills, but seemed still a little hampered by knee injury he suffered in high school. This preseason Jackson looks completely healthy and now is the receiver Arkansas thought they were getting when they beat Texas and others for this four-star. Sam Pittman said Jackson may be in the top three wide receivers which possibly puts him in the starting lineup against the Owls. As a senior at Royse City, Jackson caught 39 passes for 765 yards and 10 touchdowns. In spot duty on defense, he picked off two passes.
Jayden Johnson, S, 6-2, 220, Cedartown, Ga.
Also enrolled at Arkansas in January and went through spring drills. There’s some older safeties ahead of him, but Johnson has the size and speed to likely make a very fast impact. He was a three-star recruit in high school and switched to Arkansas from South Carolina. As a senior in high school, Johnson rushed 48 times for 347 yards and five touchdowns and caught 17 passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, Johnson had 17 tackles, three interceptions, a pass deflection, forced fumble and one recovery.
Cam Little, K, 6-2, 185, Moore Southmoore, Okla.
Little has kicked with the first unit this preseason and seems a certainty to handle the field goal and point after touchdown duties against Rice. Arkansas signed Little in December and he also enrolled in January thus going through spring practice. With Kohl’s Kicking, Little was ranked the No. 2 kicker and No. 5 punter in the Class of 2021. As a senior was 6 of 10 on field goals with a long of 49, perfect on 24 PATs and punted 41 times.
Raheim (Rocket) Sanders, RB, 6-2, 225, Rockledge, Fla.
A former four-star recruit who was recruited to Arkansas as an athlete. In addition to running back, Sanders is capable of playing wide receiver and safety. He was named the No. 2 running back by Pittman earlier this preseason. He gives the Hogs a big back to go with Trelon Smith. As a senior, rushed for 317 yards and four touchdowns while also catching 24 passes for 391 yards and four touchdowns. Also totaled 237 kick return yards with a touchdown.
Bryce Stephens, WR, 6-0, 180, Oklahoma City John Marshall, Okla.
This speedster is the only one on this list who didn’t enroll in January. He was a three-star recruit in high school and has been looked at as a kick returner in addition to wide receiver duties. As a senior, Stephens caught 32 passes for 686 yards and nine touchdowns in eight games. Is a sprinter in track.