FAYETTEVILLE — A few true freshmen have been praised by Sam Pittman each time he meets with the media, but he also had some good things to say about a few others on Thursday.
Pittman was asked about freshmen who were looking good?
“I really like Keuan Parker,” Pittman said. “I like him. He’s doing a good job. I’ve been impressed with the four offensive linemen, including (Josh) Street, the walk-on. I’ve liked those guys. They’ve done a nice job. Of course, (Erin) Outley is hurt. Landon Rogers, we haven’t talked about (him). I’ll tell you, he can throw the football now. He’s a big athlete, learning the playbook. Those other guys are ahead of him because they were here. But he’s very, very talented. You go on defense, I think I’ve spoke of Solomon Wright and Cam Ball. I like those guys. I hate to miss somebody. Oh, the wide receivers. That’s a good group with 14 (Bryce Stephens), 2 (Ketron Jackson) and 13 Jaedon Wilson). Those guys are good players. They’re going to help us, I think at least two of the three, maybe all three of them will help us this year.”
Pittman or the assistant coaches have spoken pretty regularly of quarterback Lucas Coley, running backs AJ Green and Raheim Sanders, linebacker Chris Paul, cornerback Chase Lowery and safety Jayden Johnson.
Parker is a cornerback. Street is from Bentonville and a preferred walk-on. He turned down scholarship offers to Kansas, Maryland and others to attend Arkansas. The scholarship offensive linemen are Terry Wells, Cole Carson and Devon Manuel. Rogers is a quarterback while Outley is a tight end with both from Little Rock Parkview. Wright and Ball are defensive linemen.
Pittman also talked about how well freshman kicker Cam Little is doing. When asked he had won the job Pittman said he had looked good.’
“Well, he’s kicking it really well,” Pittman said. “I don’t know what you call winning (the job). I mean, he’s been with the 1s every time we go out there. So I’d say he’s doing pretty good.”
Near the end of the recruiting period last year Pittman and his staff landed three grad transfers on the defensive line. They were Markell Utsey and Tre Williams, both from Missouri, and John Ridgeway from Illinois State.
“They’re going to help us,” Pittman said. “They’re good kids. They work hard. They’re talented. It was kind of easy, when they got in the portal, to recruit them because two of them had been playing SEC football. Then the other one had played Division I-AA football and played it at a high level. And all three of them are in our two-deep somewhere. Maybe some days they’re starting and some days they’re in the two deep. But all three of them are going to help us I believe, and help us a lot.”
Defensive back Greg Brooks also is impressed with the trio of transfer linemen.
“Those dudes are going to make us 100 times better this year,” Brooks said. “I feel like we are going to create a lot more just with those three guys alone. They cause disruption every play. It’s just better for us. They are the ones that are going to be left to pick.”
The Hogs also signed junior college defensive lineman Jalen Williams. Williams was injured much of the spring.
“He’s healthy,” Pittman said. “I have not seen him move yet like the tape we recruited him off of. If you talked to him, he’d say the same thing. I have to think that there’s still some type of back issue. He says there’s not and the medical people say there’s not, so there’s probably not. But he’s not quite moving yet, and part of that may be because he hasn’t learned everything quite well yet and he’s half a step behind, but he’s not moving yet like what I think that he can or what I saw off his recruiting tape.
“I think he can [help]. We recruited him to come in and we thought he could help us, and I think he can, but right now his quick twitch, we’ve got to keep working on that and his ability to run.”