FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Senior tight end Cheyenne O’Grady continues to be a bright spot for Arkansas in another challenging season.
On Saturday, O’Grady led Arkansas’ offense with seven receptions for 72 yards including a 45-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Ben Hicks. He was hit in the throat late in Saturday’s game and unavailable to the media, but Hicks had praise for him.
“Yeah, obviously C.J. is a great player,” Hicks said. “We count on him a lot. He’s one of our weapons that I really count on and he’s playing well. We’ll continue to find ways to get him the ball. He’s a big deal for us trying to give him a chance. He played really well today. So we’ll really continue to find ways to implement him more into our game plan each week.”
He missed the season opener, but leads the Hogs with 29 receptions for 359 yards and two touchdowns. Chad Morris also talked about O’Grady’s play on Saturday.
“Well, I think we all know what kind of playmaker C.J. is,” Morris said. “I think you look around, we tried to get the ball to our playmakers as much as possible tonight. We had a few drops that were disappointing. Guys were giving effort. But C.J. has definitely been a guy that’s been consistent and we’ve just got to continue to find ways to get him the ball.”
O’Grady’s touchdown came following a Bo Nix fumble caused by De’Jon Harris that was recovered by McTelvin Agim with an assist from Bumper Pool to keep it from going out of bounds.
On the first play at the Auburn 45 following the turnover, Hicks found O’Grady down the middle and he made players miss him, bobbled the ball in the air and reeled it back in and powered to the touchdown.
Earlier in the game, Arkansas converted a fourth down when O’Grady went in motion and stopped under center and took the snap. He managed three yards on the play.
“We actually repped it a little bit last year,” Morris said. “Again, we felt if we got into an empty they’d get into a front that was a little bit softer for us, that we may be able to pick up a short yard right there with it. C.J. played quarterback in high school and had taken snaps, so we’ve been working that. It was good to see it work.”
O’Grady also impressed Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.
“He’s a real player,” Malzahn said. “One of the best offensive players in our league. He made a great play. Matter of fact he made three or four great plays. One was outstanding on the touchdown.”
Junior safety Kamren Curl goes against O’Grady in practice and is certainly impressed with the senior tight end.
“C.J. is the best tight end in the nation to me,” Curl said. “Being able to go up against him in practice every day, it’s a real challenge. It just makes us better. I feel like C.J., he comes out and he always puts on every game. You can trust in every game. C.J. is a really good player.”
Sophomore linebacker Bumper Pool also likes having O’Grady on his team.
“C.J. is a great player,” Pool said. “He makes big plays when we need him. We are happy to have the guy on our team.”
Pool talked about the O’Grady touchdown when he had it, bobbled it, brought it back in and still was able to score.
“C.J. has just got great balance,” Pool said. “He can continue to make a play even though there is something going on, if somebody’s trying to tackle him.”
O’Grady is from Fayetteville High School.