FAYETTEVILLE — Junior Trey Knox had an outstanding freshman season in 2019, but then last year was a difficult one for him.
As a true freshman Knox caught 28 passes for 385 yards and three touchdowns. That dropped to seven receptions for only 70 yards in 2020. In 2019, his 385 yards ranked third among SEC freshmen receivers. In Oxford against Ole Miss, Knox caught six passes for 88 yards in a 31-17 loss.
Knox had a good spring and now is hoping everything falls into place.
“Yeah, I think I’ve had a pretty great offseason,” Knox said. “I’ve put on 15 pounds, hovering around 218-220, that area. I feel a lot faster. I feel a lot more explosive. Just trying to figure out how to play at this size. This is all new to me. I haven’t been this big before. So just figuring out my way, trying to figure out my breaks, my route running and all those things has been a pretty fun process putting on weight. Because I never thought I could gain any weight. I’ve been a string bean my whole life. It’s been pretty fun.”
What was the thought behind putting on the additional weight?
“I felt like putting on weight would help me to play faster, be more explosive, those areas,” Knox said. “Even being stronger and playing more physical and getting guys off of me because I have a pretty big frame and I’m trying to fill that out. I want to play big. I want to play physical because I mean that’s what my body calls me to do.”
Kenny Guiton is the new wide receiver’s coach and is looking for a good season from Knox.
“He’s doing awesome right now,” Guiton said. “He came in and he wanted to know my thoughts after seeing him all spring to reach that next level. I think he’s a bigger guy, a bigger wideout, so you talk about what bigger wideouts do. They’re big, physical guys who lock up people on perimeter blocking, and if the ball is in the air and it’s contested, it’s one-on-one, instead of it being a 50-50 ball, that’s 80-20. That’s who you have to be as a bigger guy. He’s taking it on and he’s working at it.”
Knox likes the foundation that Sam Pittman is installing and talked about it on Saturday.
“Just being a player-led team, I would say,” Knox said. “Just policing ourselves and trusting in each other to do the right thing and holding each other accountable. I think that’s the biggest thing because, I mean, just being controlled by our head coach I feel like it’s hard to get around with that. But being a player-led team, just a group of leaders, just policing ourselves, it goes by way more smoothly. And everybody’s happy because if you mess up the guy next to you is going to tell you, ‘You messed up.’ So, I think that’s the big thing and just being a hard-working team. Coming every day and hitting each other, getting better and just going to work every day. Being about our business. I think those two things are very important as to why we are the way we are.”
Knox is impressed with John David White at wide receiver. The redshirt sophomore had a big spring game and is likely to be in the rotation this season.
“John David White, he can run for miles,” Knox said with a wide smile. “That’s the biggest thing I love about him. The boy never gets tired. He’s just a great teammate, a down-to-earth guy. He wants to be around everybody. Just a good friend and an incredibly hard worker. I will say that about him. He works his tail off day in and day out.
“I’m really proud of how far he’s come. He’s been balling this past spring and starting right now. I’m just proud of him.”
The Razorbacks also have three true freshmen competing to get into the rotation. Ketron Jackson, Jaedon Wilson and Bryce Stephens were all highly recruited.
“Those guys are very, very talented,” Knox said. “I would say if anybody (reminds him of himself) I feel like it’s Ketron. He has that big frame. He’s about 205 as a freshman, something that I was even struggling to do as a freshman. So I think he’s very talent. Jaedon is a very great route runner. Bryce is blazing fast. The type of guy with dangerous speed. If he gets even, he’s definitely leaving. There’s no catching up. I think this is just a talented group of young guys that can really help us down the line.”
Knox then went into more detail on Jackson and what has impressed him.
“He has great hands, I will say that,” Knox said. “He’s physical. Something that a bunch of young guys don’t know, like how to play big and how to use his hands and use his strength to get open at times. And I think he knows how to do that. And he’s willing to learn, and he wants to be great, and I think that is a big trait in a guy that wants to be great and will be great.”
Warren Thompson is a transfer from Florida State and everyone including De’Vion Warren is impressed with the quick impact he has made even comparing him to Knox.
“Honestly, I’m not going to lie to you,” De’Vion Warren said. “Warren reminds me a little bit of this guy here (Knox). Just same size and stature. Sometimes they might look alike because of the dreads. They run just about the same. Great route runners, great hands. They both know how to play with their bodies, being able to go up and catch the ball. He kind of reminds me of Trey just a little bit, so that’s about it.”
Knox didn’t disagree with that either.
“Yeah, I would have to agree with De’Vion on this one,” Knox said. “I feel like we’re one in the same with how we play. He might be just a little faster than me. I don’t know. He’s just a big guy, and he plays big, also. He’s explosive. I’ve seen him jump for a couple of balls since he’s been here, and it’s like, ‘Golly, that boy can get up.’ He’s a great addition. I think he will fit in nicely, and he’ll make some plays for us this year.”
Arkansas will return to the practice fields today, Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday will be their off day this week and then they will don full pads on Thursday.