FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Freshman wide receiver Treylon Burks is seeing his role expand each week.
In last Saturday’s 54-24 loss to Mississippi State, Burks to catch a 32-yard pass from fellow freshman quarterback KJ Jefferson. It was Jefferson’s first pass attempt in college. Burks, despite possibly getting interfered with by the Mississippi State defensive back, kept his word to Jefferson on the play.
“I told him that I was going to make a play for him if he threw it my way, so I had his back the whole time,” Burks said.
But that is also a promise that Burks has made to the other quarterbacks as well and he has kept his word all season making big plays all over the field.
“Yes sir,” Burks said. “Anything I can do for them, I do it. “
It seemed the team got rejuvenated when Jefferson came into the game and immediately rushed for 21 yards.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s always fun to see somebody new com in playing and especially another freshman,” Burks said. “And he’s my roommate, so I was pretty pumped up about that, too.”
This season, Burks has caught 20 passes for 320 yards, rushed seven times for 17, returned five kickoffs for 134 yards with a long of 42 and 11 punt returns for 112 yards with a long of 32. With De’Vion Warren out Burks will now add kick returner to his duties against Western Kentucky.
“I’ve always liked to return kicks, and it hurt us that De’Vion went down, but I told him that I had his back, kind of like I did with Deon and the punt return,” Burks said. “I just go out there and do what I can to help him out and help the team out.”
Last year at this time, Burks was at Warren High School playing for Bo Hembree though he was out the second half of the season following knee surgery. Your freshman season gone by fast?
” Yes sir, I mean it’s been a great year,” Burks said. “I mean, it hasn’t shown on the scoreboard or anything, but we’ve gotten a lot better since last year. We’ve just been having fun, and it’s yet to come. The year ain’t over, yet, so we’ve still got a couple more games to finish out.”
Burks has grabbed attention from many by the way he catches punts. He catches them more like an outfielder bringing in a fly ball, but it has worked for him as he has no lost fumbles.
“It’s just how I’ve always done it since pee-wee football, actually,” Burks said. “It’s just a habit.”
This week, redshirt freshman John Stephen Jones will get the start at quarterback with Jefferson also seeing extensive duty. Burks talked about Arkansas’ changes at quarterback.
“We’re happy for them,” Burks said. “We go out there just like if it were Ben (Hicks) or Nick (Starkel) and play our butts off for them. We practice with John Stephen and KJ every day even though they didn’t start back then, so it’s nothing new to us.”
Hembree got creative finding ways to get Burks involved in the Lumberjacks offense even using him some at quarterback. Any chance Burks plays some quarterback at Arkansas?
“I mean, if they put me back there I’ll do whatever for the team, but playing the split back position, it’s fun. I like going downhill at the other team,” Burks said. “I’m contact type of guy.”
Burks credited Hembree for preparing him for his collegiate play.
“I mean I’m learning this offense a lot faster,” Burks said. “They’re giving me more jobs. I’m up to the challenge. Coach Bo, my head coach back at Warren, he put it on me early, so it’s really nothing new to me having to play full stuff. It’s just a grind.”
Saturday is Senior Day at Arkansas and that is an extra incentive for Burks and the team to get a win.
“It wouldn’t just mean so much for me,” Burks said. “For them, just for them, because it’s their last time putting that helmet on in this stadium. It’s always good to play your hardest for the seniors. A win for them would be just great.”
That would be a way of saying thanks to the seniors?
“Yes, because they played their heart out for us,” Burks said. “We’re going to do the same this Saturday.”
Arkansas is 2-7 and it appeared at first of season they would likely have a better record at this time. Has it been heartbreaking the way the season has unfolded?
“It’s really not,” Burks said. “We knew coming in that it wasn’t going to be just an all out undefeated season. We were going to have to work for it, and we’ve been working. If we just keep a positive attitude it’ll pay off for us in the end.”
Defensive tackle Marcus Miller was another Warren standout who signed with Arkansas last year. He was injured in a recent game something that Burks wasn’t wanting to see.
“Yeah, it was real tough,” Burks said. “He had the injury first, and then I had the injury and now he’s had the injury again, so it’s always tough to see somebody go down with a knee injury.”
While many of the Razorbacks were close to Western Kentucky quarterback Ty Storey, who transferred following the 2018 season, Burks arrived after he had left.
“I mean I really don’t know him like that,” Burks said. “I just know he’s from Arkansas, but we just can’t let him come in here and do it like that. We’re just going to go out there and play our hardest, and the outcome will be the outcome of the game.”
Burks and Arkansas will kickoff at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning in Reynolds Razorback Stadium against Storey and the Hilltoppers.