By Otis Kirk
Arkansas has four scholarship wide receivers in the Class of 2019 plus a talented preferred walk-on.
Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman’s Trey Knox and Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy’s Shamar Nash both inked with Arkansas on Dec. 19. They enrolled at midterm and are set to go through spring drills that begin on Friday. Justin Stepp coaches the wide receivers and is elated to have both Knox and Nash available this spring.
“They’re both incredible, incredible young men,” Stepp said. “They’re both really good players, but they’re both really good kids. Trey Knox, when he came on his visit, I guess he came late last February maybe last March, and when he walked up, Coach (Joe) Craddock and I looked at each other and said, ‘We’ll never see that kid again.’ Just because he was so highly recruited, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Ohio State. And just built a relationship with him, man. Like I said the other day, it takes a village to recruit these kids. It takes everybody. I didn’t recruit them by myself. Coach Craddock obviously being the OC, Coach (Chad) Morris the head coach and then everybody on offense. When these kids call in, they talk to everybody on the staff. It was a lot of fun, obviously competing against some of the best schools in the country.
“Same thing with Shamar, being able to flip him from the school he was committed to (Missouri). It’s just been a lot of fun. Really excited about what these two guys can bring. They’re going to get thrown in the fire a little bit this spring, but I think they’re excited about it, and I think they’re going to be ready for it.”
Where would you project Nash to play?
“It’s how can I get the best three players in our room on the field at the same time,” Stepp said. “I envision him playing probably all three spots. Majority to the field, then a slot guy to the field, but not being afraid to put him into the boundary, as well. He’s got a unique skill set. That’s the thing I’m most excited about in our room, is there’s a lot of guys that can play a bunch of different spots. The competition’s going to be great. The competition makes everybody better, man. That’s what I’m excited about.”
Arkansas was missing the 6-5 wide receiver last year who could go get the 50-50 balls and more. Can Knox be that guy?
“Yeah, I think he can,” Stepp said. “Obviously Trey’s got an incredible frame, he’s got a big catch radius and his size; I can’t coach guys to be that big. Real excited about him. Really excited to see Mike [Woods] after a full year of being here. I thought he kind of got thrown into the fire as a freshman but man did a great job for us. I’m really excited about what he brings to the table. I’m really excited about Koilan Jackson, getting him out here and getting him healthy and just seeing what he can do, man. Just bring the competition at every spot and just putting the best three on the field.”
Craddock was impressed with Knox on his visit and remains so today while getting to coach him. Craddock was asked if any newcomer had really stood out to him?
“Yeah, I think Trey Knox,” Craddock said. “I think he’s going to be a really good player for us. Not saying we didn’t hit on everybody else but I’m saying we definitely hit on Trey Knox. I think he’s going to be a good player for us through the years. He’s got the potential and the want-to and the drive and the desire to be a special player in the SEC and the country and even at the next level. So I’m really excited about him.
“Shamar (Nash) has been working really hard. He’s starting to study a little more and doing those things off the field to take care of his business. But the one who has really caught my eye besides Myron (Cunningham) is Trey.”