By Otis Kirk
Arkansas will be at home on Saturday night for the final time in 2018. It will be Senior Night and LSU will provide the opponent.
Junior linebacker De’Jon Harris is from Harvey John Ehret and leads the team in tackles with 93 after nine games. He is one of several Louisiana players on the squad. What does it mean to face LSU?
“It means a lot,” Harris said. “Just coming up here from home and just playing against most of the team. I know the majority of the team. It’s gonna mean a lot. It will be a lot of fun to play against them too.”
Harris was among those in attendance on Saturday night to watch Alabama beat LSU. Harris talked about being at that game.
“Yeah I went down there,” Harris said. “I went down to see my cousin down at LSU play (Michael) Divinity play. Just catch some action for the first time because this is the first year for him really. So it was a good atmosphere down there.”
You were wearing a Free Devin White t-shirt who was suspended by the SEC for the first half of last week’s game. As a defensive guy you kinda felt for him?
“He’s a close friend,” Harris said. “We grew up and came close through college ball and with my cousin over there too.”
The last time Arkansas beat LSU was in Baton Rouge in 2015. You were a recruit then what do you remember about that game?
“I watched it on TV down there in Baton Rouge when they beat them,” Harris said. “I saw that on TV and liked it a lot.”
It seemed like in that game there was a lot of players from Louisiana who had standout games for Arkansas. You guys have a lot of players from Louisiana on this team what do you talk about?
“It’s important for us,” Harris said. “We want to win and go back home and brag. Win the trophy and bring it back for this program too.”
Senior wide receiver Jared Cornelius is from Shreveport (La.) Evangel as is senior safety Santos Ramirez. Cornelius was asked what this game Saturday means to him?
“It means the world,” Cornelius said. “I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t check this game off the calendar every year, being a Louisiana guy, being from there and having to go back there in December. So of course we want to win this game. Not just me, but all the guys, especially the guys from Louisiana, but everybody on this team. This game is a big game. It’s a trophy game and we want to bring that trophy home at the end of the game.”
Do you think the fans think this is the biggest rivalry Arkansas has in the SEC?
“Yeah, easy,” Cornelius said. “Whenever you have a trophy involved, some hardware you can play for at the end of the season every year, it means something. You have a physical reward you can take and show and take pictures with and carry around. So it’s a big deal to us and it should be to the fans and I’m sure it is.”
Cornelius has missed the past two games with an injury. How are you feeling now?
“I feel great,” Cornelius said. “Kind of an ankle bothering me for this past week and I just knew it would be a thing that would take some time. The bye week really helped me. Got moving around today, a little bit Sunday and I feel good.”
Ramirez is also looking forward to Saturday’s game which, like Cornelius, will be his final one in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
“This means everything to me,” Ramirez said. “Just with being a senior, just what I came through, man. Being here, just being from Louisiana. It’s my last home game, man. I’m putting everything on the line out there.
“I know this hasn’t been my best year for me or for the team. I just want to go out there and give everything I’ve got the last time I can at home. There’s no better opponent to do it against than LSU. This is our bowl game, that’s how I’m looking at it. I’m coming out there with a passion like no other, man. I’m going to go out and fly around.”
Arkansas and LSU will kickoff at 6:30 p.m. and televised on the SEC Network.