FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Chad Morris will hold his annual golf tournament tomorrow with the media and then on Thursday the Hogs officially report.
Unlike a few year’s ago reporting day no longer is seeing who shows up and did they workout in summer or eat pizza all day? The players have been here much of the summer so reporting day isn’t full of drama now.
Friday the team will hit the practice field so football season is officially upon us.
Here’s some random thoughts on the football season.
Trio Not Pair
Many consider that Arkansas has two outstanding football players on defense. They point out linebacker De’Jon Harris and defensive lineman McTelvin Agim. I actually think the Hogs have a trio of standouts on defense as I put safety Kamren Curl in that group. He’s a junior while the other two are seniors. Arkansas will need those three to stay healthy this season and then maybe some others become elite defenders. T.J. Smith and others need to have a big year for Arkansas to be as good as it wants to be on that side of the ball for John Chavis.
Offensive Line Improvement
Much of how successful the offense will be in 2019 depends on the offensive line improving. It has a chance to be much improved over 2018 when Dustin Fry had to almost draw straws to see who played. Injuries and lack of numbers forced Fry to have to piece together an offensive line just to get through a practice, much less games. Morris, Fry and the Razorbacks went to work fixing the numbers during the recruiting season. Fry did an outstanding job landing Myron Cunningham from junior college. Cunningham will be in Arkansas’ starting lineup either at tackle or guard. He allows the Hogs to have some flexibility on the line. The good news for Fry is he should have plenty of bodies on the offensive line this year. Now his job is to find the best five and make them fit. That may mean moving a tackle to guard, a guard to center or whatever, but he has options. That is something Fry didn’t have in 2018.
Double Dose at Tight End
Cheyenne O’Grady is back for his senior season and that is good news for Arkansas. Now they have to hope he takes care of business off the field as well as on it. Arkansas played the first two games without O’Grady in 2018 and he didn’t even catch a pass until Week 5 against Texas A&M. This year, they need O’Grady and true freshman Hudson Henry to be the best combination of tight ends in the SEC. That isn’t expecting too much of this duo, they are that talented. They just need O’Grady to have complete buy in from Day 1 this fall and Henry to emerge as expected. If that happens, no matter the quarterback they will have some nice targets to throw to in addition to the wide receivers.
Trey Knox Continue Momentum From Spring
True freshman Trey Knox had a lot of momentum this spring just shortly after reporting. He offers the quarterback a big and fast target to throw it to. Knox has to continue doing that this fall against the teams that will try to contain him and intimidate him. Defensive backs don’t like an opposing true freshman beating them, but Knox has that kind of talent. He is tall and and has outstanding hands. For Arkansas fans trying to think back to someone maybe he reminds them of maybe think of a combination of Anthony Lucas and Boo Williams. Knox and three other scholarship true freshmen were signed at wide receiver to help the team immediately. In the spring, Knox and Shamar Nash got a headstart on the others by enrolling at midterm.
It’s always fun to speculate on a senior who might have a breakout season. There’s several candidates for Arkansas who may fall into this category. Don’t be surprised on defense if Jamario Bell, Dorian Gerald or Gabe Richardson have a breakout season. With Agim moving inside those three will get a great shot at extensive playing time. If one or two of the three emerge with a great season that will be a big plus for the defense. The top candidate for this on offense might be offensive guard Austin Capps.
May Have Never Heard of But You Will
A player most may have never heard of, but could in 2019 is safety Brenden Young. The former Ouachita Baptist player is set to begin his third season at Arkansas. He has lettered two years, but he could be in line to make a bigger impact in 2019. On offense, a player to watch is junior tight end Blake Kern. He is a one-year letterman from Lamar. Both are walk-on players who might possibly be in line to get awarded a scholarship by Morris before the season.