FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas is scheduled to open the football season on Saturday, Sept. 5, against Nevada.
Unless one has been floating in space or something similar they realize the status of the season is still up in the air due to the COVID-19. However, the hope is college football will be played in 2020 even if it’s not the 12-game schedule as set right now. The likelihood is the season will happen with a different schedule possibly being just SEC games or at the most one or two non-conference games along with the league contests.
Regardless of how many games the Razorbacks play, it will be important for certain players to have great seasons. Here’s a look at five key players for Arkansas who must play well.
Feleipe Franks, QB, Sr. — The former Florida quarterback has already had success in the SEC. That is good news for Arkansas following a quarterback rotation the past two years under Chad Morris that saw a constant rotation without much success winning games. With the Gators, Franks completed 367 of 622 passes for 4,593 yards. 38 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He rushed 189 times for 438 yards and eight scores. In 2018, Franks was outstanding leading Florida to a 10-3 record, He completed 188 of 322 passes for 2,457 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions. He rushed 110 times for 350 yards and seven touchdowns. The Hogs need that kind of season from him.
Rakeem Boyd, RB, Sr. — He gave new head coach Sam Pittman some good news when he opted to return for his senior season rather than enter the 2020 NFL Draft. As a junior, Boyd rushed 184 times for 1,133 yards and eight touchdowns while catching 19 passes for 160 yards. He is among the top returning running backs in the SEC and needs to stay healthy and post some big numbers. He is easily the most experienced running back on Arkansas’ roster.
Treylon Burks, WR, Soph. — This speedster is capable of helping the Hogs in many ways. Not only as a wide receiver who can stretch the field, but returning punts and maybe even lining up occasionally at running back. As a true freshman in 2019, Burks caught 29 passes for 475 yards despite the Hogs starting five different players at quarterback. He rushed nine times for 35 yards. Burks brought back 12 punts for 130 yards (10.8 avg). Burks returned 10 kickoffs for 226 yards (22.6 avg.). Burks could prove to be one of the top sophomores in the nation in 2020.
Hudson Henry, TE, R-Fr. — The former four-star standout at Pulaski Academy redshirted in 2019. He caught three passes for 15 yards while playing in a trio of games. He battled some injuries last fall, but is now back at practice. The Hogs lost Cheyenne O’Grady, Grayson Gunter, Hayden Johnson and Chase Harrell from last year’s squad at tight end. So it will be a must that Henry and some others step up at tight end and have a good season. Henry is obviously the younger brother of Hunter Henry who won the Mackey Award at Arkansas.
Myron Cunningham, OL, Sr. — Actually this could be any of the offensive linemen such as Ricky Stromberg, Ty Clary, Dalton Wagner, Noah Gatlin and others. Cunningham though seems to be the one who Pittman and even Boyd have praised for their work in the offseason. The offensive line has been a question mark at Arkansas since Pittman left for Georgia following the 2015 season. That has to change for Arkansas to be competitive again. Cunningham has added the weight the coaches wanted and seems destined for a very good season.