Arkansas Adds Talented Group of Receivers, Justin Stepp Stockpiling Talent

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas added four wide receivers in the Class of 2021 on Wednesday and they already had one on campus.

Former Oklahoma wide receiver Jaquayln Crawford, 5-10, 172, practiced with the team all fall and will be eligible in 2021. He counted forward to this class.

On Wednesday, the Hogs added Royse City (Texas) High School’s Ketron Jackson, 6-2, 185, Rockledge (Fla.) High School’s Raheim “Rocket” Sanders, 6-2, 210, Oklahoma City (Okla.) John Marshall’s Bryce Stephens, 6-0, 170, and DeSoto (Texas) High School’s Jaedon Wilson, 6-3, 172. Sam Pittman likes the group.

“Yeah, you know I thought Coach Stepp did a great job with those guys,” Pittman said. “If you look, there’s a lot of talent there with Ketron and Rocket and Jaden and Bryce. You know, Bryce Stephens will have a decent chance, a good chance to win the 100 meters in 4A there in Oklahoma. And AJ’s won it. The running back there, AJ Green. I know we’re talking specifically about wideouts. But we got good speed. Obviously Ketron Jackson is a highly recruited kid. Rocket Sanders can play several different spots. We want him as a wide receiver, but he’s going to play running back for as well. And of course Jaedon Wilson is a long ball threat. He can catch. Great size on him.”

Jackson chose the Hogs over Texas and many others. As a senior, made 39 catches for 765 yards (19.6 ypc) and scored 10 touchdowns. Also played snaps as a defensive back, making two interceptions … Made four catches for a career-high 197 yards and registered two touchdown grabs while also returning a kickoff 90 yards for a score against Forney. Made an interception on the game’s final play, securing a 55-48 win over Greenville.

Sanders chose the Hogs over Oklahoma, Miami and others. As a senior, rushed for 317 yards (15.9 ypc) and four touchdowns while making 24 catches for 391 yards (16.3 ypc) with four touchdowns … Also totaled 237 kick return yards with a touchdown.

Stephens, as a senior, played in eight games making 32 catches for 686 yards (21.4 ypc) and nine touchdowns.

Through eight games as a senior, Wilson has made 25 catches for 488 yards (19.5 ypc) and eight touchdowns. Totaled three two-touchdown games against Lake Ridge, Midway and Waco.

Pittman talked about what makes Stepp a good recruiter.

“I think there’s certainly some similarities,” Pittman said. “A good recruiter works hard, but I’ve seen guys that work hard who didn’t sign people, too. You know what I mean? The first thing, you have to be a relentless working guy. It’s unfortunate but sometimes the recruit has to come first over you’re at a dinner date with your wife and the recruit calls. You better pick it up. Some of that is a little bit unfortunate, but it’s our job.

“You have to be a hard worker, and then you have to be very, very competitive. Recruiting has to be personal to you. If you lose a kid at Arkansas to any school in the country it has to hurt you. It has to be personal. I think it is to Stepp.”

Pittman, who is known as a great recruiter, talked about similarities he sees of him and Stepp.

“I don’t know that he was a huge note writer before I came here, but I know he uses that a lot in his approach now,” Pittman said. “He is very, very believable because he tells the truth. If you just say what you feel and you come from the heart, the more you do it, the harder it is for those kids to say no to you. He gets on them early, he stays on them and a lot of times, time makes a difference in recruiting. I have been recruiting a kid for two months, somebody has been recruiting him for two years. Time makes a difference. 

“We are trying to get on these kids early and not let that be a factor and Stepp is real good about finding guys that he likes way ahead of each class.”

The receivers slated to return for Arkansas are senior Mike Woods, junior Treylon Burks, junior Trey Knox, redshirt freshman Darin Turner, senior Koilan Jackson, junior Kendall Catalon and sophomore walk-on John David White. In addition, De’Vion Warren and Tyson Morris, two seniors, are eligible to return.

Heading into the bowl game, Burks leads the team with 51 receptions for 820 yards and seven touchdowns. Woods caught 32 passes for 619 yards and five touchdowns. Before going out the season with an injury, Warren caught 15 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns. Knox and Morris each caught seven passes. Knox’s went for 70 yards while Morris’ had 67 yards and one touchdown.