Five Surprises Coming Out of Spring

The five biggest surprises coming out of spring practice:

1. Redshirt freshman Colton Jackson.
When the Red Wolves signed Jackson out of Ozark he was as 6-foot-5, 245-pound athletic offensive tackle, who had also played some defensive end. By the end of spring practice and he was listed at 275 on the spring roster. He was someone you noticed as being underweight when he was signed but he started at left tackle to final two scrimmages. He is the typical case of growing an offensive lineman.
Will he start in the fall? The opportunity appears to be there.

2. The Quarterbacks.
We did not see Stephen Hogan emerging as the leader coming out of spring practice, as many expected. And he might not be, officially, since the coaching staff is still mum about a starter. We expect the competition to remain open for all six (Phillip Butterfield, Fredi Knighten, Chandler Rogers and the two who are not on campus yet, Adam Kennedy and Cameron Birse) going into the fall.
But we liked what saw from Hogan, who has some mobility and is athletic. You look at the other QBs, and how many of them can play another position? Hogan was a wide receiver.

3. The tight ends.
Wow what a good-looking group. A friend said to me we now have two "NFL-looking tight ends." And he is right. We all know about Darion Griswold, the 6-5, 225 former quarterback from Dumas, who showed flashes as a redshirt freshmen last season. Warren Leaphart of Morrilton, 6-5, 220. surely looks the part. The other member of the group is Kenny Raines, a redshirt junior. from Lake Hamilton.
At his post-spring game press conference Harsin said he was pleased with the play at that position, citing all three, and said it would be a battle that would go into fall camp.

4. LB Brian Anderson
Coach John Thompson said Anderson, a walk-on from Little Rock Central, played well on special teams last year and when given a shot stopped up and made the coaches notice during spring practice.
Anderson gives the Red Wolves depth at the inside spot and at times in the final scrimmage allowed Q. Lee to move to the weakside LB spot he played so well last year.
"Brian has come on and has given us some depth at that position,'' said defensive coordinator John Thompson.

5. Defensive line depth.
Dexter Blackmon and John Gandy came in as heralded junior college recruits a year ago. They saw playing time last season, but not a lot. With their showing this spring, they Blackmon (6-4, 283) joined the team from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College and saw action in all but three games last year. Gandy (6-0 245) from Blinn (Texas) College played in three games.
"John Gandy really had a good spring,'' said Thompson. "He was on our radar, just not in our focus. Both he and Dexter Blackmon had good springs and give us depth on the defensive line."