Arkansas hosted its seniors with a banquet at the Town Center on Friday night. The big news came when Bret Bielema announced that scholarships had been awarded to walkons Toby Baker, Karl Roesler and Nicholas Thomas-Smith. Baker is a junior punter, Roesler a sophomore defensive end and Thomas-Smith a junior linebacker.
A total of 14 awards were given out by coaches and captains.
Senior quarterback Brandon Allen, junior tight end Hunter Henry and junior running back Alex Collins were named Team MVPs.
Allen led the SEC with 29 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 165.2. He tossed 19 touchdown passes during Arkansas’ 5-1 record over the second half of the season, helping him surpass Ryan Mallett as Arkansas’ career leader with 63 touchdown passes, a mark that is tied for 20th all-time in SEC history. Adding to his resume, Allen became the third player in Arkansas history to throw for 3,000 yards in a season thanks to a trio of 400-yard games, a program-best.
Henry led all SEC tight ends with 46 receptions. His 647 receiving yards, 32 first down catches and 19 plays of 15-plus yards were tops nationally among tight ends. After earning a spot on four All-America teams, Henry was named a consensus All-American by the NCAA. He also captured the 2015 John Mackey Award as the nation’s most outstanding collegiate tight end.
Collins became just the third player in SEC history to begin his career with three straight 1,000 yard seasons. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida native joined former Razorback Darren McFadden and Georgia great Herschel Walker on the esteemed list. Collins’ nine 100-yard rushing games are tied with Alabama Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry and LSU’s Leonard Fournette for the SEC lead and just one off of McFadden’s program record of 10 set in 2007.
Collins’ 1,392 rushing yards are the third-most in Arkansas single-season history while his 17 touchdowns are tied for second and just two off the record of 19 set in 1969. Out of Collins’ nine 100-yard rushing games, six came in league play.
The Razorbacks will play in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Jan. 2, 2016 in Memphis, Tennessee against the Kansas State Wildcats. The game will kick off at 2:20 p.m. and be nationally televised on ESPN.
The full list of awards handed out is below:
Scholastic Award: Junior LB Brooks Ellis and senior RB Jonathan Williams
Rookie of the Year (Offense): Junior WR Dominique Reed
Rookie of the Year (Defense): Freshman LB Dre Greenlaw
Scout Team Award (Offense): Freshman TE Austin Cantrell
Scout Team Award (Defense): Redshirt freshman DL Jake Hall
Scout Team Award (Special Teams): Freshman WR Deon Stewart
Razorback Power Award: Senior DL Mitchell Loewen
Natural State Award: Senior OL Mitch Smothers and junior TE Jeremy Sprinkle
Special Teams Award: Junior P Toby Baker
Offensive Coach Appreciation: Senior OL Sebastian Tretola and junior WR Drew Morgan
Defensive Coach Appreciation: Senior DL DeMarcus Hodge, sophomore DB Kevin Richardson and senior DB Rohan Gaines
Captains Segment: Senior QB Brandon Allen, senior RB Jonathan Williams, junior DL JaMichael Winston, junior LB Brooks Ellis
Captains Cup Award: Director of Academics Ragean Hill
Team MVPs: Senior QB Brandon Allen, junior TE Hunter Henry and junior RB Alex Collins