Jason Ivester

Spring Countdown: Safeties

With the Razorbacks closing in on spring football, HawgsDaily is breaking down who we believe Arkansas' starters are at all 22 positions. We'll reveal a portion of the starting lineup each day through March 28, when the Razorbacks begin practice.

Free safetyJosh Liddell

Sr. | 6-1 | 210 | Pine Bluff (Ark.) Dollarway

2016 stats: 13 games (13 starts), 63 tackles (35 solo), 2 tackles for loss, 4 pass breakups, 2 interceptions (2 yards), 1 forced fumble

Why he'll start in 2017: With 26 career starts, Liddell will be Arkansas' most experienced defensive player this season. He is also the Razorbacks' top returning tackler. In addition to those practical reasons, Liddell will find the field because of his leadership qualities, as well.

Why this spring is important: Although only one enrolled early and will participate in spring practice, six defensive backs signed with Arkansas in this class. Beyond this spring, Liddell will be huge in helping bring those players along. He'll also have to deal with the outside pressure of having Montaric Brown - an in-state four-star recruit - trying to get involved at the safety position.

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Strong safetySantos Ramirez

R-Jr. | 6-2 | 205 | Shreveport (La.) Evangel Christian

2016 stats: 12 games (7 starts), 43 tackles (30 solo), 2 forced fumbles, 2 pass breakups, 1 interception (24 yards, 1 touchdown)

Why he'll start in 2017: Ramirez was Arkansas' starting strong safety last year, so he'll likely enter spring in the same position. He has a reputation as a hard-hitting player, but one who sometimes struggled wrapping up on tackles.

Why this spring is important: While there is no denying his ability to force fumbles with hard hits - remember him hitting Chad Kelly at the end of the Ole Miss game last year? - Ramirez needs to continue working on other aspects of his game. This spring will be big in his development in pass coverage. He'll also need to hold off De'Andre Coley, who also started several games last year and will be a senior, and several talented young players.

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Here are links to our previous breakdowns, in case you missed any of them:

Quarterback/running back

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Interior offensive line

Offensive tackles


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