FAYETTEVILLE -- There is no drama at the top of the depth chart, but the battle for the backup quarterback job is starting to heat up.
Sophomore Ty Storey and redshirt freshman Cole Kelley are the frontrunners for the No. 2 spot behind starting fifth-year senior Austin Allen. They have split reps and both had two good days of practice so far, said offensive coordinator Dan Enos.
"There's really no favorite right now," Enos said. "Those guys are going to duke it out. This is something that probably will go on, I'm sure, all the way through spring into fall camp."
The only quarterback with game experience other than Allen is Storey, who was the backup last season and appeared in three games. He completed just 1 of 4 passes for three yards and the biggest chunk of his playing time was against Auburn when Allen go banged up.
Kelley also impressed the coaches in practice last year, but as a true freshman, they didn't want to burn his redshirt unless it was absolutely necessary. Head coach Bret Bielema said he noticed a slight drop-off in the gunslinger from Louisiana late in the season because he wasn't competing for playing time.
"Last year after a certain point, he knew he was getting redshirted," Bielema said. "I think when a kid hears that... That urgency comes down a little bit."
It could have also been because of a lingering back issue that required surgery after the regular season. Kelley is fully recovered now, though, and is pushing Storey.
Both quarterbacks have caught the eye of Allen, who started all 13 games in 2016, early on this spring.
"(Storey) came out and was flinging the thing around," Allen said. "And Cole, just how natural he is out there.
"Both have leadership qualities and both are the biggest competitors you'll ever meet. They don't want to lose a rep, don't want to lose a throw."
Another player who joined the group recently is Daulton Hyatt, the three-star early enrollee from Attalla (Ala.) Etowah. He will likely redshirt in 2017, but Enos has liked what he's seen from him so far.
"I think Daulton Hyatt is a guy that's got a really big ceiling," Enos said. "He's got great size, he's got good arm strength, he can really run."
As a senior at Etowah, Hyatt completed 121 of 184 passes (65.8 percent) for 2,240 yards, 25 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He added 419 yards and five touchdowns on 74 carries.
Allen has also been impressed with the freshman, who he says has the tendency to be a "little bit laid back," but can also be "fiery."
"He's a little skinny right now, but he's picking up the offense pretty well," Allen said. "He came from the spread offense, so he's got to learn how to take a snap under center and everything.
"But the way he works and the way he competes out there, I think he'll have a special career here."
The only other quarterbacks on the roster are a pair of redshirt freshmen who came to Arkansas as preferred walk-ons: Carson Proctor from Vero Beach, Fla., and Jack Lindsey from Springdale, Ark.