Andy Shupe, Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Closer look at Arkansas Razorbacks following nine practices

Arkansas has held nine practices and two scrimmages. Come inside for a closer look at each position as six practices remain.

Arkansas has held nine practices this spring with two scrimmages. One of the practices was open for the first 13 periods and two more had 20-minute windows open to the media. Both scrimmages were open to the media.

The obvious question is where does Arkansas stand at each position after the first three weeks of spring ball. Hawgs247 will take a position-by-position look at each position and what maybe to expect going forward.

Quarterback -- There's no doubt Austin Allen is and should be No. 1. He didn't have his best day on Saturday by any stretch, but it was more of just simply a day when his game was maybe off a little combined with the defense playing better than it did the previous week. As far as behind Allen, Ty Storey and Cole Kelley have both had good moments and some not-so-good ones. Both are smart quarterbacks. It seems that Storey is better at playing within himself and Kelley has the stronger arm. The stronger arm has caused Kelley to take an ill-advised chance on occasion such as the interception on Saturday. Both Storey and Kelley are capable of doing some good things if Allen were to be injured and they had to replace him.

Running Back -- Rawleigh Williams III has shown this spring why he led the SEC in rushing as a sophomore. He has run hard and had a good scrimmage both weeks. He should be one of the best in the SEC again. Devwah Whaley had a nice 51-yard run on Saturday and was just short of the 100-yard rushing mark. He and Williams will be a nice one-two punch in fall. True freshman Maleek Williams has had a very good spring. Juan Day appears to be healthy again and ran particularly well on Saturday. Chase Hayden will join the mix when he reports this fall. It would seem that either Williams or Hayden would be a candidate to redshirt. At fullback, Kendrick Jackson and Hayden Johnson give the Hogs two good options there as well. Jackson has looked very good this spring, but Johnson has also done nice work.

Wide Receiver -- Senior Jared Cornelius missed Saturday's scrimmage and may not be back this spring. He has nothing to prove and with everyone behind him very inexperienced it's a good plan by Bret Bielema and Michael Smith to get every look and rep they can for the others. The first scrimmage saw Jordan Jones have the best day of the others, but then yesterday it was Brandon Martin who stepped up the most. T.J. Hammonds had a much better day in the second scrimmage catching three passes. He had a couple of drops in the first one. Deon StewartLaMichael Pettway and Jonathan Nance have been steady. It was also good on Saturday to see Kofi Boateng step up and grab a touchdown reception. He missed last season after tearing an ACL. The Hogs have four high school prospects reporting this summer and all four are very talented and expect some of them to provide immediate help. Koilan Jackson was at Saturday's scrimmage and is definitely someone to watch.

Tight End -- Gone is Jeremy Sprinkle so a new tight end will have to emerge. It seems that sophomore Austin Cantrell is the leading candidate to get the most playing time. However, Bielema, Barry Lunney Jr. and Dan Enos like to utilize a lot of tight ends. Cheyenne O'Grady seems to one who could emerge as tight end who gets the ball the most. A sleeper in that regard though could be Will Gragg. Gragg has good hands as does O'Grady. Jack Kraus is just a solid tight end who may not do anything great, but is pretty good at all of it. Grayson Gunter played as a true freshman last fall, but isn't scrimmaging due to shoulder surgery. JUCO transfer Jeremy Patton is expected to help immediately as well when he gets in the mix this summer and fall.

Offensive Line -- The offensive line wasn't very good last season and understandably so. They had two players who had started and seen extensive action. It wasn't just the others lacked starting experience, they basically hadn't played very many meaningful snaps. This year, Kurt Anderson has six players back who have starting experience. Dan Skipper is a big loss, but he was the only one who departed. Frank Ragnow returns for his senior season at center. He isn't scrimmaging this spring, but there again why should he? Ragnow has nothing to prove. Him being out has allowed Zach Rogers and Dylan Hays to get very meaningful reps at center. At this time, Colton Jackson and Brian Wallace are penciled in at the tackles. Hjalte Froholdt is at left guard and Johnny Gibson and Jake Raulerson are battling at right guard. Two junior college players who didn't make an impact last season are coming on now. Senior Paul Ramirez at tackle and junior Deion Malone at guard. Malone redshirted last season. Jalen Merrick is still in the mix at tackle. The three true freshmen Shane CleninKirby Adcock and Dalton Wagner all getting good experience this spring. Clenin may be a little ahead of the other two at this point.

Defensive Line -- Sophomore McTelvin Agim at end along with senior Bijhon Jackson and sophomore Austin Capps at nose guard at definite strengths for the line. The new 3-4 has allowed the Hogs to shift around the returning players. Finding an adequate solution at the other end will be big. Among the candidates are Armon Watts, T.J. Smith and Briston Guidry. All three did some good things on Saturday. Guidry was backing up Agim but as John Scott Jr. noted Thursday he wants his players to know more than one position. He likes to get a seven-man rotation with each or at least most versatile enough to play two or three spots. Guidry fits that. Jackson has also shifted out to end some. Daytrieon Dean may have had his best practice on Saturday. The Hogs have a couple of defensive linemen reporting in the fall.

Linebackers -- The new 3-4 makes for four linebackers. Many were worried about the Hogs having enough linebackers to fill those four spots, but they seem to be progressing there in a positive manner. As with the line, Vernon Hargreaves and Chad Walker are having a few players learn both the inside and outside linebackers. Dre Greenlaw is out this spring, but will be one of the inside linebackers in the fall. It seems that De'jon Harris will be the other one. Harris had a big day on Saturday. Randy Ramsey is in the lead at one outside linebacker while Karl Roesler is running first team at the other. Roesler will have to hold off Michael Taylor who had a very big day on Saturday. The offense couldn't keep Taylor out of the backfield. Dwayne Eugene is now at outside linebacker while Dee Walker has shifted inside. Both are capable of playing either. Newcomer Kyrei Fisher is working inside. Alexy Jean-Baptiste is injured, but was looking good at outside linebacker. Giovanni LaFrance is inside, but he too is injured. A couple of walk-on linebackers who have looked good inside are junior Josh Harris and redshirt freshman Grant Morgan.

Defensive Back -- The Hogs will be very deep at cornerback when the newcomers get on campus. The Razorbacks signed some very good defensive backs in the Class of 2017. Ryan Pulley returns after an outstanding sophomore season at cornerback. Senior Henre' Toliver along with senior Kevin Richardson really stepped up big on Saturday. Sophomore Britto Tutt redshirted last season after tearing an ACL in preseason. De'Andre Coley had a great scrimmage on Saturday. Santos RamirezJosh Liddell and Reid Miller have joined with Coley to form the top four at safety. As noted, several in-coming freshmen could see action this fall including Chevin CallowayKamren CurlMontaric BrownJarques McClellion and Jordon CurtisKorey Hernandez was also a part of that class and enrolled at midterm. He is injured but nearing a return. Nate DaltonMicahh Smith and Deon Edwards are others who may help. Byron Keaton is a walk-on who is someone to watch.

Special Teams -- Junior Cole Hedlund is the kicker, but the punting job is very much in the air. Blake Johnson is suspended though not certain for how long. Connor Limpert seems to be the next one if Johnson is out for an extended period. With or without Johnson, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Hogs seek a walk-on punter or two before fall drills. Robert Decker and George Madden are competing at long snapper.


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