Arkansas Defensive End McTelvin Agim is fresh off a good spring of 15 practices.
Sophomore McTelvin Agim is one of the reasons for optimism on defense entering the 2017 football season. Agim came to Arkansas from Hope (Ark.) High School touted as a 5-star recruit. So optimism was high as soon as he hit the campus and he has shown no reason to think he won't live up to the expectations.
Agim played in all 13 games as a true freshman in 2016 with five starts. Agim finished with 27 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries. The spring practices ended on Saturday. Agim is starting at one of the ends and loves the new 3-4 scheme.
"Like I said last week, this defense fits our team better," Agim said. "I feel like we are getting better at every position. I feel we are moving faster now. Everybody knows their assignment and alignment and are getting our checks in quicker. I feel like it’s going to be a good year own defense, definitely."
Another big plus with the new defense is it allows Agim and the others much more freedom.
"It lets me play a lot faster because last year in the 4-3 I was just playing a gap," Agim said. "So now I can really just stunt left, right, either way at that position I am in right now.
"At certain times I can go inside or outside from the same position. Or when we get in a wing set I can move outside. There are certain checks we can get and how I can align to the checks now. Last year we got one call from the same position."
Bret Bielema talked about what he has seen from Agim in the 15 practices this spring as well as last season.
"Sosa is a fun player to watch," Bielema said. "I think he really took some steps in maturity, as well. He’s a very active player. He’s very gifted.
"What he’s got to get better at is probably straining through the difficult moments, the stuff no one likes to play, into the double teams, behind the reaches, stuff like that. Pass rush, he comes, boy. He’s gifted. He’s got a great motor. I think he could be a very good player."
Agim was asked about getting through difficult moments and if he feels that has been an issue?
"That’s something I’ve had trouble with in the past so that's something I wanted to work on this spring," Agim said. "I’ve gotten better with it as these 15 practices went along.
"I could see times when on the double teams I would stay in that crack and Scoota, De’Jon Harris, would come over the top. I see why I need to be there and what it does for the defense when I am taking on double teams. It’s not too frustrating for me. It makes me feel good when I can help one of my teammates make a play."
Now that spring ball is finished, where is the defense at as far as installing the 3-4?
"I believe these 15 practices we feel great we are right now," Agim said. "We are not where we want to be but we feel in the summer we can make the gains that we need to make and in fall camp we can make more gains and be ready for the season."
The spring ended with the team practicing inside the Walker Pavilion instead of a true spring game in Razorback Stadium. How do you feel it went on Saturday?
"It felt good to be out there full tempo," Agim said. "Of course no hitting but it felt to be out there again especially knowing you are going to be out there on national television and the media out here and your family and friends out here. It’s so good to have that environment and be able to play here again."