Commentary: Redshirts Doing Well

Here's a commentary from HI.com publisher Clay Henry on the progress of the freshmen class with special emphasis on the redshirts.

It seems like this is asked about twice a week, so I've put this in story form for the front page and I can refer to it with links when folks ask about the redshirts on the message boards.

First, the best of this class have already made it onto the field. And, it's an outstanding class.

When you talk about guys like Shawn Andrews, Mark Pierce, Matt Jones, Batman Carroll, Decori Birmingham, David Carlton, Tarvaris Jackson and Jeb Huckeba, you are talking about special talents. These are the freshmen you've already seen on the field and you know these guys are good.

But just because they aren't playing now doesn't mean they aren't good prospects. This is a good, good freshman class.

What you need to remember is that a lot of them that are good prospects are now with the scout team, and what they do in practice goes right by me. So, I may not can really talk about all of them. And, because I don't, doesn't mean they have no chance of being good players in good time.

De'Arrius Howard is going to be a good one. He came in battling dehydration and maybe was a bit over weight. Part of that was becaused of a summer inner ear infection. Part of that might have been because he thought he needed to be bigger. I'm not sure which contributed the most to his problems. For whatever reason, he wasn't in shape (mental and physical) to play this season. But, of late, I have noticed him doing more and more good stuff with the scout team. He will be fine.

James Johnson is going to help in the defensive line. He had knee problems to start two-a-days, but has been pretty good lately. He's in great condition. He's big and fast. He has a little waist for a big guy and is extremely strong. When you see him at practice, you think athlete. He'll be a factor, maybe as soon as this spring.

Kyle Dickerson looked good in two-a-days. I think he was close to getting some playing time early on, but Birmingham and Pierce outdid him by a little. He's working hard in the weight room, and has been good on the scout team.

Lerinezo Robinson has been good in the secondary. He's probably destined to be a safety, but he's helping out at corner on the scout team. He was another one who was close to getting some time on the special team. He started out slowly, but took off after about three weeks. They are excited about him and he'll be a factor at safety in the spring. He's a guy who's always among the first on the field at practice and loves being a Razorback. He has athletic ability and can play on this level.

Pierre Brown and Clark Moore are both working hard on the scout team at linebacker. They can play in the SEC, but need a redshirt year to gain a bit more maturity. I've seen them both step in during middle drills and lay some big-time hits on backs, so I know they can do it. They weren't needed this year, so it was good that they redshirted. Count these two as good recruits and we'll see them on the field next year in special teams and maybe see them in the two-deep.

I'll put Jared Hicks and Kyle Roper in one paragraph. Both have a ways to go to be SEC offensive linemen. They are working hard and have a chance, but it's going to take a couple of years in the weight room. Both are doing well with the scout team, but aren't big enough. Remember, both are converted tight ends. They can run as far as offensive linemen go, but not well enough to help at TE. They are just what they were advertised as ... a bit of a project to play in the offensive line.

Caleb Ceasar and Michael Robinson are both wide receiver candidates that came here rehabbing high school injuries. Ceasar has an ACL rehab and Robinson is coming back from a broken leg. Both tried to practice in two-a-days, but couldn't make it through the second workout. Both have begun to hit their stride. I think both will be SEC-type WRs, but so far have not done anything in practice to really distinguish themselves. They are not full speed. Don't judge them until they are completely healthy, and that will be in the spring.

I may have missed someone, and if I did, I apologize. Those are the guys that I can think of, and that I have an opinion about.


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