Better get used to seeing this Hog football team after having 8 senior starters this year (Sandlin, White, Money, Lancaster, Hall, Davis, C. Harris & Petty), it's possible the Razorbacks may only have 4 senior starters next year (Melton, House, Walls & Brooks).
My early, early, early projection of next season's opening day lineup against Boise State -
QB - SO Matt Jones (adds passing game in the spring)
TB - JR Cedric Cobbs (gets the nod while Talley atones for his misdeed)
FB - SO Mark Pierce (bulks up to 227 pounds)
WR - JR Richard Smith (will keep spot until someone takes it from him)
WR - SO George Wilson (best hands since Shibest)
LT - SO Shawn Andrews (begins his Outland Trophy campaign)
LG - JR Scott Davenport (strongest Hog gets his shot)
OC - SR Josh Melton (last chance to make his mark)
RG - JR Mark Bokermann (finds home at guard, needs to find the weightroom)
RT - JR Bo Lacy (looked good in limited action in '01)
TE - SO Jason Peters (TE becomes a weapon for the first time since Joe Dean)
DE - SR Raymond House (ready to finish his career in fine style)
DT - SR Jermaine Brooks (potential All-SEC or better)
NG - SO Arrion Dixon (should play closer to 290lbs his 2nd year)
DE - SO Elliott Harris (too good to keep out of the starting lineup)
LB - JR Tony Bua (small for a SEC LB, but makes up for it with toughness)
LB - JR Caleb Miller (must work hard to keep Jeb Huckeba from taking the job)
LB - SR Gavin Walls (will have Petty-like super senior season at LB)
CB - JR Lawrence Richardson (now has experience to go with incredible ability)
CB - SO Batman Carroll (sends Eddie Jackson to nickel back)
FS - JR Ken Hamlin (just a matter of time before he plays on Sundays)
SS - JR Jimarr Gallon (gives Hogs most physical pair of safeties in college football)
There should be some great battles for starting spots at QB, TB, LB and DB. Great young talent like Tarvaris Jackson, DeCori Birmingham, DeArrius Howard, Jeb Huckeba, Pierre Brown, Clarke Moore and Lerinezo Robinson won't be satisfied with sitting on the bench.
Throw in veterans including Zak Clark, Ryan Sorahan, Brandon Holmes (at FB?), Radale Pearson, Shane Collins, Jimmy Beasley, Eddie Jackson, Marvin Jackson (we gotta get this guy on the field!), Kevin Baker and Bo Mosley, and you have all the makings of a war during spring practice.
Where we need more competition is in the offensive and defensive lines. From the current group of redshirts, James Johnson may be the only one ready to contribute in '02 on either the offensive or defensive lines.
On the DL, Pervis Osborne, Justin Scott, Jayson Johnson and Pat Winn will all have to step up their game if the Hogs are to get stingier against the run next season. In a perfect world, the Razorbacks would be able to keep Jason Peters at TE, but a lack of depth in the DL (especially at DE) may keep that from happening.
If the offensive line starters are to get pushed, it will have to come from veterans Jim Peters, Caleb Perry and Jerry Reith, and possibly a Pat Winn or a Jayson Johnson moving over from defense. OL is one area where a high school stud (like Shawn Andrews) and/or a JUCO All-American could have a huge impact on the Hogs' success next year.
At WR, we're not short on depth - just short on playmakers. I would love to see Marvin Jackson moved to offense full-time before spring practice to give us a home run threat until we can get some new talent in.
So, Otis, here is my MOST WANTED recruiting wish list:
1 JUCO All-American (AA) type offensive tackle who is capable of challenging for a starting spot right away.
2 AA high school offensive linemen who are talented enough to make the 2-deep their freshmen year, but that we are hopefully able to redshirt.
2 additional high school offensive linemen who are talented along the lines of a Mark Bokermann, but that we won't need to play until their third (redshirt sophomore) year.
1 AA high school wide receiver that has the talent to break into the rotation as a true freshman.
2 additional high school receivers that would redshirt and be expected to challenge for PT as redshirt freshmen
2 high school tailbacks (Poole & Williams?) and 1 high school fullback that are good enough to play immediately, but will redshirt
1 JUCO or high school AA type 240lb fullback who is a bruising blocker and capable pass catcher who can step right in to backup Mark Pierce
2 high school tight ends that would redshirt and be expected to challenge for PT their 2nd year
1 JUCO AA type defensive end (Blueford?) that can challenge for a starting spot right away
1 high school AA defensive end capable of getting PT as a true freshman
1 high school AA interior defensive lineman capable of getting PT as a true freshman
2 additional high school defensive linemen who would redshirt and be expected to compete for PT their 2nd year after House and Brooks graduate
1 JUCO AA type inside linebacker capable of challenging for starting job to replace Jermaine Petty
2 additional high school linebackers who would redshirt and be expected to compete for PT their 2nd year
2 high school defensive backs (one true corner, one safety) who would redshirt and be expected to compete for PT their 2nd year
That leaves a few spots available for a great athlete or two at positions where we don't necessarily have a need.
Is this too much to ask?