Barnett Joins Hogs At A New Position

FAYETTEVILLE -- Brandon Barnett made his long-awaited debut as a member of Arkansas' football team on Thursday, but it came at a new position.

Barnett was finally cleared academically to join the Razorbacks, and the junior college transfer spent his first practice lining up at cornerback.

Barnett signed with Arkansas in 2005 as a running back, but he agreed to try his hand at cornerback after Arkansas' coaches told him that was a position where he could have an immediate impact.

"Whatever it takes to help the team, I'll do it," said Barnett, who played cornerback only sparingly at Arkansas High School in Texarkana.

But the sophomore made a good first impression in his new role. Barnett intercepted a pass during team drills, causing his defensive teammates to holler and jump up and down on the sidelines.

"I kind of read the quarterback a little bit, but I ain't going to lie, I'm kind of out of shape a little bit," Barnett said. "Coach (Houston) Nutt, he got on me. He said, 'You've got to get back in shape,' so I know that's one thing I've got to work on."

Arkansas coaches said they were impressed with what they saw from Barnett at cornerback, even though he was not allowed to wear full pads like his teammates. He had to wear shorts and no shoulder pads.

"With his strength and the way he's light on his feet, I said, 'Hey, why don't you just come on over to (cornerback) and give it a couple of days (and) let us evaluate you? And if it's not for you, if you want to go to running back, go ahead,'" Arkansas cornerbacks coach Bobby Allen said. "But he said, 'Coach, whatever you want me to do to help this football team, I want to.'"

Barnett is the second Arkansas signee to get academically cleared this week. Free safety Walner Leandre provided a much-needed boost to the secondary when he joined the Razorbacks on Monday.

Physical Practice

The Razorbacks ran through their first practice in full pads Thursday evening, and it took a toll on several players.

Along with wide receiver Marcus Monk suffering a knee injury, fullback Peyton Hillis had to get treated by team trainers after he got hit after catching a pass in between two defenders. He stayed on the ground for several moments before getting up and returning to practice.

Tight end Ben Cleveland left practice after he suffered a strained nerve in his neck. He also hurt his left hand while blocking a defender.

Schedule Change

Arkansas will not hold its first two-a-day today. Instead, Arkansas will practice just this evening. Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said he changed the schedule because of final exams.

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