Chris Houston, the Razorbacks' best shutdown cornerback last season, decided to leave after his junior season to enter the NFL Draft. That thrusted talented but inexperienced sophomore Jerell Norton into the starting lineup.
The shakeup was apparent early on. Arkansas' secondary gave up 164 yards passing in the second quarter of the season opener against Troy University, and Norton was routinely beat on the deep ball in a 41-38 loss at Alabama.
A day after the Razorbacks surrendered 327 yards and four touchdowns to the Crimson Tide, Norton was benched and senior Michael Grant was moved from free safety to cornerback.
For the most part, the move has paid off. The secondary has allowed only 100.3 yards passing over the past three games, but Norton still gave up a big completion that set up Auburn to kick the game-winning field goal.
"They're starting to feel comfortable with one another. I don't know if it's solely the move of one man (Grant), but it certainly has helped," Arkansas secondary coach Bobby Allen said of the defensive backs. "I think the confidence of all of them has improved."
Secondary — C
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