Arkansas Razorbacks Gear up for Season

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE – An Arkansas defensive back he’s practicing with and an Arkansas receiver he’s practicing against both lauded Jerry Jacobs, the defensive back joined to the Razorbacks as a graduate transfer via Arkansas State.

Junior cornerback Montaric Brown of Ashdown and junior receiver Mike Woods both cited Jacobs during their separate Zoom interviews following Wednesday’s practice, Arkansas’ second practice of the August preseason.

Asked for thoughts about the secondary beyond returning first-teamers like Brown whom he praised, Woods volunteered, “Jerry Jacobs is looking really good to me.”

Brown explained why.

“Fluid in the hips and breaks,” Brown said. “He is a great teammate. A funny teammate. He’s very versatile. He can play safety, nickel and corner.  He has got all the tools.”

In Wednesday’s closed after the first 15 minutes  to media practice, which obviously has no tackling with the first two preseason practices mandated to be in helmets and shorts and no pads, Woods reported he caught three touchdowns and that running back/receiver T.J. Hammonds, working Wednesday at receiver, caught a TD.

Sophomore standout wideout Treylon Burks “had a good day,” Woods said.

Asked which Razorbacks receiver was hardest to cover, Brown paid homage to Woods and sophomore Trey Knox but for the hardest  “I’d say Treylon  Burks.”

The 6-3, 230-pounder from Warren who caught 29 passes for 475 yards last season.

“I call him Julio Jones (the Atlanta Falcons and former Alabama great receiver) because he has a big frame,” Brown said. “He can do anything. He has speed, power, and even though he’s 230 he can just run by you.  He’s got all the weapons. He can do anything.” 

All the receivers, Woods said  should benefit from adding graduate transfer quarterback Feleipe Franks, the Florida Gators’ former starter.

“As soon as you come out of the break, the ball is right there.” Woods said. “I love the timing. He knows audibles at the line and different things to do. He’s really experienced and mature, and he knows how to run an offense.”

Razorbacks redshirt freshman safety Jalen Catalon  did not practice Wednesday  and could again be battling a knee problem. A  knee injury  sidelined him during the 2018 season-opener for the duration of his senior year at Mansfield (Texas) Legacy High School.

Catalon played the maximum four  Razorbacks games in 2019 that still allowed him to redshirt preserving his freshman eligibility for 2020.

Catalon has drawn praise from  new Head Coach Sam Pittman and new defensive coordinator Barry Odom for his preseason conditioning and attentiveness.

Also not practicing Wednesday were first-team receiver Trey Knox, first-team cornerback Jarques McClellion, backup receiver Tyson Morris and redshirted junior college transfer offensive lineman Chibueze Nwanna.

Rakeem Boyd, the senior running back  off his  1,133-yards rushing  2019 ranks  by far as Arkansas’ most heralded player.

 But he’s not these  Razorbacks’ lone All-American.

Josh Oglesby is the lone football Hog so honored.

Swift sophomore Oglesby netted his All-America honors running Arkansas’ 2019 NCAA Outdoor Track Championships  leadoff leg of the fourth-place 4 x 100 relay for Coach Chris Bucknam’s Razorbacks and led off Arkansas’s 2019 SEC Outdoor Championships third-place 4 x 100 relay.

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic shut down the 2020 Outdoor track season and Arkansas’ spring football practices  before they ever began.

Oglesby, a 5-8, 174 scatback built similarly to  5-9, 185, experienced Arizona State transfer running back Trelon Smith now activated after Arkansas redshirting upon his 2019 transfer, has impressed with his speed, Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman and Boyd both have said.

Noah Gatlin of Jonesboro, Arkansas’ best freshman offensive lineman in 2018 while playing the maximum four games to redshirt but out all of 2019 from an August preseason torn ACL knee injury, has responded well at offensive tackle through two practices.

“Noah Gatlin is back and he is moving well,” Rakeem Boyd said after Monday’s practice.  “You’re not going to come back and just automatic  be Superman. You’ve got to work and he’s worked.”

First-year Arkansas Coach Pittman, spacing an allowed 25 practices between last Monday’s first practice and their Sept. 26 season-opener against Georgia, next works  the Hogs in Friday’s entirely closed  to media practice.

Photos courtesy of Craven Whitlow, CW3, Sports Action

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