FAYETTEVILLE – Kamren Curl, Arkansas’ best defensive back in 2019, is leaving the Razorbacks to turn professional while it appears receivers coach Justin Stepp will remain the Razorbacks on new coach Sam Pittman’s football staff.
Three-year letterman Curl, first lettering as a starting true freshman cornerback for former coach Bret Bielema in 2017 and starting at strong safety the last two seasons for former coach Chad Morris, on Twitter Thursday tweeted that he is foregoing his senior 2020 Razorbacks season to turn professional for the spring’s NFL draft.
Starting 11 games for the 2-10 Razorbacks in 2019, he was among several missing the final game against Missouri afflicted by mumps, Curl made 76 tackles including two quarterback sacks among four lost-yardage stops, intercepted two passes that he returned a total 22 yards, recovered two fumbles that he returned for 69 yards and forced two fumbles.
Stepp, who accompanied former SMU coach Morris to Arkansas from SMU in 2018 and this past season coached promising young receivers Mike Woods, a sophomore 2-year letterman catching 33 passes for 423 yards and four touchdowns in 2018, and true freshmen Treylon Burks, 29 catches for 475 yards and named Thursday to the SEC All-Freshman team, and Trey Knox, 28 catches for 385 yards and three touchdowns, continues to recruit under Pittman. Stepp is reported by several sources and media outlets soon to be announced retained on staff.
Brad Davis, the offensive line coach hired from Missouri’s staff who was an Oklahoma Sooner offensive lineman when Pittman coached the OU line and was Pittman’s graduate assistant when Pittman coached North Carolina’s offensive line in 2008, has been on the recruiting road with Pittman since Monday night and was officially announced Thursday by the UA as Arkansas’ offensive line coach.
Defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell also has continued to recruit with Pittman, hired as Arkansas’ new coach last Sunday.
For now the UA lists defensive backfield coaches Ron Cooper and Mark Smith and defensive tackles coach Kenny Ingram as still on staff.
Morris defensive coordinator John Chavis, offensive coordinator Joe Craddock and offensive line coach Dustin Fry no longer are listed on staff.
Running backs coach Jeff Traylor has become the head coach at Texas-San Antonio and is hiring Barry Lunney Jr., the Arkansas tight ends coach since 2013 and interim head coach the final two games for 2019 after Morris was fired, as offensive coordinator and also adding on fulltime staff Daniel Da Prato, Arkansas’ special teams analyst.
Morris this week became the offensive coordinator for Gus Malzahn at Auburn.
Pittman, Arkansas’ offensive line coach for Bielema from 2013-2015, has hit the recruiting trail hard while also forming a staff that for now has both the offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator positions unfilled.