Knox back with the Razorbacks

Razorback Trey Knox (#7) from Murfreesboro, TN, at the time a wide receiver, blocks as a tight end against Ole Miss in the 2021 season at Vaught Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, MS.

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE – A major plus to the Razorbacks’ “thud” indoors spring practice last Saturday inside the Walker Pavilion is that that Trey Knox was part of the thudding.

Arkansas’ senior tight end converted from wide receiver had been in concussion protocol since injured in an automobile accident during the UA’s spring break but was cleared last week and able to partake of the thud scrimmage which featured full pads contact short of tackling to the ground.

“I feel great,” Knox said after last Saturday’s thudding. “Sat out for a little bit. Had to get my head right. I had a concussion. But I felt great today.”

Since switched from receiver to tight end the 6-5 native of Murfreesboro, Tenn. has bulked up for his new position.

“This weight’s been great and I’m feeling good,” Knox said. “So I mean, I’m back.”

How much has he put on?

“Put on about 20 pounds,” Knox said. “So I’m weighing about 240. It was pretty hard, but you know, gotta keep eating. That’s really the biggest thing is eating and eating. Especially when you get in times like this and you’re going and going you have to eat or you’ll lose weight. The transition has been very very fun. I love playing tight end. I think I can make a lot of money playing tight end. So I’ve been having my fun with it and you know just gonna see what it does this next season.”

Starting fourth-year junior quarterback KJ Jefferson said Knox has retained his wide receiver speed even bulked up at tight end,

“The mismatches that he creates,” Jefferson said. “I mean coming from as a receiver and still having that receiver mindset of just being able to get the ball and make plays and make guys miss him in space. That’s the main thing. I consider him a flex tight end because we still line them up outside at receiver and maybe a linebacker comes out there on him or a nickel or something like that. I mean with the size he has and the hands that he has, I mean, he’s a mismatch problem.”

Coach Sam Pittman was asked to assess Knox’s return.

“Yeah, I like him,” Pittman said.

He explained the receivers skills that Knox brings to tight end.

“He’s different,” Pittman said. “It’s like a running back that you put him on the field and he does something different than the other ones you have. Trey’s kind of the total package in there. He’s got a little more speed when he’s on the field. He looks great. He’s gained quality weight. He allows us to stretch vertically the nickels, the safeties, the boundary, field safeties. I think he’s a good matchup, his speed on that speed. I think he becomes a good matchup for us.”

Knox’s best statistical year was catching 28 pass for 385 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman wideout for Chad Morris’ 2-10 overall, 0-8 in the SEC Razorbacks.

Knox’s stats production dipped the last two years under Pittman, 7 catches for 70 yard’s in 2020 and 20 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown in 2021, but the Hogs improved to 3-7 for an entirely SEC 2020 schedule and 9-4 last year.

Knox credits the team improvement to what Pittman brought to the team and believes he’ll be a bigger part of continuing the team’s improvement at his new position.

“I think he (Pittman) just restored the hope,” Knox said. “We say it all the time. This man, he could finish his coaching career here. We love him, the fans love him, and he’s brought that grittiness, that toughness that we’re going to go out there every week and hit you in the mouth until you quit. I think that’s what he’s brought to the table.”

Pittman said he has a “no compete” cause in his forthcoming contract he’s agreed to assuring he’s coaching nowhere but Arkansas.

“They can fire me whenever they get good and ready to, but I can’t leave if that makes sense,” Pittman said. “Don’t want to anyway.”

Since Bobby Petrino’s forced exit in the spring of 2012 the Razorbacks one year of interim coach John L. Smith, five years of Bret Bielema with three different defensive coordinators and two different offensive coordinators and one year and a second two games short under Morris fired and leaving tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. finishing as head coach.

Lunney now is Bielema’s offensive coordinator at Illinois.

Pittman starts his third Arkansas season with defensive coordinator Barry Odom and offensive coordinator Kendal Briles intact.

“You have 130 schools,” Pittman said. “Eight of them have their head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators still there in the last three years is what I read somewhere. Eight schools that have the head coach, OC and DC of 130 going into their third season. So, we’re trying to sell this contract as stability.”

Arkansas’ final three spring practices Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are closed to the public and to media.

Pittman said last Saturday he had scheduled a typical Tuesday thud practice, a light practice Thursday and a light session Saturday for the first and second-teamers and a scrimmage for the third-teamers.

All this workouts were scheduled for the Walker Pavilion with the Reynolds Razorback Stadium this week belonging to preparing it for Saturday’s Garth Brooks concert.

Heartfelt condolences to the family of Brian Wallace, lettering from 2015-2018 as a solid Razorbacks offensive tackle and popular teammate dying last week at only 26 of multiple heart attacks.

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