FAYETTEVILLE – A starting cornerback opening the Razorbacks football season, graduate transfer Jerry Jacobs has opted out of continuing the 2020 campaign, Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman said Monday.
Pittman was asked during his Monday press conference if Jacobs, the graduate transfer from Arkansas State, would figure in Saturday’s SEC West game plan against the Texas A&M Aggies.
Noting Jacobs “certainly would be,” if available, Pittman said, “Jerry Jacobs has opted out. So he’s not longer on the football team.”
Because of ongoing covid-19 coronavirus concerns, the NCAA has granted permission for players to “opt out” regardless of circumstances of playing while remaining in school and on scholarship.
Jacobs has played all four games for the 2-2 Razorbacks and made 17 tackles. He started the first three and came off the bench in the Oct. 10 33-21 victory behind redshirt freshman Hudson Clark, nationally honored for his three interceptions against Ole Miss, and freshman Khari Johnson.
Junior Montaric Brown, considered Arkansas best cornerback when the season began, has missed the last two games with injuries. With additional healing time from last week’s bye week, Brown is expected to be ready to play Saturday night’s 6:30 SEC Network televised game against nationally No. 8 Texas A&M at the Aggies’ Kyle Field in College Station, Texas.
Pittman also was asked about junior receiver Koilan Jackson posting on social media that he has undergone surgery ending his 2020 season.
“It is a season-ending surgery, but he’s fine,” Pittman said. “He’s doing well. So we’re happy for that.”
Before asked about Jacobs, Pittman was asked how handles situations of a starter sidelined by returning healthy but with his replacement playing well.
“ Aww, you just let them both rep and then you have to make a decision,” Pittman said. “ You now. it’s a good problem to have. You certainly want to give opportunity to both individuals to have a chance to start and have a chance to go out there. The starting part I think means more to the kids than it does to the coaches, obviously. We just want to be able to play the two guys that have been playing well. We certainly know we have different guys who have different values. The guy that’s earned the playing time for coming off the bench because of an injury or something like that, we’ll certainly will respect that, what he’s done in games, too’”
Running back Rakeem Boyd, missing one game entirely and playing through injury against Ole Miss, is one of several of whom Pittman counts on the opening date helping heal by Saturday night’s game.
“I expect him to be full go and he’ll be ready to play I believe against A&M,” Pittman said.
Boyd and sophomore via Arizona Statre transfer Trelon Smith have carried the bulk of the running back load but, the position’s tendency for injury requires much practice for redshirt freshman A’Montae Spivey and true freshman Dominique Johnson.
The off week also created time to work with reserve quarterbacks K.J. Jefferson, a redshirt freshman, and true freshman Malik Hornsby, each employed unsuccessfully in one goal-line situation each behind graduate transfer starter Feleipe Franks.
“The young running backs, Dominique Johnson, he was able to get several carries last week, along with Spivey,” Pittman said. “Quarterback-wise, we’re still trying to bring Malik on, along with KJ. Both of them are young, so we’re still trying to bring those guys along. We’re happy with the progress they’ve made.”
Both because of Monday’s 40-degree rain and to acclimate what is expected to be a noisy Aggies crowd off their last home game when the 3-1 Aggies upset Florida, Pittman Monday practiced the Razorbacks inside the Walker Pavilion with the Aggies’ fight song blaring.
“We’re going to go inside today and crank it up” Pittman said.
Pittman said Monday’s closed practice would be full pads after last week’s three noncontact practices.
Coach Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies also come off a bye week.