By Otis Kirk
FAYETTEVILLE — One knows football season is nearing when it’s time for SEC Media Days with quarterback KJ Jefferson, linebacker Bumper Pool and safety Jalen Catalon scheduled to represent Arkansas along with Sam Pittman.
The Razorbacks will begin their rotation at 9 a.m. ET inside the College Football Hall of Fame and The Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center on Wednesday, July 20. The SEC Network will televise Wednesday’s proceedings as part of its coverage of the four-day event, which begins Monday, July 18, and concludes Thursday, July 21.
Jefferson started all 13 games for the Razorbacks in 2021 leading them to a 9-4 mark. He was named the MVP of the Outback Bowl which Arkansas defeated Penn State 24-10. Jefferson completed 198 of 294 passes for 2,676 yards, 21 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Jefferson also rushed 146 times for 664 yards and six touchdowns.
Pool topped the Razorbacks in tackles last fall with 125, including 45 solo. Pool also added 7.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups and a pair of quarterback hurries. Pool, who is a senior from Lucas (Texas) Lovejoy, opted to return for his senior season instead of head to the NFL. Pool earned All-SEC honors from both the Associated Press and league’s coaches last year. Pool enters the 2022 campaign with 349 career tackles which is ninth most all-time at Arkansas.
Catalon was limited to six games in 2021 due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. Catalon still had 46 tackles, 22 solo, 1.5 for loss, two interceptions, four pass breakups and a quarterback hurry. A Freshman All-American in 2020, Catalon has collected preseason first-team All-America and All-SEC honors from Phil Steele ahead of the 2022 campaign.
This will be the second SEC Media Days for Pittman who is 12-11 in two years at Arkansas. The Razorbacks won all three of the program’s trophy games for the first time in history in addition to the Outback Bowl, after totaling just eight wins in the three seasons prior to Pittman’s return to Arkansas. The Hogs rose to as high as No. 8 in the AP poll – the team’s highest ranking since 2011 – and checked in at No. 21 in the final College Football Playoff rankings, tying Arkansas’ highest-ever ranking from the committee and marking its first time finishing the season in the Top 25 since the CFP’s inception in 2014.