FAYETTEVILLE – For their part in the defensive gem polished by Arkansas securing seven turnovers in last Saturday’s 33-21 victory at Reynolds Razorback Stadium over the previously explosive Ole Miss Rebels, Razorbacks, senior middle linebacker Grant Morgan and redshirt freshman cornerback Hudson Clark were honored Monday by the SEC Office in Birmingham, Ala.
Morgan was named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week and Clark was named SEC Freshman of the Week. They helped pick apart an Ole Miss offense that totaled 125 points its previous three games including 48 points with 647 yards total offense against 4-0 SEC West leader Alabama.
Fifth-year senior Morgan of Greenwood was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for making a game-leading, career 19 tackles, including three for losses with two on Arkansas’ first of two successful goal-line stands.
With Arkansas only leading, 26-21, Morgan sealed the deal. He intercepted the fifth of six passes that Arkansas picked off from previously red-hot Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral and returned it for a 23-yard touchdown with 3:07 left in the game securing the 33-21 final score.
Redshirt freshman safety Jalen Catalon recorded Arkansas’ first of two pick-sixes against Ole Miss with his 35-yard second-quarter touchdown return upon corralling a Corral pass. Catalon, nine tackles, also recovered Corral’s fourth-down fumble on Arkansas’ first-quarter goal-line stand.
Catalon could have been a candidate for either award but for Morgan and Clark.
Clark, the redshirt freshman walk-on from Dallas Highlands zooming from obscurity to starter upon injuries to Razorbacks cornerbacks Montaric Brown and Jerry Jacobs after 2019 starter Jarques McClellion opted out expressing coronavirus concerns, intercepted three Corral passes. Clark became the first Razorbacks freshman ever with three interceptions in a game. He also made five tackles and allowed only one Ole Miss completed pass in his area.
Asked postgame about Clark being a Razorback nobody had heard of, Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman replied, ““Well, they’ve heard of him now. Three times at least.”
Pittman Monday morning informed the SEC Network that Clark will be placed on athletic scholarship at the January start of the spring semester.
The Razorbacks, next playing Oct. 31 at SEC West rival Texas A&M, were scheduled to take Monday off and start bye-week drills Tuesday.
Asked after Saturday’s game about the Razorbacks’ bye-week workout schedule, Pittman cited several recovering Razorbacks who didn’t play against Ole Miss because of injuries, and that many young players normally scrimmaged extensively during a bye week have lower the injury risk since they’ve been counted upon to play immediately.
“Well we definitely have to get healthy,” Pittman said. “So we won’t do as much hitting as maybe teams in my past that I’ve been associated have. You’d say we need to develop young kids, well the young kids are being developed right out there in the stadium on Saturday. So I don’t think that’s needed to be done next week. We have a six-game stretch coming up and we have to be a healthy football team. We also have to get ready for A&M and we have a good plan for that.”
The Razorbacks, 2-2, and Coach Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies, 3-1 coming off last Saturday’s 28-14 SEC West success at Mississippi State, play their Oct. 31 game at 6:30 p.m. on the SEC Network at the Aggies’ Kyle Field in College Station, Texas.
A&M also has its bye week this week.