By Otis Kirk
FAYETTEVILLE — It’s a new football season at Arkansas and once again the Razorbacks have a different defensive line coach.
Deke Adams was hired to replace Jermial Ashley who came from Tulsa to coach the 2021 season. Adams is impressed with what he has to work with at Arkansas.
“It’s really been fun,” Adams said. “This is a great group of kids. We’ve added some kids to the roster through the portal and other situations. It’s been fun with these guys. They’re working their behinds off. They’re eager. They want to learn. They want to be better. So it’s been a fun group to be with.”
One of the players added through the transfer portal was former El Dorado and Arkansas State defensive tackle Terry Hampton. The 6-foot-1, 314-pound Hampton chose Arkansas after entering the transfer portal. He arrived at Arkansas in late May.
“Terry’s been very impressive,” Adams said. “This is the first opportunity, I guess during camp, to have the chance to see him in pads in person and all that. He’s strong. I guess you say he has heavy hands. … He has a defensive lineman aspect … He plays with great pad level … The maturity and all the different things he adds to the room, he’s been a great addition for us. We’re grateful to have him. He’s going to definitely be a big part of our success this year”
At Arkansas State, Hampton played in 36 games with 19 starts. He had 61 tackles, 9.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks and one pass breakup. With Beaux Limmer throwing up amazing numbers in the weight room for the offensive line, Adams was asked who on the defensive line could challenge him?
“I’m going to tell you, Terry Hampton is… I think he eats the weights in the weight room,” Adams said. “I mean, he is as strong as I’ve ever seen. I mean, he can have a guy in position and hop-toss him in a heartbeat. He’s very, very strong, like I said, and explosive in his movements. So, he does a great job. He’d probably the one that gives him a run for his money.”
Redshirt junior defensive lineman Eric Gregory can also talk about how strong Hampton is in the weight room.
“So I’m really his partner most time with benching and stuff like that,” Gregory said. “And he’s throwing four or five (hundred) for reps. Just crazy. It’s something that I can’t do, basically. And it’s just crazy just seeing how he’s just throwing it up. Like, man, I wish I could do that. And then squat, his number’s like 650 easily. Just, it’s crazy. It’s crazy.”
Defensive end Jordan Domineck came from Georgia Tech where he was impressive. In 31 games at Tech, Domineck started 15 games. He had 103 tackles, 17 for loss, nine sacks, forced six fumbles, recovered three and broke up two passes. His first two practices this fall weren’t that impressive, but he then turned it around.
“They were rough,” Adams said. “I guess rough would be an understatement, you know. But I tell you, man, he’s really come along. Personally I just don’t think he understood our standard and what we’re looking for, but he does now. Our kids have done a great job of bringing him up to that point. He’s bought in. He’s playing hard. He’s running hard. My challenge to him is to continue to keep his weight up and become more physical and do some of the things we’re asking him to do. I think he’s going to be a big help for us this year.”
Adams talked about where Domineck is as far as his weight right now.
“Well I think he’s around 245, 250 right now,” Adams said. “I’d like for him to be somewhere around 255-260 range. And he’s doing a good job with that. But it’s camp. He’ll put some weight back on after camp and all that. So he’ll be fine.”
The other transfer is former LSU defensive end Landon Jackson. The 6-foot-7, 274-pound Jackson was injured much of the spring, but appears to be healthy now.
“Well I’m hoping we can get a lot out of him,” Adams said. “He did a lot of good things this spring. I watched him progress coming back off his injury and I saw him a lot this summer, move around and do a lot great things with movements, so I know he can move. My only question was how physical will he play and he’s answered that question already. So now it’s just getting him back into football shape and getting him back football ready. I think he’s on a good track for that.”
Adams feels the portal allows one to add some players who can potentially make an immediate impact.
“First of all, this portal thing makes everything different,” Adams said. “But you always want to set a base, and you want to set a base with good high school kids. You want to have a good base of things. There’s going to be times where you’re going to bring kids in to kind of fill a need or fill a hole. You don’t want to make a living in that, but it’s definitely an option. But, we want to do a great job of building a base with high school kids, and so we can have kids for the longevity of their time and not having kids jumping in and out, being here one year, leaving and this and that. But that’s part of the football world, right now, and we’re just fitting in where everybody else is fitting in.”
Arkansas will open the season on Saturday, Sept. 3, when they host Cincinnnati at 2:30 p.m. and televised on ESPN.