FAYETTEVILLE – Thirteen now former Razorbacks off Arkansas’ surprising 9-4 team strutted their stuff trying to impress NFL scouts Wednesday at Arkansas’ Pro Day inside the Walker Pavilion.
Receivers Treylon Burks of Warren, Tyson Morris, of Fayetteville via West Helena, T.J. Hammonds, of Little Rock, De’Vion Warren, offensive tackle Myron Cunningham, cornerback Montaric Brown of Ashdown, linebackers Grant Morgan of Greenwood, and Deon Edwards, deep snapper Jordan Silver, tight end Blake Kern of Lamar, defensive linemen Tre Williams, John Ridgeway, and Markel Utsey, all went through the NFL scouts supervised various sprints, jumps and lifts.
Burks, the lone junior of the otherwise all senior or grad transfer eight, is the by far most pro ballyhooed prospect of the eight. The 6-3, 225 All-SEC first-teamer caught 66 passes for 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed 14 times for 112 yards and a touchdown in 2021 and was invited to participate in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
“It was a great experience,” Burks said of the Combine. “I’m just thankful for getting an invitation to go out there and showcase my skills and my ability with the top players in the country. I was just thankful for having that opportunity.”
What about his workout Wednesday?
“Today I did the vertical, bench, 5-10-5, ran routes and felt great about every thing I did,” Burks said. “I went into it confident and was just playing football. I’m not sure what my times were, but I feel like I could have had a better 40. But overall I’m proud of how I did today, how I performed.”
Burks said he’s had consistent homeboy advice from a guy who has been there, Jarius Wright, a Warren native and former Razorbacks receiving great and a productive NFL receiver from 2012 to 2019 for the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers.
“He’s helping me throughout this process and just encouraging me to keep going,” Burks said. “The finish line is almost there and after the finish like there’s still another finish line you need to reach.”
Burks said he anguished about turning pro before the Razorbacks’ Outback Bowl victory over Penn State but said players and staff understood him wanting to stay healthy for the Combine and eventual NFL draft.
“You know it was real difficult,” Burks said whether to play or not play in the bowl game. “Just the talk I had with my family and my great grandmother and I was willing to sacrifice that for her and just I wanted to make her dreams come true and also mine. The team was very respectful. They reached out to me and congratulated me for having the opportunity to do that. That just made me feel even better and I’m just thankful for being part of the team.”
Bonus seniors (all who played during the 2020 covid interrupted season had the option of an extra year) Morgan and Morris are outstanding examples of perseverance taking them farther than anybody could have projected.
Both came to the UA as walk-ons during the Bret Bielema era and finished as starters for Sam Pittman’s 9-4 Hogs.
Morgan compiled All-America honors and was voted the Burlsworth Award as the most honored walk-on turned star.
Not so big a star, though to be invited to the NFL Combine which made Wednesday’s Pro Day hugely important.
“I went by and shook every single one of the scouts’ hands afterward because they made a dream come true just showing up,” Morgan said. “The fact they even knew my name was great to me, because coming from a walk-on, no one knew my name.” then, so
Morgan was asked what NFL role he could fit.
“Wherever they’re willing to put me,” Morgan replied. “If they want me to go be the coffee boy, I’m going to go get it and be the fastest one at it.”
Morris, like Morgan a UA grad, was asked if his walk-on to scholarship advancement as a Razorback fueled his fire to become a NFL candidate.
“I know that it lights a fire inside of me coming from a walk on to ending my career as a starter,” Morris said. “I just want to let everybody, every young guy know it’s possible, Even if you are underrated, overlooked, anything just work hard with your head down and it will all pay off in the end.”
Always proud of his West Helena roots, Morris praised Fayetteville as so accepting when he moved here as a high school sophomore.
“Just being accepted by so many different families and what not, this program and Fayetteville High,” Morris said. “Everybody took me in with open arms and I’m really appreciative of it.”
Morgan and Morris completed their eligibility at the bowl game but Ashdown’s Brown had that 2022 bonus year to consider.
He apparently chose wisely being invited like Burks and Silver to the NFL Combine.
“It was a tough decision, yeah,” Brown said of whether to return or turn pro. “But I had to go. That was the best decision for me.”