FAYETTEVILLE – What Treylon Burks couldn’t do in Arkansas’ season opener against Rice proved a perpetual coaching point.
What Burks has done since points the junior Razorbacks receiver from Warren toward eventual NFL stardom.
Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman said as much. He said it before Burks dazzled playing just the first half of the Razorbacks’ 45-3 blowout last Saturday at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock over the UAPB (University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff ) Golden Lions.
“He gets better every year,” Pittman said last midweek before Burks vs. UAPB amassed 138 yards total offense on five plays.
“Last year he was a good player. This year he’s a better player. Depending on what he decides to do next year, he’ll be a better player whether it’s for us or somebody else.”
Somebody else of course would be the NFL whether Burks takes his swift and sizable 6-3, 225 frame to the league next year or opts for a 2022 Arkansas senior year and then turns pro.
UAPB’s Golden Lions would deem him NFL ready right now after Burks on just 4 catches amassed 89 yards and 2 touchdowns and on carry rushed an end around for a 49-yard touchdown.
“Did you watch it?’ Pittman marveled postgame in Little Rock when asked about Burks. “He was the best guy out there.”
He’s been Arkansas’ best receiver since breaking in as a 2019 freshman with 29 catches for 475 yards despite eventually fired coach Chad Morris never establishing a regular quarterback on his
2-10 overall/0-8 in the SEC hapless Hogs.
Last year for Pittman’s 3-7 Hogs playing an entirely SEC schedule, Burks, from since turned pro quarterback Feleipe Franks and one game for KJ Jefferson subbing for an injured Franks, caught 51 passes for 820 yards and seven touchdowns.
This season Burks opened with several uncustomary drops as Arkansas trailed Rice, 17-7 into the third quarter. The Hogs would win, 38-17 but without significant Burks’ production, 42 yards on 5 catches.
Seems “practice makes perfect” is more than an adage.
Injuries had shelved Burks nearly the entire preseason. He prepped for Rice basically off a couple of late game-week practices.
“Against Rice, he wasn’t able to practice and proved a pretty good point,” Pittman said. “For me, it helped the team, actually. If you’re not able to practice, you’re probably not going to play very well. That’s what happened.”
What’s happened since Pittman expected even while marveling that Burks already has surpassed 2,000 career receiving yards.
For these 5-3 Hogs and every game quarterback Jefferson, Burks has 42 catches for 717 yards and seven touchdowns. His career totals amass 2,012 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns on 122 catches.’
While it may seem that lower division (FCS) UAPB was easy pickings for Burks to up his stats, consider that other than against No. 1 Georgia and its nationally best defense giving Jefferson practically no chance to operate, consider Burks against SEC teams this season Against nationally No. 10 Ole Miss, Burks caught 7 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. He caught 6 for 167 yards and a touchdown against 14th-ranked Texas A&M, preseason regarded sporting among the nation’s best defenses. And he logged 9 catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns against 18th-ranked Auburn.
“”It’s a great accomplishment,” Pittman said. “He’s a great player, and he’s not done yet. He’s still got the rest of this year, and the bottom line is we’ll look at where the NFL tells us that he’s going to be drafted. Then I’ll sit down with him and his family and we’ll all figure it out. But he still has at least four or five, hopefully five (if the Hogs win at least one of their last four to be bowl eligible) games left for us before that decision ever has to be made.”
It’s a decision that Burks doesn’t publicly ponder.
“I want to play for Arkansas, and that’s who I’m playing for right now,” Burks said. “The NFL will come later and I’ll worry about that when that time comes.”
Burks has plenty of hometown NFL resources, Warren natives and former Razorbacks receiving greats Jarius Wright, Chris Gragg and Greg Childs, all log NFL experience, Wright and Gragg extensively.
“They tell me worry about the NFL later,” Burks said. “It’ll come. Just put your head down and go to work.”
That’s just what Burks does, Pittman said, and knows he will during this bye week before the Hogs next play Mississippi State in a Nov. 6 SEC game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
“He’s just a wonderful wonderful person,” Pittman said. “Very down-to-earth guy. To me, that makes him who he is.”