Razorbacks' Depth Chart Yields No True Surprises

April 21, 2012; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorback Brandon Mitchell (17) will start for the Hogs at wide receiver in Saturday's season opener at Razorback Stadium. The junior traded manning the back-up quarterback spot behind Tyler Wilson for the opportunity to contribute more on the field. Credit: Beth Hall-US PRESSWIRE

With just four days to go until the No. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks kick off their highly anticipated season opener, a few more aspects of the team came into focus Monday, if we can trust the depth chart printed in the Hogs’ game notes.

Why do I write if? Well, some coaches like to be a little cagey and even deceptive with their depth charts. I don’t understand why. After the first snap, it’s not going to make a bit of difference, but some see such subterfuge as a legitimate strategy.

But from a quick look at the depth chart, it looks about like what we should have expected.

Though he didn’t have a standout Fan Day scrimmage, junior Brandon Mitchell (6-4, 230), joins Cobi Hamilton (6-3, 209) and true freshman Mekale McKay (6-6, 190) in the starting lineup when Arkansas deploys three receivers. Mitchell starting isn’t a surprise for those who saw more practice than that one scrimmage.

It truly is a testament to the strength of his mind and body to make such a move. Playing quarterback and having run the offense for three seasons must have made the mental transition easier for him, but he still had plenty to learn. Physically, playing quarterback and receiver is very different.

There’s much more sprinting, blocking assignments and the punishment a slot receiver can take from head-hunting safeties and linebackers when their ribs are exposed. I think Mitchell is going to have a big impact for the Hogs this season, and I think he would already agree that’s more fun to play receiver than to hold a clipboard on the sideline.

McKay getting the nod in the third spot may not be a surprise but it is impressive. Physically, he’s slender but his height and willing to lay his body out for the ball makes him a threat.

That’s a tall group of starting receivers, there, and don’t forget tight end Chris Gragg stands 6-3. Of the 11 receivers and tight ends on the depth chart, the shortest is 6-0, 205-pound Keante Minor. It’s a sure thing nobody is going to look down on the Razorbacks receivers.

If you are wondering, red-shirt freshman Brandon Allen (6-3, 212) is the back-up quarterback and he is the only other QB on the depth chart besides starter Tyler Wilson.

I guess the biggest surprise for me is that junior Kiero Small (5-10, 255) is listed as the second-team middle linebacker behind Tenarius "Tank" Wright (6-2, 252). I figured he would be penciled into the starting fullback role, as he was, but I thought some other linebacker would fight their way to the second-team spot. Small was an excellent junior college linebacker, but he is undersized and possibly a tad slow for the spot when compared to other SEC performers. His spot there certainly underscores Arkansas’ lack of depth at linebacker. Tank better be ready for a lot of work during SEC play.

Alonzo Highsmith (6-1, 233) is backed by Terrell Williams (6-3, 232) at one outside linebacker spot.

Junior Jarrett Lake (6-3, 223) has nailed down the other outside linebacker spot, but he will go off the field when senior Ross Rasner (6-0, 212) slides from his starting safety spot to the star/rover position. Alan Turner (6-0, 212) will then step into the safety spot.

I’m really interested in seeing how this group functions together with Wright and Highsmith missing so much time in practice. So many are so curiously worried about whether proven All-SEC tailback Knile Davis (6-0, 226) can take a lick, but what has me anxious is whether or not this group will be ready roll when Alabama visits Razorback Stadium on Sept. 15

The Hogs are two-deep and three deep across the defensive front four. They should be better than steady or even strong, but not dominating.

It’s nice to know that Davis reportedly ran well and survived being tackled to the ground in the Hogs’ closed mock game last Friday. But it didn’t prove a thing. It didn’t change the fact that he has struggled with injuries in the past, and it doesn’t mean he will go injury-free this season or that it’s set in stone that he’ll get hurt again.

Arkansas’ Depth Chart

WR 17 BrabdibMitchell (Jr., 6-4, 230)
2 Julian Horton (Jr., 6-1, 194)
4 Keon Hatcher (Fr., 6-2, 205)

WR 11 Cobi Hamilton (Sr., 6-3, 209)
19 Javontee Herndon (Jr., 6-1, 204)

WR 82 Mekale McKay (Fr., 6-6, 190)
81 Demetrius Wilson (Jr., 6-3, 180)
15 Keante Minor (So., 6-0, 205)

TE 80 Chris Gragg (Sr., 6-3, 236)
87 Austin Tate (Jr., 6-6, 253)
46 Alex Voelzke (RFr., 6-6, 220)

OT 69 David Hurd (Jr,. 6-6, 300)
70 Chris Stringer (So., 6-7, 304)

OG 76 Tyler Deacon (Sr., 6-4, 300)
75 Luke Charpentier (So., 6-4, 305)

C 64 Travis Swanson (Jr., 6-5, 305)
65 Mitch Smothers (So., 6-4, 296)

OG 67 Alvin Bailey (Jr., 6-5, 312)
75 Luke Charpentier (So., 6-4, 305)

OT 74 Brey Cook (So., 6-7, 308)
71 Jason Peacock (Sr., 6-4, 305)

QB 8 Tyler Wilson (Sr., 6-3, 220)
10 Brandon Allen (RFr., 6-3, 212)

RB 7 Knile Davis (Jr., 6-0, 226)
33 Dennis Johnson (Sr., 5-9, 213)
20 Ronnie Wingo Jr. (Sr., 6-3, 231)

FB 36 Kiero Small (Sr., 5-10, 255)
40 Kody Walker (RFr., 6-2, 240)


DE 86 Trey Flowers (So., 6-4, 243)
41 Austin Flynn (Jr., 6-5, 260)

DT 54 Byran Jones (Jr., 6-2, 312)
51 Alfred Davis (Sr., 6-1, 318)
57 Jared Green (Sr., 6-0, 315)

DT 92 DeQuinta Jones (Sr., 6-5, 299)
98 Robert Thomas (Jr., 6-3, 308)

DE 42 Chris Smith (Jr., 6-3, 251)
90 Colton Miles-Nash (Sr., 6-6, 261)

OLB 39 Jarrett Lake (Jr., 6-3, 223)
24 Daunte Carr (So., 6-3, 224)

MLB 43 Tenarius Wright (Sr., 6-2, 252)
36 Kiero Small (Sr., 5-10, 255)

OLB 45 Alonzo Highsmith (Sr., 6-1, 233)
25 Terrell Williams (Sr., 6-3, 232)

CB 8 Tevin Mitchel (So., 6-0, 192)
13 Davyon McKinney (RFr., 6-3, 190)
9 Will Hines (Fr., 6-1, 185)

S 35 Ross Rasner (Sr., 6-0, 212)
27 Alan Turner (So., 6-0, 212)

S 14 Eric Bennett (Jr., 6-0, 206)
26 Rohan Gaines (RFr., 5-11, 190)

CB 21 Darius Winston (Sr., 6-0, 191)
23 Kaelon Kelleybrew (Sr., 5-11, 180)

K 18 Zach Hocker (Jr., 6-0, 180)
43 John Henson (So., 5-11, 138)

P 14 Dylan Breeding (Sr., 6-1, 211)
18 Zach Hocker (Jr., 6-0, 180)

SNP 53 Alan D’Appollonio (So., 6-0, 201)
56 Will Coleman (Jr., 6-3, 253)

H 16 Brian Buehner (So., 5-11, 195)
14 Dylan Breeding (Sr., 6-1, 211)

KOR 33 Dennis Johnson (Sr., 5-9, 213)
22 Nate Holmes (Fr., 6-1, 175)
20 Ronnie Wingo Jr. (Sr., 6-3, 231)

PR 33 Dennis Johnson (Sr., 5-9, 213)
15 Keante Minor (So., 6-0, 205)

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