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Arkansas Football Countdown: 89 days

Less than 3 months away...

RS freshman Brandon Lewis has beefed up to nearly 260 pounds
RS freshman Brandon Lewis has beefed up to nearly 260 pounds

Number 89 will be worn by a pair of Razorbacks this fall, and both will be worth keeping an eye on.

On offense:

Mitchell Loewen, So.

Tight end

6-4, 265

In 2011, Loewen joined the Hogs as an oversized walk-on linebacker nearly 4,000 miles from home.

In the two years since, the former defensive standout at Lahainaluna High School on the island of Maui, HI, has found a new home -- as a scholarship-holding starting tight end in the SEC.

During his time on the Hill, Loewen has bounced from linebacker to defensive end to defensive tackle to center to tackle to fullback before cracking the starting lineup at TE the post-spring depth chart. He earned the scholarship along with it, and has been making a strong impression since Bret Bielema put his new staff in place early this year.

"And then those two tight ends (Loewen and Voelzke), I can’t say enough about those guys. ... I didn’t know they were walk-ons. But they’ve made a difference. I think they have very bright futures.Mitchell Loewen, I don’t think he’s played the tight end position before. But it was one of the things I told Coach B: I thought he was a two- or three-year starter. He bends well, he’s strong, he’s aggressive. Interested to see him get comfortable and go out and apply some of the things that he does, because he’s a big, physical kid who has a little bit of a streak in him. He’s going to be a fun one to watch."

- Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Ben Hebert

Loewen saw action in five games last season and logged a start at fullback against Tulsa, but holding onto his starting spot at tight end won't be easy. Austin Tate has the edge in experience and is listed at second team, Voelzke came on at the end of last season and caught a TD pass against Ole Miss, and incoming freshman Hunter Henry is one of the centerpieces of the incoming recruiting class and figures to push for playing time in his first season.

But you've gotta love a guy who worked 35 to 45 hours per week to pay back his grandfather for the tuition money it costs him to be Hog before he earned that scholarship.

On defense:

Brandon Lewis, RS Fr.

Defensive end

6-5, 258

Lewis is up nearly 25 pounds since he enrolled from Ridgeway HS in Memphis one year ago today. Though he wasn't listed on the post-spring two-deep, he's one to watch -- Lewis was among a trio of redshirting defensive ends who drew praise from the former staff last season.

D-end is perhaps the deepest position on this year's team, led by senior Chris Smith and junior Trey Flowers -- both of whom could be on NFL rosters after this season. But even if the Hogs get a fourth season from Flowers, Lewis will likely be in the mix for extensive playing time by 2014, along with fellow freshmen Deatrich Wise Jr. and JaMichael Winston.