Summer moves along and more watch lists continue to roll out. Late this week, three more watch lists were released that included Razorbacks.
As always, it’s important to note that a player does not have to be on the preseason watch list to win the award.
Dan Skipper was named to the Outland Trophy watch list, the award given to the nation’s top lineman.
One of just two returning lineman in the conference to earn All-SEC honors from the league head coaches and the Associated Press in 2015, Skipper started all 13 games at right tackle and finished second on the team with an 83 percent offensive grade. Participating in more than 900 snaps, Skipper earned an 80 percent grade or better in a team-best 12 games, including the final seven, and graded the highest on the offensive line four times.
The Arvada, Colorado, native totaled 53 knockdowns and didn’t commit a penalty over the final nine games of the season. He helped the Arkansas offensive line lead the SEC in fewest sacks allowed for the third straight year and paved the way for running back Alex Collins to run for more than 1,500 yards and become just the third player in SEC history with three straight 1,000-yard campaigns to begin his career.
At 6-foot-10, 326-pounds, Skipper enters his senior campaign as the most experienced member of the Razorback offensive line with 34 consecutive career starts.
Punter Toby Baker was named to the Ray Guy Award watch list, the award given to the nation’s top punter.
Baker enters 2016 as Arkansas’ starting punter for the second-consecutive season. He averaged 41.2 yards per punt last season, punting 43 times for 1,772 yards.
Baker showed tremendous accuracy as he placed 23 punts inside the 20-yard line – including 13 of his last 22 – with only two touchbacks. In addition, he boomed six punts 50-plus yards, allowed only 125 yards on 18 returns, and did not have a punt blocked. He had previously been named a nominee for the Ray Guy Award on Oct. 30, 2015 for his efforts during the first seven games of the season.
And Deatrich Wise added another Watch List to his preseason hype with a spot on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list, the award given to the nation’s top defensive player.
Wise tallied 31 tackles – including 10.5 for loss – and eight sacks in 13 games played last season. All eight of his sacks came during Southeastern Conference (SEC) play, which led the league in that category during the regular season.
The Carrollton, Texas, product was especially dominant during the month of November as he recorded seven sacks through the final four regular-season contests, a figure that paced the SEC and ranked second nationally during that stretch. Wise was named the SEC Co-Defensive Lineman of the Week on Nov. 30, 2015, for his efforts against Missouri in the Battle Line Rivalry. He became the sixth different Razorback to be honored with a weekly award from the SEC in 2015 after registering two sacks with a forced fumble during Arkansas’ 28-3 win.
Wise has recorded 11 of his 13 career sacks against SEC opponents, including at least a half-sack in six of the last nine conference games he’s played in.
Wise is one of nine returning defensive starters that helped the Razorbacks hold 12 of 13 opponents below their season rushing average in 2015. Allowing only 116.46 yards per game on the ground, Arkansas ranked second in the SEC and 12th nationally in rushing defense.