The Razorbacks have a true defensive specialist running the show defensive coordinator. The former Missouri head coach, Barry Odom defense finished 14th in the country in total defense (312.0 ypg) and third in the Southeastern Conference in 2019. That same defense surrendered only 19.4 points per game good for 17th in all of college football. Arkansas’ defense never really got the wheels churning despite having a handful of players drafted the past two seasons. The opportunity is there for the Razorbacks defense to be very improved just this fall.
One thing the previous staff did do was recruit a solid group of players that signed with Arkansas in their two classes. That includes Bumper Pool, Joe Foucha, and Dorian Gerald in the 2018 class who all project as starters for 2020. In the 2019 class Devin Bush, Mataio Soli and Greg Brooks all started or played in a game last season. They are all expected to play or start this fall in the secondary. 2020 signee Julius Coates is a man amongst boys and looks really, really good at his defensive end position. He certainly looks the part of an NFL pass rusher so if he has a good year he could be a one and done for the Hogs. Add in impact transfers Xavier Kelly, Levi Draper and Jerry Jacobs and you have standouts at all three levels that you added this offseason on defense. You best bet this will be improved, sound tackling and talented this coming fall.
In a league that is spread heavy predicated on the pass, look to see five to six defensive backs on any given play. His Missouri defense last season gave up only 179.3 yards per game through the air and that was good enough for seventh in the country. A secondary that has been very young for some time now are older and with better coaching should be good this season. Montaric Brown, Jacobs, Jarques McClellion all should be starters on opening weekend. Add in LaDarrius Bishop, Brooks, Malik Chavis, Khari Johnson, and Bush could’ve a formidable back end and improve on their mid-pack pass defense that gave up 229 yards per game last season.