Based on returning seniors and starters Arkansas could have one of the most experienced football teams in the country.
The only significant change among the offense is quarterback. Losing your starter in Feleipe Franks may not hurt too badly when the quarterback behind him, KJ Jefferson, almost led the Razorbacks to a road upset over Missouri when Franks was out due to injuring his ribs during the “off week”.
Jefferson was very efficient that day throwing for 274 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a quarterback rating of 154.3 according to Sports-Reference.com.
With his performance against the Tigers it is presumed that he could be the leader for the starting job come summer time and camp. Having one year to sit behind Franks who had a very efficient 2020 season (163/238, 68%, 2107 yards and a 17:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio) coming in from Florida the previous four seasons. The Razorbacks needed a solid foundation at quarterback after starting 8 different players at the position. He rose to the occasion and was a very good player for the Razorbacks and helped them win three conference games for the first time since 2016.
Who will provide depth behind Jefferson in 2021 if he is named the starter? Malik Hornsby has track speed and is a highlight reel waiting to happen. A phenomenal high school quarterback, Hornsby will look to breakthrough the depth chart and find playing time during his second season at Arkansas. He was some sort of a surprise get when Sam Pittman and his staff arrived at Arkansas. He has a previous relationship with offensive coordinator Kendal Briles that ultimately helped get him in a Razorback uniform. He received two snaps in 2020 against Auburn in a redzone package.
The third spot on the depth chart at quarterback could be a solid competition. The Grandson, John Stephen Jones and new Ole Miss transfer Kaden Renfro will duke it out. Jones has previous starting experience versus Mississippi State in 2019. Renfro joined the Rebels with the 2020 class. He was moved to wide receiver due to the logjam at quarterback.
Arkansas brings in two talented quarterbacks in during the offseason. Lucas Coley(early enrollee) and Landon Rogers both have displayed toughness and athletic ability during their respective high school careers. Both players are your pro typical Kendal Briles quarterbacks. Both may not play particularly early as Jefferson seems to have a good grip of the position. However, if things go as planned and there will indeed be non-conference opponents on the 2021 schedule then you may see one of them or both play.
Former walk-on quarterback and very experienced place holder, Jack Lindsey placed his name in the transfer portal in the earlier part of January. Lindsey decided to transfer down to Russellville and play at Arkansas Tech. He proved himself during the 2019 season playing the last two games and starting versus Missouri in Little Rock. Nearly leading the Hogs to an upset victory.
PREDICTED SPRING DEPTH CHART:
QB1: KJ Jefferson
QB2: Malik Hornsby
QB3: Lucas Coley
QB3: Kade Renfro
QB4: John Stephen Jones