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Arkansas Spring Football Preview: Wide Receivers

This may be the deepest, talented group of receivers the Razorbacks may have ever compiled.

Tennessee v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Not too long ago the Razorbacks had one of the more inexperienced position groups in the SEC when it came to wide receivers. Drew Morgan, Keon Hatcher and Jared Cornelius would move on with their lives as the former staff had growing pains. Deon Stewart, Jordan Jones, LaMichael Pettway, and Chase Harrell had been college football receivers for a while and it was there time to shine. A young but very talented Mike Woods was added to the mix when he flipped from his commitment with SMU to Arkansas.

However, due to a lack of offensive ingenuity calling the plays they couldn’t get the offense rolling. The offense was stagnant. Maybe worse than that. I don’t know if there are any verbs to describe the Razorback football staff from 2018-2019. Well, outside of Mark Smith, Jeff Traylor, Justin Stepp and Barry Lunney that staff was a complete disaster. A dumpster fire.

Fast forward four years later and Mike Woods has turned into a leader. One of the fastest players at his position. Woods finished second on the team with 619 yards and five touchdowns. Both were career highs for Woods as a junior in 2020. He also showed big play potential as he averaged 19.3 yards per reception. That ranked him third in the SEC behind Jaylin Waddle (21.1) and Kenny Yeboah (19.4). One last stat on Woods that I thought was crazy is that he averaged 45 yards a reception in two games against LSU and Florida in back to back weeks and scored two touchdowns.

Woods, who is one of the funniest men on The Hill, will still be a vocal leader in 2021 for new receivers coach Kenny Guiton. Guiton comes over from Colorado State. He was an assistant for offensive coordinator Kendal Briles while at Houston. Briles reportedly “jumped on the table” to show his support of Guiton who was soon hired as Stepp’s replacement.

Another guy who really improved as a senior and will be back in 2021 for his fifth year is De’Vion Warren. He was solid early on in the season when Treylon Burks went out with an injury. Warren would come up big as a game changer against Mississippi State and Auburn. He recorded 10 receptions for 223 yards and three touchdowns during the first three games. He would tear his ACL during the loss to Florida during a kickoff return. During the offseason Warren was one of the seniors that announced they would return due to the “free year” the NCAA gifted players with.

Both Blake Kern and Hudson Henry return to the tight end room. Kern was a great surprise during 2020 as he finished with 20 receptions for 201 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a couple of long receptions that were negated by penalties. Henry finished fifth on the team in receptions with 16 for 92 yards and one touchdown.

Oh, and how could we ever forget about the S-T-U-D receiver, Treylon Burks, from the wide receiver factory in Warren, Arkansas. Burks exploded in 2020 as many expected to. Burks caught 51 passes for 820 yards and seven touchdowns. He doubled his production from his freshman year. If he can get to 1200 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2021 the Hogs could be rolling. Burks is in the running to be the premier wide receiver in the SEC with Georgia’s George Pickens.

Second year freshman, Darin Turner was destined to be a playmaker early in his career at Arkansas but never saw the field. He has the size (6’3 210), potential (ranked the 14th best receiver in the 2020 class) and is very agile (4.18 shuttle time). He could be a solid red zone target for whoever the quarterback is in 2021.

A forgotten man in the room is Trey Knox. He was the leading receiver for the Hogs in 2019 but seemed to disappear in 2020. He will look to bounce back this coming spring and rid himself of the sophomore slump.

Others to keep an eye on are Tyson Morris (senior), Kolian Jackson (senior) are both capable of giving quality snaps at the position. Morris more than Jackson. However, Jackson has the size and pedigree to find a role for 2021. Jaqualyn Crawford is a speedy receiver that transferred to Arkansas via Oklahoma and was eligible to play in the Texas Bowl against TCU before it was cancelled due to Corona Virus issues.

Incoming players like Ketron Jackson, Raheim “Rocket” Sanders, Jaedon Wilson and Bryce Stephens are members of the 2021 class. It is expected that Jackson and Sanders will contribute early as Wilson and Stephens could redshirt their first years on campus. Jackson is a big time target, similar to Burks and Knox who high points the ball and be a red zone target. Sanders will be the speedster and big play man that Briles likes to utilize in his offense. As the season wound down, Arkansas was striking with big plays and quick touchdown drives. The more playmakers the better for Arkansas.

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART

Boundary:

  1. Treylon Burks
  2. Trey Knox
  3. Ketron Jackson
  4. Kolian Jackson

Slot:

  1. De’Vion Warren
  2. Jaqualyn Crawford (transfer from OU)
  3. Tyson Morris
  4. John David White
  5. Kendall Catalon

Boundary:

  1. Mike Woods
  2. Darin Turner
  3. Jaedon Wilson