It’s the most wonderful time of the year for some of college football teams. However, fans hopes range high to low and back up multiple times throughout the winter and into spring.
The transfer portal has now become more exciting and intriguing than National Signing Day.
Arkansas has reeled in some quality transfers from Power Five schools and one from the FCS level that now plays in the NFL. Head coach, Sam Pittman has turned Arkansas into a destination of such for college football players to have a second chance or improve their draft stock.
The likes of Drew Sanders, Dwight McGlothern and Jadon Haselwood did so just this season. What a terrific job Pittman and his staff have done identifying their needs and developing the players they bring in.
So far there have been quite a few talented players enter their name into the portal in hopes of landing elsewhere fairly quickly.
Here are a few names to keep an eye on:
DB Jonathan McGill-Stanford
Arkansas desperately needs to bolster their depth after a dismal 2022 season in the secondary.
The former Cardinal team captain forced four career interceptions and over 100 career tackles.
12/5 update: I have yet to hear from again after receiving word of mutual interest.
WR Andrew Armstrong-Texas A&M-Commerce
The FCS standout will visit Arkansas December 9-11. He recorded 62 catches for 1,020 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2022 making him a highly sought after transfer.
The Razorbacks were one of the first to offer but many others have, too, including Miami, Wisconsin, Utah, North Carolina State, Missouri, Kansas, Purdue, Indiana and Washington State.
WR Marlon Crockett-Memphis
The Searcy, (Ark.) native has yet to see the field offensively. But, would give Arkansas depth at a position that could see a few guys move on.
WR Theo Wease
The Oklahoma receiver had similar stats while he was in Norman. With 1000 career yards and 10 touchdowns he could one to replace the departing Haselwood.
Arkansas recruited quite heavily in the 2019 class. Thease was the 21st overall recruit in the nation and third best wide receiver out of high school.
COMMIT: OL Joshua Braun-Florida
Pittman recruited this lineman hard while he was at Georgia. Braun was actually committed to the Bulldogs before Pittman was hired at Arkansas.
Obviously, the relationship is already there for Braun and Pittman to finally link up together. He will be in Fayetteville this weekend for a visit.
NOTE: It was initially told to me that Braun would be in Fayetteville this coming weekend December 10-11. Looks like a visit came early and ended with him being committed to the Razorbacks.
QB Jacolby Criswell-North Carolina
The former Morrilton, Ark. native name is trending across the Razorback fanbase as a potential addition in the portal. After speaking with him a few days ago, Criswell told me he intends to visit Fayetteville very soon.
Criswell was a member of the 2020 recruiting class, signing with Carolina after not being courted by Arkansas until Pittman’s arrival. With KJ Jefferson being the only scholarship quarterback, the former Gatorade High School player of the year in Arkansas could possibly be an addition.
DB Khyree Jackson-Alabama
Jackson wasn’t a huge name coming out of high school but was a can’t miss product after leaving the JUCO ranks in 2021. He was ranked as the third best player in his class in JUCO and boasts great size for a cornerback at 6’3 200.
DB Gavin Holmes-Wake Forest
As a starter for the Demon Deacons, Holmes was a factor for their defense during his time in Winston-Salem. He recorded 45 tackles and 3 tackles for loss in his three-year collegiate career.
He looks similar to a Greg Brooks type of nickelback for Arkansas and that position has a focus for blitzes in certain defensive packages in the Barry Odom defense. Holmes is a definite name to watch at Arkansas.
12/7 Source: Holmes will visit Arkansas this weekend, December 10-11.
LB Clayton Smith-Oklahoma
Smith is a former top-50 player in the 2021 class and signed with the Sooners. The former Texas High standout could be a very good addition to the linebacker room with the Hogs losing Bumper Pool and potentially Sanders.
There was legitimate interest between Smith and Arkansas during his recruitment. Linebacker coach, Michael Scherer has done a great job recruiting, developing and coaching his position group which could give the Texarkana native something extra to think about this go around.
Tunmise Adeleye-Texas A&M
It’s been no surprise that the Aggies would face a few losses this offseason with their dissapointing 5-7 season. The redshirt freshman entered the portal and quickly received an offer from Arkansas. He was a national top 40 recruit in his class and ninth overall defensive lineman.
Here is his profile from 12thman.com:
2022 (FRESHMAN): Started the first two games of the season ... Registered one assisted tackle in his collegiate debut at home against Sam Houston ... Tallied five tackles against App State, including four solo tackles ... Appeared in the game at South Carolina.
2021 (REDSHIRT) : Redshirt
HIGH SCHOOL: Coached by Todd McVey at Katy Tompkins High School ... Named a 2021 Under Armour All-American ... Was rated as a 5-star recruit by Rivals and 4-star by 247 Sports and ESPN... Unanimous first-team all-district honoree as a sophomore and junior … Racked up 53 total tackles and eight sacks as a sophomore … As a junior he compiled 45 tackles and three sack while also causing a fumble.
One of the best 2019 signees for Georgia’s class, Norton is built like a tank at 6’6 300 pounds. The Bulldogs can’t play everyone on their defensive line, though. Luckily, for Arkansas it might work out for them.
There is a connection between both Arkansas and Norton since Pittman and the Memphis native were in Athens together during the 2019 season. Norton played in every game this season for the Bulldogs but has only recorded three tackles and one for loss this season.
LOSING IN THE PORTAL