Arkansas is coming off a 9-4 season in 2021 led by team captain, KJ Jefferson’s 3340 yards and 27 touchdowns. One national pundit, RJ Young had something to say about Jefferson for next season and that’s labeling him as a “dark horse” for the 2022 Heisman trophy.
It doesn’t come without merit due to Jefferson’s performance last season where he played well against a lot of the SEC’s best past defenses. Texas A&M was the best pass defense in the SEC last season but allowed Jefferson to throw for 212 yards and two 80+ yard touchdown bombs in the first half before going down to injury in the third quarter.
Traditionally, Alabama has fielded one of the more solid defenses in all of college football throughout Saban’s time as head coach. Even though they finished in the bottom in most pass defense statistical categories they still made it to the playoffs as the number one seed and national title game. Jefferson had one of those unforgettable performances against the Crimson Tide when he threw for 326 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air.
Another reason for his rise to national respectability was his November to remember where he completed 74 of his 96 passes (76-percent) for six touchdowns and no interceptions. If Jefferson can continue his progression as a passer going into the 2022 season, he could be a primetime player capable of slaying the beasts ahead of him. Jefferson is a bonafide Heisman candidate that’s ready to lead his team to a run at the playoffs. And their schedule sets up for it, too.
It’s been quite some time since Arkansas had a player with serious offseason consideration in the Heisman race. In 2012, there was some chatter that quarterback Tyler Wilson could be a contender for the most coveted award in college football. The 2010 season saw Ryan Mallet received similar talk and he led the Razorbacks to their first ever BCS Bowl berth in the Sugar Bowl. The biggest Heisman snub in the history of the award had to be two-time runner-up, Darren McFadden. Arkansas’ do it all superstar did everything he could during the 2006 and 2007 seasons to win the award. However, came up short both times and we all know why.
Can Jefferson buck the trend and win the trophy in 2022? He definitely has the opponents, schedule and talent around him to have a season to remember.
Arkansas begins the 2022 season hosting the Cincinatti Bearcats who are fresh off a College Football Playoff appearance on September 3rd inside DW Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Ark.