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State of the Hog: It’s been an outstanding calendar year

There was not a bit of drop off from any of the ‘Big Three’ Sports or other programs during the 2021-22 athletic calendar.

Texas v Arkansas
Arkansas Athletic Director, Hunter Yurachek calls the Hogs during the 40-21 victory over Texas in September.
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

What is the current state of Razorback Athletics?

You could put a trap shooting team together and compete for titles annually.

It’s been a grueling ten months in Arkansas.

Football ran into basketball that ran into baseball. Mix it in with all the other sport’s success and it was a lot to keep up with. Fans are finally getting a small break before fall sports begin.

The most recent success of the softball program tells you everything about how serious the Razorbacks are at competing for national titles. Those ladies were so close to a bid to the Women’s College World Series that they could taste it. Ultimately, losing to the Texas Longhorns in heartbreaking fashion. Head Coach Courtney Deifel has her program among the national elite. They have navigated themselves into the heart of softball country with Texas and Oklahoma. The best is yet to come and Oklahoma City is the destination.

Wasn’t it a roller coaster of a season for the baseball team? Have we ever seen a group of Hogs nosediving like they did so late into the season only to be two runs shy from a College World Series bid? Personally, I haven’t but these guys rallied during the Stillwater Regional down 10-5 to the host team, Oklahoma State. Robert Moore told his team that they could rally and they did just that.

The unpopular thought floating around on social media is Dave Van Horn only cares about making it to Omaha. Now, let’s rewind. There is not a single coach that is content about just making it to the ‘Emerald City of College Baseball’ as Phil Elson likes to call it. Every coach wants to win it all or they’ve been called to do the wrong thing in life.

The way it should have been taken is that this group of Hogs should be happy for making it this far. Heck, they rebounded from losing 18-5 on the road against Alabama to close the season and travel to Hoover, (Ala.) only to go 0-2 in the SEC Tournament. To make it to the CWS this season is a bonus. Not a single player was an All-American but they had to beat quite a few of them to reach this point. It is definitely something to be proud of.

Basketball wise, the Razorbacks continue to hammer the recruiting trail when they gained their first commitment of the 2023 class in rising senior, Layden Blocker. The 6’2 guard announced via Instagram that he would become a Hog over Kansas State, Alabama, Auburn and Kansas.

There is quite a bit of excitement brewing with the current group of Hogs under Eric Musselman. They will be travelling to Italy and Spain come August for the Foreign Tour. This will be the first international trip the Hogs have had under Musselman. The opportunity to develop chemistry amongst the brotherhood of teammates will be huge as expectations for the Hoop Hogs continue to grow amongst not only fans but national media.

Finally, the Hogs of the gridiron continue to grind towards football season. Sam Pittman’s wild band of Razorbacks are marching toward 2022 with the mindset of improving on last year’s nine-win campaign. If they can win 10-games this fall it will be the first time in over a decade the Hogs reach double digits on that side of the column.

Led by Heisman dark-horse, KJ Jefferson, Arkansas will be looking to spread the ball around the field through the air but pound the ball on the ground with an incredible rushing attack. Rocket Sanders and Dominique Johnson are considered the workhorses there but AJ Green and Rashod Dubinion could bring lightning in a bottle in the backfield.

On defense, the Razorbacks added plenty of depth, experience and talent around the whole defense. Barry Odom could finally have something to work with along the defensive line in a four-man set. Zach Williams, Isaiah Nichols and Eric Gregory could have big years in their third year under Odom. The Hogs also added Jordan Domineck (Georgia Tech) and Landon Jackson (LSU) through the transfer portal. Flexibility to use more schemes could help the Hogs continue to rise into the top tier in college football’s greatest conference.

Let’s not forget about the back end of the defense either. Drew Sanders (Alabama) joins Arkansas linebacker great, Bumper Pool. Dwight McGlothern and Latavious Brini give the Razorbacks high level talent at defensive back, too.

Is ten wins too much to ask for? NO!

That’s the expectation this be the best in all of college football.

There’s plenty to be excited about as Razorback fans. You’re going to have to wait a little over 70 days to feel the excitement again.