Year one under Chad Morris was a bit of a disaster for Arkansas as the Razorbacks went 2-10, one of their worst results in recent history. Granted, Morris was revamping the entire offense while playing in the SEC West, but it was a tough start for the former Clemson coordinator. On the bright side, Arkansas has punched way above their weight class in recruiting in his first two years, so I’m bullish about the future for Arkansas.
SMU grad transfer Ben Hicks will take over the offense at the QB spot. Hicks was Morris’ starter when Morris coached at SMU before taking the job at Arkansas. Texas A&M transfer Nick Starkel also joins the team, but Hicks has to be seen as the favorite.
Last year’s top back, Texas A&M transfer Rakeem Boyd, returns after averaging 6.0 YPC as a sophomore last year, and five of the top six return in the receiving game along with the addition of three highly touted freshmen: Treylon Burks, Trey Knox, and tight end Hudson Henry. The line sees some pretty big turnover with just two starters back, but the Razorbacks add in JUCO transfer Myron Cunningham and Notre Dame transfer Luke Jones. With Morris now having had two seasons to implement his scheme, I expect big things from this offense in 2019.
The defense returns six starters from last year’s team, mostly in the front seven, led by all-conference MLB De’Jon “Scoota” Harris, who led the team in tackles and also brought in two sacks, seven TFL, and five PBUs last year. DT McTelvin Agim added 4.5 sacks and 5.5 TFL of his own, and corner Jarques McClellion had seven PBUs as a true freshman.
A few new faces may be asked to step up, like end Mataio Soli and nickel Jalen Catalon, both of whom are expected to be great players, but with Morris’ recent recruiting success, this defense is built for the future, with plenty of underclassmen expected to get significant experience in the two-deep. I expect the group to improve in year two under the new 4-3 scheme.
Morris didn’t have the most exciting year one, but it is hard not to be excited about the future for Arkansas. The schedule is about as light as it could be considering they have six top-25 opponents baked into the schedule by default, and there is enough young talent on this team that I don’t think a bowl bid is an unrealistic goal.
|Date||Opponent||OPp. rank||Proj. Margin|
|7-Sep||at ole miss||48||-6.4|
|21-Sep||san jose state||116||15.0|
|28-sep||vs. texas A&M (arlington, tx)||11||-13.1|
Average Projected Record: 5.0 wins, 7.0 losses (1.5 wins, 6.5 losses)