It’s Christmas in the Ozarks and not too early to wish for the perfect gift that’ll make the Razorbacks football team even better next year.
Though the defense needs to shore up some holes and slow down opponents’ passing games, the best present for the Hogs is home-grown and gift-wrapped with a pretty bow.
Sophomore quarterback Austin Allen is another product of Fayetteville High. He follows the footsteps of his older brother, Brandon, the Razorbacks’ current signal caller who’s getting ready to play his final game in the Liberty Bowl.
Austin, listed at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, is poised to take over the reins at quarterback next season for the Hogs. He certainly has the credentials to step in and become the leader.
If Brandon was a high school star in Fayetteville, then Austin was a rock star. Brandon led his high school to a Class 7A state title game before falling to Bentonville.
Austin twice went to state, winning both games and earning MVP each time. He was the state’s 2012 Gatorade Player of the Year and tossed 75 touchdowns over his last two seasons of high school.
Brandon is one of many fifth-year seniors who had the dubious task of playing under three different head coaches at Arkansas. Austin, who enrolled at The Hill during Bret Bielema’s first year as head coach, has benefited from that consistency.
Austin has spent three years in the Razorback program, with the first year on the scout team and the next two playing backup behind big brother. He’s seen limited playing time, but will get his shot next year. But playing under one coach and one system, Austin has knowledge of the offense and can make a smooth transition. Plus, he could always pick his brother’s brain.
He’s the perfect gift for a team looking for leadership.
The Razorbacks also need to get out to a better start of the season in 2016 and keep the momentum rolling — instead of a mirror image of the last two seasons, where they started slow and finished hot.
Arkansas starts 2016 at home against a solid Louisiana Tech squad before traveling to face TCU. The Razorbacks get Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Florida in Fayetteville — right in Austin’s stomping grounds.