FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — C.J., Cheyenne. Call the big guy in the No. 85 Arkansas Razorbacks jersey whatever you want to call him.
“It doesn’t really matter,” he said Tuesday after practice.
He is listed on the official roster as “Cheyenne O’Grady,” so we’ll go with that.
Back when he was one of the country’s top high school prospects at Fayetteville High School, he went by “C.J. O’Grady.”
Sometime last year — before his redshirt freshman season at Arkansas — his name on the official roster changed to Cheyenne. He became more and more involved in the Arkansas offense as the season progressed, culminating in a touchdown reception in the Belk Bowl last December. Now he’s looking to take his production to another level in 2017, and with little tight end experience returning, the opportunity will certainly be there.
Asked how the spring has gone so far, O’Grady said, “Honestly it’s been going a lot better than the previous years. I’ve come a long way.
“I’ve gained weight. I’ve gotten stronger. My technique and blocking is always something I’ve struggled on. My techniques have gotten a lot better.”
He’s also a lot more mature. O’Grady said that last year, he spent much more time studying his playbook, adding that, “I actually knew what I was doing. Knowing what you’re doing, you can play a lot more confident.”
O’Grady recorded 41 receptions, 766 yards and 11 touchdowns during his senior year at Fayetteville High and admitted that the transition from high school superstar to low man on the totem poll wasn’t an easy one.
When O’Grady arrived on campus, the Razorbacks had two great tight ends in Hunter Henry and Jeremy Sprinkle. With both of those guys now gone, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will be the primary tight end — a vitally important position in the Arkansas offense.
Sophomore Austin Cantrell played a lot last year, but he is seen as more of a blocker. Jack Kraus and Will Gragg are also options, then there is Jeremy Patton — the top-ranked junior college tight end who will arrive on campus this summer.
O’Grady, though, might be the most naturally gifted receiver of the bunch.
“He’s been really good,” said offensive coordinator Dan Enos. “He’s been much more physical in the run game. … He’s always been a very good pass receiver since he’s been here. It’s something that comes natural to him.
“But the run-blocking part of it has been something that’s foreign to him and you can really see him take strides.”