FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Add linebacker Khalia Hackett to the list of players who won’t be returning to the Arkansas Razorbacks football team in 2017.
The senior-to-be never made much of an impact during his three seasons as a Razorback, and his departure highlights a continuing problem Arkansas seems to have in building and maintaining depth at the linebacker positions.
Hackett — from Douglasville, Ga. — began his junior season in 2016 listed as Arkansas’ starting strongside linebacker, although that was a position rarely used by the Hogs because of their typical reliance on a fifth defensive back.
After three games, though, Hackett was removed from Arkansas’ travel roster, with coach Bret Bielema citing accountability as the reason.
Hackett appeared in eight games last season and did not play in the Razorbacks’ Belk Bowl loss to Virginia Tech. In his three seasons in Fayetteville, Hackett played in 32 games with just 1 start.
His departure gives the Razorbacks even less depth at linebacker as the Hogs prepare for a shift to a 3-4 base defense in 2017. Arkansas returns senior Dwayne Eugene, junior Dre Greenlaw, sophomore De’Jon Harris and redshirt freshmen Alexy Jean-Baptiste, Giovanni LaFrance and Dee Walker at linebacker next season.
With Hackett’s departure, here is a look at the non-seniors from last year’s team that won’t be back in 2017.
- LB Khalia Hackett: See above
- RB Damon “Duwop” Mitchell: The New Jersey native was recruited to Arkansas as a quarterback, then switched to receiver at one point before landing at running back in 2016. He had trouble finding non-special teams playing time and will transfer to Rutgers for his senior season.
- QB Ricky Town: Town signed with Southern Cal and enrolled early for the spring 2015 semester, but left the school shortly after the ensuing fall camp started. He landed at Arkansas and redshirted as a true freshman, then was buried on the Hogs’ QB depth chart during the 2016 preseason. Bielema announced Town’s intention to transfer before the Belk Bowl.
DE Tevin Beanum: Bielema announced Saturday that Beanum would be quitting football altogether. Beanum started 15 games over the previous two seasons for Arkansas.