FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — There is plenty of opportunity to gain playing time in Arkansas’ wide receiver corps entering the 2017 season.
Through three practices in fall camp, Jordan Jones is taking full advantage of his chances. The redshirt freshman has 4 touchdown catches the past three days, according to offensive coordinator Dan Enos. All have come on deep passes, in which he has displayed elite speed. He’s worked mostly with the first team and will continue doing so if he stays on his current trajectory.
“I’ve said since Jordan has been here the sky is the limit for him talent-wise,” Enos said. “He’s one of the best I’ve ever been around as far as just the ability to run, body type, the ball skills and all that. If he can match it with his desire and intelligence, which he’s shown us here in three days he’s on track to do, I think we’ve got a special player.”
Last August, Jones (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) pushed for playing time before the coaching staff ultimately decided a redshirt would be the best option. It made sense considering the Hogs had a wealth of proven commodities at the position. Now, senior Jared Cornelius, who is currently sidelined with a back injury, is the only returnee with more than 2 career receptions.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema indicated late last fall Jones had trouble at times staying focused during a season in which he wouldn’t be a contributor on Saturdays. Still, he was regularly mentioned by the coaching staff as a standout among the developmental players.
Jones is now apparently fully focused on becoming an impact player. Enos and starting quarterback Austin Allen both said Jones had a strong offseason. As as result, he’s apparently become much more comfortable in the offense.
“That guy can play,” Allen said. “I’m a big fan of his. I think he is gonna make a name for himself this year. It’s speed, size and body control for him. He has got the whole package. I think if he just takes that next step he can be one of those guys.”