HOOVER, Ala. — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema revealed Wednesday that a pair of Razorbacks will be leaving the football program.
During a media breakout at SEC Media Days, Bielema announced that wide receiver Eric Hawkins and defensive back Willie Sykes are transferring.
Hawkins, who is entering his senior season, is expected to take the graduate transfer route which could make him eligible to play as soon as this fall. Bielema said he has been working with the 5-foot-11 senior from Longview, Texas on finding a landing spot.
“I told him ‘Hey, you can go somewhere and be the guy,” Bielema said. “We had a conversation and I think he just thought ‘I’m a senior and can transfer and I’m going to take advantage of the rule.”
Hawkins returned 10 kickoffs last season, averaging 22.3 yards per return. He did not record a reception.
Bielema said the conversation about Sykes leaving happened on Tuesday night. He spent just one season on the Razorbacks roster prior to his decision to leave.
Sykes played in nine games as a true freshman in 2015, mostly on special teams. He made nine tackles.
“We’re working with him on options to move on from there,” Bielema said. “He played as a true freshman, so he can go somewhere and redshirt and still be in (FBS). I would expect some place closer to home. I think there are some things he’d like to be closer to home on.”
The former three-star recruit is from Houston, Texas, which opens up several possibilities for a school closer to home than Fayetteville.