From Kody Walker, Class of 2011, to Dominique Reed and Jeremiah Ledbetter, who it seems like just arrived to Fayetteville yesterday, Saturday’s game against LSU is going to be extra emotional.
Even though there are three games left in the season, a batch of Arkansas seniors, including those three, will bid farewell to Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in the final home game of their Arkansas careers.
In all, there are 19 seniors on the Razorbacks roster. They’re scattered throughout, as old as Walker, who is in his sixth year at Arkansas and as recent as Reed, who was one of the last commits to the recruiting class as a junior college transfer less than two calendar years ago.
There are the last vestiges of Bobby Petrino — seven players recruited by the former Arkansas coach and his staff. There are those from the first group of Bret Bielema — offensive lineman Dan Skipper, cornerback DJ Dean, wide receiver Drew Morgan and linebacker Brooks Ellis. And there are the JUCOs — Reed and Ledbetter from 2015 and Cody Hollister and Josh Williams from 2014 — who’ve helped mold Arkansas back to respectability.
They may not be the most decorated of classes to leave but hardcore among the Arkansas fan base — and media — will remember them. They’re the crew that helped clean up the mess; the crew that had to deal with the mess of the John L. Smith era and the difficulty of Bielema’s first season; and they’re the crew that has now, no matter what happens the rest of the year, brought Arkansas back to respectability both on and off the field.
These are all the seniors playing in their final game Saturday. Career stats, to date, are listed.
Kody Walker, running back: 179 carries for 754 yards and 14 TD
Keon Hatcher, wide receiver: 115 catches for 1,564 yards and 16 TDs
Drew Morgan, wide receiver: 121 catches for 1,539 yards and 14 touchdowns
Dominique Reed, wide receiver: 36 catches for 673 yards and seven TDs
Cody Hollister, wide receiver: 26 catches for 341 yards and 1 TD
Jeremy Sprinkle, tight end: 61 catches for 807 yards and 11 TDs
Dan Skipper, offensive line: 43 career starts
Taiwan Johnson, defensive tackle: 77 tackles, 16 1/2 TFL, 7 sacks
Brandon Lewis, defensive line: 29 tackles, 7 1/2 TFL, 1 sack
Deatrich Wise Jr., defensive end: 101 tackles, 22 1/2 TFL, 16 1/2 sacks
Jeremiah Ledbetter, defensive line: 90 tackles, 12 1/2 TFL, 6 sacks
JaMichael Winston, defensive end: 57 tackles, 3 1/2 TFL, 1/2 sack
Brooks Ellis, linebacker: 269 tackles, 20 TFL, 2 1/2 sacks
Josh Williams, linebacker: 45 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack
DJ Dean, cornerback: 80 tackles, 4 INTs, 13 PBU
Jared Collins, cornerback: 140 tackles, 2 INTs, 29 PBU
Matt Emrich, holder: Played in every game of his career
Adam McFain, kicker: 12-of-15 FGs, long of 54 yards, 67 points
Toby Baker, punter: 84 punts, 42.8 yards-per-punt average, 36 “inside 20”
They’re bruised but not beaten
It’s to the point of the season almost everyone on every roster in college football is feeling the effects of a physical sport. Nagging injuries, significant and insignificant, plague rosters. At Arkansas, the players have been mostly lucky.
Sprinkle tweeted Thursday night his bothersome ankle would be plenty healthy for the Razorbacks’ game against LSU on Saturday, although he deleted the tweet within an hour of posting. Wise’s hand injury is still bothersome, but he’ll play against the Tigers, too. Austin Allen, who received quite a scare against Auburn, is still good to go, too, after dismantling Florida last week.
Hopes of having linebacker Dre Greenlaw back this year are diminishing, though. A source said Greenlaw won’t play the rest of the regular season because of his foot. Greenlaw was hurt against Alabama, but coach Bielema had left open the possibility Greenlaw could return in late November. The source said that’s now almost guaranteed not to happen. It is, however, still possible Greenlaw is back on the field in time for a Razorbacks bowl game.
Greenlaw, a sophomore, is still fourth on the team in tackles (36) despite missing the team’s last three games.
- Arkansas has kept Leonard Fournette bottled up in two previous meetings. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Tom Murphy writes on how they’ve done it.
- Pro Football Focus still has Frank Ragnow as one of the four best centers in college football. (Side note: What happens if he leaves after this season? Yikes. Conversation for another day.)
- Ragnow also spoke publicly about the death of his father for the first time Thursday night. Our Jason Kersey has the details.
- Our Trent Shadid talked to the Razorbacks players about what it’d be like to beat LSU for a third straight time.
- One national writer has Arkansas getting to that nine-win mark this season.
Low: I think Arkansas is going to get in their late-season mode where they win out this season.
— Bo Mattingly (@SportsTalkwBo) November 10, 2016
- Arkansas’ preseason SEC Player of the Year Moses Kingsley was named to this third national award watch list on Thursday. Kingsley is one of 50 to keep tabs on for the Naismith Trophy, given to the top college basketball player in the nation. He and the Razorbacks open their season tonight at Bud Walton Arena against Fort Wayne at 7 p.m.
- Kingsley was also named to the All-SEC preseason first team by the conference’s coaches on Wednesday. His teammate, guard Dusty Hannahs, was tabbed for the second team.
- Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams are prepping for NCAA South Region Championship on Friday. The No. 7 women and No. 6 men start at 11 a.m. at Agri Park in Fayetteville against 25 other teams.
- Maria Fassi, an Arkansas sophomore golfer, is tied for third at the Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico City after the first round. She’s one of only three amateur competitors in the 35-woman field and just three strokes off the lead.
- If you’re going to be around campus at 6 p.m., prepare yourself for traffic. Besides the men’s basketball game at BWA at 7 p.m., the soccer team is hosting Memphis in the first round of the NCAA Tournament just down the road at Razorback Field. The game marks the first time the Razorbacks (17-5) have hosted an NCAA Tournament game.
Yee-Haw! Today in Arkansas
Not going the funny or ironic route. Instead, appreciation.
Friday is Veterans Day and the Arkansas athletic department is showing respect to our servicemen and servicewomen ahead of it.
Looking good, DWRRS.
Razorback Stadium is illuminated in green! It's a tribute to all those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. This is awesome! pic.twitter.com/6AnedYxUr8
— Katelynn Zoellner (@5NEWSKatelynn) November 11, 2016