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Texas A&M Football

Departures figure to be a challenge for Pittman & Razorbacks in 2022

July 5, 2022

In 2021, Arkansas posted more victories (nine) than the Razorbacks managed in the three seasons combined before coach Sam Pittman’s arrival.

Pittman has brought the Razorbacks back to Southeastern Conference prominence, but can he keep them there?

Arkansas certainly thinks so.

Pittman was rewarded with a new five-year deal with a base salary of $5 million a year.

But with more money comes more expectations. Quite frankly, duplicating last season’s success won’t be easy.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Pittman and the Razorbacks defeated Texas A&M last season for the first time since 2011.

All-SEC receiver Treylon Burks, All-SEC defensive back Montaric Brown and sacks leader Tre Williams are among the six offensive and seven defensive starters that have departed.

But quarterback KJ Jefferson and four offensive linemen return. Safety Jalen Catalon, who missed seven games because of injury, is among the SEC’s best at his position when healthy. He’s healthy again.

Like Pittman, the Razorbacks cashed in last season via the transfer portal. They’re hoping to do the same with receiver Jadon Haselwood coming over from Oklahoma and linebacker Drew Sanders arriving from Alabama.

However, that might not be enough to match last year’s win total. Still, if there is a drop-off, it doesn’t figure to be dramatic.

The Razorbacks were largely insignificant in eight seasons under John L. Smith, Bret Bielema and Chad Morris.

Pittman has restored pride to a proud program.

Area of strength: KJ Jefferson is a serious threat as a passer and a runner. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, either. Last season was a “break out” year. This season could be just as good if his receivers pan out. He’ll also operate behind a veteran offensive line that returns four starters.

Area of concern: From where will the pass rush come? Maybe not from the defensive line, which loses three 2021 starters. That includes the departed Tre Williams, who led the Razorbacks with six sacks. Run stuffer John Ridgeway is gone to the NFL. That leaves the Razorbacks with DE Zach Williams, who had three sacks in 2021. They’re counting on defensive tackle Isaiah Nichols and newcomers to fill gaps. Also of concern, interior lineman Taurean Carter sustained a knee injury in spring practice. His availability for the season remains in question.

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Receiver Jadon Haselwood is a key addition for Arkansas out of the transfer portal.

Impact newcomer: Oklahoma transfer Jadon Haselwood caught 39 passes and scored six touchdowns in 2021. That’s solid production, but he’ll be asked to do a lot more in Fayetteville. Someone has to fill the shoes of Tennessee Titans' first-round draft choice Treylon Burks, who had more than 1,100 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns last season.

Top players

  • QB KJ Jefferson: In his first year as a stater, Jefferson passed for 2,676 yards and rushed for 664. He accounted for 27 touchdowns (21 passing, six rushing) and only threw four interceptions.
  • C Ricky Stromberg: Arkansas led the SEC in rushing last season. Stromberg is a big reason why. He’s one of the best centers in the SEC.
  • LB Bumper Pool: There are other players on the Razorbacks' defense with more NFL potential, but Pool is consistently productive. He’s posted at least 94 tackles in each of the last three seasons. He was third in the SEC last year with 125 stops.

2022 Arkansas schedule

  • Sept. 3 vs. Cincinnati
  • Sept. 10 vs. South Carolina
  • Sept. 17 vs. Missouri State
  • Sept. 24 vs. Texas A&M (in Arlington)
  • Oct. 1 vs. Alabama
  • Oct. 8 at Mississippi State
  • Oct. 15 at BYU
  • Oct. 29 at Auburn
  • Nov. 5 vs. Liberty
  • Nov. 12 vs. LSU
  • Nov. 19 vs. Ole Miss
  • Nov. 26 at Missouri
Discussion from...

Departures figure to be a challenge for Pittman & Razorbacks in 2022

5,874 Views | 7 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by aggieclay
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True Texan
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Also, I think that Arkansas benefited from a lot of 6 year seniors last year,
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True Texan said:

Also, I think that Arkansas benefited from a lot of 6 year seniors last year,

Very much so they've benefited from six year seniors.
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Arkansas should have a really good rushing attack again but yeah WR is a question mark. If Georgia Tech transfer Jordan Domineck pans out at DE and Dwight McGlothern from LSU lives up to the billing at CB then the defense should be pretty solid.

Tough schedule though. Probably not much separating 7-5 from 10-2 kinda like a lot of the SEC West.
Emilio Fantastico
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Speaking of 6th year seniors, how long has Bumper Pool been there. Seems like 10 years.
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Arkansas is probably going to be undefeated with a win over what will turn out to be an overrated Cincy team when they come to Dallas. Assuming we get what we need from the QB position that could be a very big statement win for the Ags. I personally think we will be the far superior team this year and were last year as well.
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We'll have a hard time with them, like always. We lost a lot too and who knows how the underclassmen will perform. Just give the ball to Achane.
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