FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) - When the 2017 Arkansas baseball season ended, most expected to see the big names on the roster head for the pros.
Pitcher Blaine Knight, second baseman Carson Shaddy and outfielder/DH Luke Bonfield were destined to play pro baseball.
"To be honest with you, I thought there was no way I’d be coming back," Shaddy said.
"It was a 50/50 shot," said Knight.
"Probably like 10 percent," Bonfield said of the odds he came back to college.
But as the draft rolled on, the three didn't get what they wanted. So they decided to come back to do one thing with the Hogs. Win a national championship.
"That was one of the big reasons we both wanted to come back, because we knew how good the team was going to be," Bonfield said. "We knew we could contribute to that and hopefully win a national title."
"This season’s not about me," Shaddy said. "It’s about the team and trying to finish some team goals that we have of winning a national championship."
"If we play the way we’re supposed to, we can be the best team in the country," Knight said. "Talent wise, you look at the guys we have coming back that have been in the league, we’ve got a good mixture of everything. If we play right, we’re going to be just fine."
At times, you'll hear a team try to down play their expectations. Arkansas isn't that kind of team. They've embraced the pressure of being a national title favorite.
"I’m not afraid to say it," Bonfield said. "Our team is good enough where I think we can say it and I think if you are afraid to say it, you don’t deserve to be in that conversation."
"I knew this was going to be a really good team," Knight said. "We had a really good chance of doing something pretty special."
Arkansas has been ranked in the top-10 for the majority of the season. The Razorbacks will be hosting a regional and likely a super regional. So the table is set. Baum Stadium to Omaha, Neb. is just a six hour drive and it’s now within reach for the Hogs.
"We’re the Arkansas Razorbacks and we’re one of the better teams in college baseball right now and I think anybody will tell you that as well," Shaddy said.