Swoff’s Blog: Arkansas Defense Could See Lots Of Change
As the 2018 Arkansas football season has come to a close, there is no question that there will be a lot of comings and goings from the Razorbacks program over the next few months.
When a team goes 2-10, the first 10-loss season in school history, you know there are going to be a lot of changes. @5NEWSBobby takes a look at every position and what could happen for the Razorbacks as they get ready to transition into the 2019 season.
Prior to the publication of these roster breakdowns, a total of 22 players have announced they are leaving the program in the past year. They will not be mentioned below.
Note: These projections are strictly based on @5NEWSBobby’s opinions. They do not reflect the opinion of @5NEWS. If you missed a look at the offense, here’s a link.
Part II – The Defense
Possible Additions – Collin Clay, Mataio Soli, Dante Walker, Zach Williams, Eric Gregory, Enoch Jackson, Taurean Carter, Carl Williams, Marcus Miller
Possible Departures – Sosa Agim
As of Nov. 29, Arkansas has nine defensive linemen committed to the 2019 recruiting class but the biggest question continues to be Sosa Agim. The junior hinted before the season that if all went well, he’d likely be headed for the NFL. Agim started all 12 games and totaled 45 tackles, 10 for a loss, and 4.5 sacks. Huge question mark if he’s back in Fayetteville for a senior season. Briston Guidry showed flashes of being a playmaker on the inside and if healthy, he’s in line for a starting job. Isaiah Nichols, Jamario Bell and David Porter are in-state talents that could be in the mix. Nicholas Fulwider and 340-pound Billy Ferrell redshirted in 2018. Dorian Gerald, TJ Smith and Gabe Richardson will be seniors in 2019 but will need to be far more productive.
Possible Additions – Zach Zimos
Possible Departures – Scoota Harris, Alexy Jean-Baptiste, Giovanni LaFrance
Much like the defensive line, the strength of the unit could be eyeing the NFL as Scoota Harris had another impressive season as he recorded a team high 118 tackles. If Harris does leave, that leaves a huge hole in the middle of an already thin linebacking corps. Alexy Jan-Baptiste and Giovanni LaFrance have yet to make a significant contribution in three seasons. The duo could look to move to a program and get a fresh start. Bumper Pool, Hayden Henry and Grant Morgan all logged important snaps and will be the nucleus of the group. With only one commitment for the class so far, there is serious reason for concern at this position.
Possible Additions – Devin Bush, Myles Brooks, Adonis Otey, Malik Chavis
Possible Departures – Ryan Pulley, Kamren Curl, Chevin Calloway
The way the season ended raised more questions in the back end of the Arkansas defense. With the suspension to Ryan Pulley and Kamren Curl in the season finale, you never know how that will shake out. If both return, it will be a much needed experience boost for what looks to be a young unit. Jarques McClellion should be in the running for a full time starting job at one corner while Britto Tutt could slide in at the other if he can stay healthy. Chevin Calloway left the team during the regular season due to what Chad Morris called ‘personal reasons’ but there has not been an update since.. LaDarrius Bishop, Montaric Brown and Myles Mason all figure into the equation as well.
Connor Limpert showed he is a reliable option as the team’s kicker and he’ll be back for his senior season. Punter is a much different story. Reid Bauer, Matthew Phillips and Blake Johnson all lacked consistency or even the appearance of a strong leg that could help flip field position. None of the three averaged more than 39 yards per attempt, which is well below the SEC average.