Posted on: January 13, 2012 6:16 pm
While the two "other" SEC teams that finished among the AP Poll's top five lost a combined seven underclassmen to the NFL, the Arkansas Razorbacks didn't appear to lose any.
That fact was in contention until Friday when junior quarterback Tyler Wilson announced via a press release distributed by the school that he is returning for his senior campaign.
“I have decided to stay at Arkansas for the 2012 season because I am extremely excited for what this team has the opportunity to accomplish and to finish earning my degree," said Wilson in the release. "After the feedback I received, the decision was difficult to make. Ultimately, the chance to complete my academics and play one more season as a Razorback were compelling reasons for me to remain in Fayetteville. This past year was great for us with 11 wins and a top-five finish and we want to build on that. The group of players we have returning has high expectations and wants to work hard to compete for championships. Although my goal is to play in the NFL, I believe I can benefit greatly from another year of working with Coach (Bobby) Petrino and Coach Paul Petrino. I am excited to be able to spend one more season at a university where the leadership shows a tremendous amount of support and the passion of the fans is the best in the country.”
There had been considerable buzz in the scouting community that Wilson strongly considered making the jump after receiving positive feedback from the NFL Advisory Committee. Though Wilson did not share what grade he received, it isn't difficult to understand why scouts would have been high on him.
Wilson led the SEC with 3,638 passing yards and threw 21 touchdowns against just six interceptions. Listed by Arkansas at 6-3, 220 pounds and possessing a nice combination of mobility, arm strength and accuracy, the redshirt junior is ranked fifth on NFLDraftScout.com's rankings of 2013 quarterbacks. Ranking fifth might seem like a slight to some but considering that Wilson has only one full season as the starter and is playing in an offense known to inflate quarterback production it is difficult to argue that he should be ranked ahead of Southern Cal's Matt Barkley, Oklahoma's Landry Jones or Florida State's E.J. Manuel -- each of whom possess either more impressive physical skills, greater experience or both.
Wilson is making the right choice in returning to the Razorbacks for his senior season. Not only does his return put Arkansas in position for a BCS title run next season, he's likely to boost his own stock in the eyes of scouts, as well.
Posted on: November 25, 2011 11:42 am
Edited on: November 25, 2011 2:57 pm
The battle between No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Arkansas hasn't received nearly the same hype as the clash LSU had with Alabama just a few weeks ago.
It certainly should, however. The game carries just as much BCS implications and features several high ranking pro prospects, as well.
Here are the top prospects for both sides. This game begins today at 2:30 pm Eastern Time on CBS.
CB Morris Claiborne, 6-0, 185, junior
WR Rueben Randle, 6-3, 208, junior
OT Alex Hurst, 6-6, 340, junior
OLB Ryan Baker, 6-0, 236, senior
TE DeAngelo Peterson, 6-3, 236, senior
SS Brandon Taylor, 5-11, 195, senior
WR Joe Adams, 5-11, 190, senior
A speedster who is equally dangerous as a punt returner and out of the slot, Adams is flying up draft boards. He leads the country with three punt returns scored on touchdowns, including this dazzling one against Tennessee a few weeks ago.
DE Jake Bequette, 6-5, 271, senior
Having secured eight of Arkansas' 20 sacks this season, Bequette has essentially been a one-man wrecking crew for the Razorbacks. Blessed with good size and athleticism he was developed into one of the better middle round defensive end prospects in the draft. A strong showing on this national stage could help him secure a spot on one of the top all-star game rosters.
WR Greg Childs, 6-3, 217, senior
Childs entered the year among the most highly touted senior receivers in the country, but he's been slow to recover from the damaged patella tendon that ended last season prematurely. Childs has excellent size, body control and hands, but is running out of time to prove his speed has returned and that he's healthy.
ILB Jerry Franklin, 6-1, 245, senior
A Second Team All-SEC pick last year, Franklin is once again pacing the Razorbacks in tackles this season with 87 stops, including 10 tackles for loss. The Tigers' downhill power running and the lateral agility of LSU's option runners is going to put a lot of pressure on Franklin and Arkansas front seven defenders in this contest. I expect a strong game with a gaudy stat line.
TE Chris Gragg, 6-3, 235, junior
A former wide receiver, Gragg still lacks the bulk most teams are looking for at tight end, but he's flashed this year as a mismatch threat down the seam, actually entering this game as the reigning Mackey Award Tight End of the Week based off his eight catch, 119 yard (and a score) performance last week against Mississippi State.
WR Cobi Hamilton, 6-3, 209, junior
Hamilton gets lost a bit in the shuffle of Arkansas' great receivers, but as the only underclassman of the group he's best in position to become a favorite of Tyler Wilson, who also has a year of eligibility remaining. Hamilton currently ranks fourth on the team with 29 catches, but his 15.2 yard per catch average is impressive considering his size.
FS Tramain Thomas, 6-0, 204, senior
Instinctive, athletic and possessing good ball skills, Thomas is one of the better options in a relatively weak senior crop of safeties. He leads the team with four interceptions this season, as he did last year in earning Second Team All-SEC honors. Thomas isn't likely to get tested often in this game considering how little LSU typically throws the ball, but he'll certainly have to be steady in run support.
QB Tyler Wilson, 6-3, 220, redshirt junior
Wilson stepped in for Ryan Mallett and the Razorbacks have suffered virtually no drop-off this season. Some of the credit must go to Bobby Petrino's scheme, which has proven to be effective at moving the ball at every level he's coached. A good deal of credit should go to Wilson, as well, however, as he has legitimate arm talent and is a much more mobile passer than Mallett, so the Razorbacks don't have a statue in the pocket to protect. This will be Wilson's stiffest test this year as the LSU secondary is the best in the country. Considering the other juniors likely to leave school early this season, scouts don't anticipate Wilson heading to the NFL early. Should he return, he'll certainly be among the more closely scrutinized passers for the 2013 draft.
WR Jarius Wright, 5-10, 180, senior
Joe Adams has been getting a great deal of attention over the past few weeks due to his dazzling production, but make no mistake Wright is the go-to receiver in this offense. He leads the team with 61 receptions, has almost double the receiving yards (1,002) as Adams, Arkansas' second leading receiver (595) and has over three times as many touchdown receptions (10) as any other Razorback (Adams and Hamilton are tied with three each). Though he boasts very good speed and is a more reliable route-runner and hands-catcher than some of his teammates, Wright will have to prove to scouts that he can play special teams if he is to improve upon the 5th round grade NFLDraftScout.com has currently assigned to him.
This game begins today at 2:30 pm Eastern Time on CBS.
Posted on: November 15, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 3:38 pm
So much has been made of the bigger, stronger receivers likely to be available in the 2012 draft (like Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Marvin McNutt, etc.) that a few of the undersized speedsters aren't getting the recognition they deserve.
One such example is Arkansas wideout and return specialist Joe Adams.
Adams entered the season on the radar of NFL scouts, but he was viewed as a clear-cut secondary option in the Razorbacks' passing attack behind Greg Childs and Jarius Wright. With Childs struggling through recurring knee problems, however, Adams has stepped to the forefront a bit more, demonstrating the elusiveness and speed to contribute in both roles to an NFL team.
Some scouts, in fact, tell me that Adams has gone from a likely very late round prospect into possible Top 100 consideration based on playmaking skills that some have compared to Percy Harvin and DeSean Jackson's. Adams is currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as a 3rd-4th round pick and our No. 90 prospect overall.
I had hoped to sneak a peek at the Arkansas/Tennessee game Saturday, but wasn't able to do so prior to my Monday morning deadline for the Weekend Review.
In catching two passes for 52 yards and a touchdown as well as returning his third punt for a score this season (and fourth of his career) in a 49-7 thrashing of the Volunteers, however, Adams deserves mentioning.
His punt return in the waning seconds of the first quarter Saturday seemed to deflate the Tennessee sideline. Adams made at least six defenders miss on the return, scoring from 80 yards out. The three punt returns this season by Adams leads the NCAA and earned him Special Teams Player of the Week honors from the SEC.
Here is a link to the video of Adams' return on Youtube, courtesy of dwdyem2001
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:55 pm
Arkansas wide receiver Greg Childs did not make the trip with the team to take on Vanderbilt on Saturday due to a "tweaked knee," according to multiple reports.
Unfortunately for Childs, it is the same knee -- his right one -- that he injured last season against Vanderbilt, further complicating the senior wideout's stock for the NFL draft in April.
Heading towards an All-SEC campaign last year, Childs was lost for the remainder of the season with a patella tendon injury. The tendon was reportedly not torn, but did require surgery. There was quiet optimism among the team that Childs would return to his playmaking self this season when he practiced in the fall without his knee brace, but after leading the team (at the time of his injury) in catches (46), receiving yardage (659) and receiving touchdowns (six) last season, he has been limited this season to only nine grabs for 109 yards. He has not scored a touchdown this season.
Childs is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 18 rated wideout. Obviously, his stock will largely depend on how long he'll be sidelined by this newest injury and his prognosis for a full recovery.
Childs has not used a redshirt while with the Razorbacks and could attempt a petition of the NCAA in an effort to recoup this season.
At 6-3 and 217 pounds, Childs -- when healthy -- has good build-up speed (estimated in the mid 4.5s) and is a very effective receiver after the catch due to his vision, strength and surprising agility. He has very good hand-eye coordination, which he used effectively to become Ryan Mallett's go-to receiver throughout much of their respective careers together.
Posted on: September 20, 2011 7:00 pm
For all of the talk that Ryan Mallett and running back Knile Davis generated last season, scouts will tell you that Arkansas' best pro prospect last season was wide receiver Greg Childs.
The Razorbacks lost Mallett early to the NFL and unfortunately lost Davis to a fractured ankle this summer. Childs has been recovering from a torn patella tendon suffered last season. Despite missing the final five games, he still led the Razorbacks with 46 catches for 659 yards and six touchdowns. He'd teased the Arkansas faithful by practicing this fall and played in the season opener against Missouri State, catching two passes for 29 yards before being lifted in the 51-7 blowout. Though he was active and played sparingly in Arkansas' 52-3 victory over New Mexico a week later, he did not catch a pass.
This past week, however, misfortune once again reared up against Childs as his grandmother passed away. Childs missed Arkansas' game against Troy this past weekend, but according to head coach Bobby Petrino, the preseason All-SEC wide receiver will be back on the field Saturday in the showdown against No. 3 Alabama.
One can only hope that Childs is recovering quickly and fully from both the knee injury and the death of his grandmother. Re-starting the season against the likes of 'Dre Kirkpatrick, Mark Barron and a talented and deep Alabama defense does not sound like a proper welcome mat for the gifted receiver.
On the other hand, if Childs is able to play -- and play well -- against Alabama this weekend, it might prove to scouts that he is, indeed, over his pain and ready to re-emerge as one of the country's top wide receivers. At this point, Childs rates as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 5 receiver potentially available for the 2012 draft. This ranking does take into account underclassmen, such as Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon and South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery, each of whom we rate higher than Childs, at this time.
Posted on: July 16, 2011 12:09 pm
Following his second arrest for driving while intoxicated in the last year, redshirt sophomore offensive tackle Anthony Oden has been dropped by from the University of Arkansas football team.
Head coach Bobby Petrino informed the media that the 6-8, 320 pound tackle, who had been listed as a potential starter in Arkansas' preseason depth chart, had been released due to a "violation of team rules."
That violation included being arrested one week ago (Saturday, the 9th) for a litany of offenses including driving while intoxicated, possessing a controlled substance, driving left of the center line, failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, no proof of ownership, driving on a suspended/revoked license, and having no driver's licence. (Other than that, apparently, he was in complete compliance with the law.)
Oden had previously been arrested for a DUI last July.
As a result of his initial run-in with the law, Oden had been suspended for the Razorbacks' first game of the 2010 season.
Oden's career with the Razorbacks even prior to his dismissal couldn't be characterized as anything other than a disappointment. The younger brother of Portland Trailblazers' center Greg Oden, Anthony had been a highly touted prep prospect thought likely to step in and replace departed seniors DeMarcus Love and Ray Dominguez as a starting tackle. He started one game as a freshman in 2009 and saw action against the University of Louisiana-Monroe last year before being redshirted for the year with an illness.
As a redshirt sophomore, he is technically eligible for this summer's Supplemental Draft should he elect to pursue that opportunity. The smarter move, however, might be to seek a transfer to another university as teams are unlikely to be willing to spend a valuable draft pick on him despite his obvious size and hype.
Posted on: March 4, 2011 1:24 pm
While the media sessions at the combine are important, the case of Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett demonstrates that they are just one component of the glorified job fair. Despite a Saturday afternoon media session in which some felt Mallett was caustic, and evasive when questioned about the drug allegations surrounding him, most league franchises that subjected the former Razorbacks star to an interview came away impressed with him.
The Sports Xchange surveyed officials from five teams that met with Mallett at combine, and four said they had no problems with his responses to the drug allegations or with his demeanor.
“The guy looked us right in the eyes and didn’t dodge anything at all,” said a high-ranking executive from an NFC team that is considering its quarterback options in the 2011 draft. “If we don’t take him, it certainly won’t be a reflection of his time with us (in the interview).”
Mallett, the No. 4-rated quarterback in this class by NFLDraftScout.com, was arguably the most impressive prospect throwing the ball during the Sunday on-field session for quarterbacks. He exhibited the strong arm most scouts expected of him and was very accurate as well. More accurate, notably, than former Auburn star and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, clearly the most celebrated player among the 330 prospects on-hand.
The physical difference wasn’t the lone disparity between the players, said an assistant coach from an AFC club that might be interested in choosing a quarterback in the draft in two months.
“(Mallett) wasn’t as self-absorbed as the other guy,” the official said. “We really had no problem with him. He was pretty (straightforward), and he was very good, too, at (diagramming plays) on the chalkboard.”
--Len Pasquarelli, The Sports Xchange