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.