FAYETTEVILLE — Redshirt freshman wide receiver Isaiah Sategna is displaying his talent this spring given the opportunity to play this fall.
Sategna, 5-11, 178, came to Arkansas as a four-star recruit, Gatorade Player of the Year in the state and an outstanding sprinter in track. He only caught two passes for 12 yards in 2022 and preserved his redshirt season. Following Saturday’s practice, Sategna talked about not seeing much action last fall after being highly recruited out of Fayetteville High School.
“I mean, I had to look myself in the mirror because being a freshman, I wasn’t used to not playing and stuff,” Sategna said. “So I learned a lot from that year and I’m glad I got to redshirt so I still have four more years, but I’m looking to play this year. That’s my goal.”
He had 172 receptions for 3,261 yards and 25 touchdowns during his high school career, including 100 catches for a nation-leading 1,908 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior for state runner-up Bulldogs. Sategna talked about his success this spring.
“Yes sir,” Sategna said. “Just with with the new offense and stuff, I’m still learning stuff, but I feel like I’m a lot better receiver than I was last year and stuff. I just feel like if I put my trust in Coach (Dan) Enos and the O-line and KJ (Jefferson), I’m going to be the best receiver that I can be.”
It’s not just the media and observers allowed to watch practice who have noticed the move Sategna is making at wide receiver. His teammate, running back AJ Green, also has taken notice.
“Oh yes, most definitely,” Green said. “You can definitely tell he’s been here. You can tell he’s experienced now. He knows what he’s doing. He knows where he needs to get, how to position a defender to catch the ball and get in the best place for him.”
Sategna and the other wide receivers had a good day on Saturday in Razorback Stadium catching passes from Jefferson, Jacolby Criswell, Malachi Singleton and Cade Fortin.
“I mean, like I said, it’s a new offense and stuff, so we’re still working on all the details and stuff, but our receiver group is making plays, just like you said, catching the ball,” Sategna said. “Everybody is putting in work and everybody’s looking a lot better than, let’s say, Day 1.”
Much has been made about no one has emerged as the go-to wide receiver, but the group, as a whole, has met and exceeded all the other expectations.
“I mean, everybody is kind of new, even the people that are returning from last year, they weren’t in starting roles last year,” Sategna said. “Everybody kind of has a chip on their shoulder. Everybody has been putting in extra work, everybody is going hard every play, so I like what I’m seeing from everybody — not just one person specifically. I wouldn’t say there’s not just one person that’s standing out. Everybody’s kind of balling like you saw today. (Isaac) TeSlaa is catching passes, (Andrew) Armstrong is catching passes. It’s really everybody.”
TeSlaa, Armstrong and Tyrone Broden are transfers who enrolled at midterm. All came from smaller schools, but Sategna has been impressed.
“Yes, I mean, I kind of look at it like this: the NFL, when you go to the draft, you can get drafted from any school, so I don’t think that the schools they came from matter,” Sategna said. “They’re here now, so none of that matters anymore. They had to move past that and stuff. Obviously, the SEC is going to be more physical than what they’re used to, but I feel like they’ve transitioned really well.”
With Enos new as the offensive coordinator, the Hogs do return Jefferson at quarterback and some much improved depth there, and a deep running back room. Sategna talked about the offense and how it’s performing as a whole.
“I feel like – Coach Enos might say different – but I feel like we’re in a good spot right now,” Sategna said. “I feel like we had MA’s and stuff, missed assignments, at the beginning. But we’re cutting down on that for sure, and we’re more focusing on the details like the exact depth of the route, exactly how you’re supposed to run it. Like, let’s say square cut versus speed cut, a dig. I feel like we’re going in the right direction, and next week everybody will see what we’ve been doing.”
The spring game is one week from today at noon. Sategna expects to have several fans including some familiar faces in the crowd.
“I’ll have my family in the stands for sure,” Sategna said. “I can’t wait for them to see all the work I’ve been putting in.”
The kickoff next Saturday is at noon. Arkansas will practice Tuesday, Thursday and Friday leading up to Saturday’s spring game.