FAYETTEVILLE — Defensive end Dorian Gerald suffered a rare strained artery (carotid dissection) in his neck against Portland State and missed the remainder of the 2019 season.
The Monday following the Portland State game then Arkansas head coach Chad Morris provided the following update on Gerald.
“We were very fortunate,” Morris said. “Those things are always tough to deal with, but the way our medical team handled it was first-class and right on point. The good news is he’s going to be OK. He’s on the road to recovery.”
Gerald redshirted and now is back for his senior season. On Friday, Sam Pittman provided an update on Gerald’s health.
“Dorian is cleared,” Pittman said. “He is getting in much better shape. I have had one-on-one conversations with him about what we needed to do. He is a guy that could be a strong leader for us. Kids look up to him. He is getting his quickness back. He is getting stronger. I really like the kid, think he is smart, a good guy to have in that D-line room. I think you are 100 percent right. He is a guy that could be a good leader for us.”
Gerald came to Arkansas from College of the Canyons (Calif.) and provided some key depth in 2018. Gerald played in eight games with two starts in 2018. He finished with 21 tackles, including eight unassisted, 2.5 for loss, two quarterback hurries and a pair of pass breakups. Gerald had one tackle and broke up a pass in the first half of the Portland State game.
But Gerald is expected to have some help on the defensive line this fall. Another senior is also providing some good leadership according to Pittman.
“On the defensive line, (Jonathan) Marshall is the one who has stuck out the most as far as leadership goes,” Pittman said. “(Julius) Coates has probably been the one who has stuck out the most athletically. He is a big, athletic guy who can run.”
Marshall played in all 12 games last season. He had 17 tackles, eight solo, 4.5 for loss, 0.5 sack, three quarterback hurries and forced one fumble.
Coates came to Arkansas at midterm. He played the 2019 season at East Mississippi Community College. In 10 games, Coates had 30 tackles, 19 solo, nine tackles for loss, six sacks, forced two fumbles, recovered a pair and broke up a couple of passes.
Pittman also provided an update on the defensive linemen who were impressive in the offseason workouts.
“The D-line group, the guys that are standing out there No. 1 is probably Jonathan Marshall,” Pittman said. “Dorian Gerald has had a good off-season. And (Mataio) Soli, we’re still trying to get more weight on Soli. He’s a very good athletic player. We’re trying to get some there.”
Soli is a 6-foot-4, 235-pound sophomore who played in 12 games in 2019 with 11 starts as a true freshman. He finished with 19 tackles, including nine solo, 1.5 tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries. He is from Douglasville (Ga.) Douglas County and is the son of former Razorback Junior Soli.