by: Otis Kirk
FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman has released his first depth chart at the University of Arkansas as his squad prepares for Saturday’s season opener against Georgia.
Many positions on the depth chart seem set, but there’s still a few positions with an or as far as the starter. Among those spots is tight end where redshirt freshman Hudson Henry and true freshman Blayne Toll are listed with an or for who will start. Pittman talked about those two on Monday during a Zoom conference and how it helped Toll to let him settle into one position.
“Well, I think it helped him,” Pittman said. “Our plan, we had him at tight end and then we didn’t get the numbers we thought we would over on defense, so we moved him over where we originally recruited him at. And then we found out we probably need a little more depth in the tight end room. So we moved him back. He’s been there now for I don’t know how long, quite a while, and he’s doing well. I think we’ve got the game plan where he’ll know what to do. Because he does have a lot of speed. He’s probably a little bit faster than Hudson would be. Hudson’s really had a good couple of weeks, so I’m feeling better and better about that tight end room.”
The starting right tackle on offense also has an or by it. The two competing for the spot at are junior Dalton Wagner and sophomore Noah Gatlin, who is also listed as the backup left tackle to senior Myron Cunningham.
“Gatlin’s done a nice job on both sides, left and right,” Pittman said. “Obviously, we’re giving him an opportunity to start at right tackle, but he certainly can play both spots. We already understand that, but young’s going to get better faster than old. So we feel like we’ve got him in the right spot.”
On defense the only or spot concerning who will start is at the defensive tackle spot opposite senior Jonathan Marshall. The two battling it out are senior grad transfer Xavier Kelly and sophomore Isaiah Nichols.
Pittman also has an or at punter with juniors George Caratan and Sam Loy competing. Caratan is also the holder for the placements.
As far as the reserves two spots on offense have an or. The wide receiver spot behind sophomore Treylon Burks lists seniors De’Vion Warrenand and T.J. Hammonds fighting for that spot. The left guard spot behind redshirt freshman Brady Latham is junior Shane Clenin and sophomore Luke Jones.
Pittman was asked about the mixture of youth and experience on the depth chart?
“To us they’re the best players we have,” Pittman said. “Some of them, you’re right, some of them will go out there, it’ll be the first time to be in front of the Razorback fans. But they’re the best players we have, and certainly we’re trying to get confidence in them so they’ll be ready to get out there.”
A pair of true freshmen are listed on the second unit in the secondary. Khari Johnson is behind senior Jerry Jacobs at one corner and Myles Slusher is backing up junior Joe Foucha at a safety spot.
“Well, Slusher has been a mature, athletic guy ever since he walked in the door, and I’m really, really excited about his future here,” Pittman said. “He’s a physical player. Very knowledgeable and well coached out of high school. And he’s got speed. Those things are certainly why he’s in our two deep.
“Yeah, Khari, very talented. Good man coverage corner. Again, in order to get on the field early as freshman you have to be mature, you have to be smart, you have to understand the schematics of the game. And again he was well coached in high school too. Both of them are very mature for their age.”
Click here for the depth chart.