The Transfer Portal Has Changed the Time Required to Rebuild a Program as Hogs Focus on Jadon Haselwood, Others

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FAYETTEVILLE — The Transfer Portal has its good and bad points, but one thing it does is allow a team to reload much faster than in past.

Eric Musselman has been great at using the portal to keep his team competing at an elite status each year. No better example is Arkansas has super seniors Tyson Morris and De’Vion Warren at wide receiver along with junior Treylon Burks. It would be beyond a huge surprise if Burks were to return for his senior season considering he’s almost certainly a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

In the past losing three key wide receivers would be something to set Arkansas back for at least a season. Those three receivers combined to catch 100 passes for 1,628 yards and 13 touchdowns. The other four wide receivers who caught passes and can come back totaled 27 receptions for 435 yards and three touchdowns.

Arkansas has some nice young wide receivers who played sparingly this year or redshirted. The leading receiver returning assuming Burks is gone will be Warren Thompson. In his first season at Arkansas after transferring in from Florida State Thompson caught 18 passes for 292 and two touchdowns.

This is where Sam Pittman, Jimmy Smith and Kenny Guiton enter the Jadon Haselwood sweepstakes. The former five-star recruit who caught 39 passes for 399 yards and six touchdowns this season at Oklahoma. He came to the Sooners from Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove High School where he played for Smith, who now coaches the running backs at Arkansas.

Haselwood will take his official visit to Arkansas this weekend and with the ties to Smith it seems Arkansas could be a perfect match for him. When he came out of high school he was the No. 1 wide receiver in the nation, top recruit in Georgia in the Class of 2019 and the No. 6-overall recruit in the ESPN 300.

At Arkansas, the Hogs could just insert Haselwood into Burks’ spot and give KJ Jefferson an elite target to throw the ball to. That is important because beyond Thompson the other three wide receivers who caught passes combined for nine receptions for 143 yards and one touchdown. True freshman Ketron Jackson caught five passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. Former OU wide receiver Jaquayln Crawford added three catches for 27 yards and John David White caught one for 19.

The Hogs have commitments from some very talented wide receivers in the Class of 2022. They are trying to add Haselwood and Kennesaw (Ga.) North Cobb four-star Sam Mbake this weekend. Fayetteville’s Isaiah Sategna and Clarendon’s Quincey McAdoo are two of the better receivers nationally in the 2022 class and both are headed to the Hogs.

Jaedon Wilson and Bryce Stephens redshirted this season and those two along with Jackson have a very bright future ahead of them. The Razorbacks have a couple of other scholarship receivers and some walk-ons who may help.

The key with the Hogs possibly adding Haselwood is it allows Jefferson to have another experienced receiver to step in and replace some of the production of Burks. In the past, Arkansas might have relied on a junior college wide receiver to fill that role and that usually proved to be a hit-and-miss adventure.

Some will ask, but what if Burks were to come back? If he did then you have another talented, proven wide receiver to go with him. The chances seem very slim Burks returns considering he will go in Round 1. Either way, it’s a good problem to have assuming Haselwood does as expected and joins the Razorbacks. He and Burks would form one of the best one-two combos in the nation.

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