FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas is 2-2 on the season in football and except for a blown call at Auburn would be 3-1.
This is against what many consider the toughest schedule in school history. They will play 10 games and all are against SEC opponents. The first three games were against ranked teams in Georgia, Mississippi State and Auburn. The Hogs beat Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
Several former blue chip recruits are thriving for the Hogs, but it’s also worth mentioning many former and current walk-on players are in big roles. Last week Arkansas added another potential walk-on player to the team when former Shiloh Christian wide receiver Beau Cason went from greyshirt to a member of the scout team. Cason, 6-4, 205 was one of two standout wide receivers for the Saints who chose the Razorbacks in the past recruiting class.
In addition last week the Razorbacks also added Omaha (Neb.) Creighton Prep punter Patrick Foley, 6-3, 195, to the class of 2021 as a preferred walk-on. Foley is capable of making an early impact at Arkansas.
As far as the current team, Arkansas started three former and one current walk-on players against Ole Miss. Each of them played a huge role for the Hogs in the win.
Linebacker Grant Morgan was named the SEC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week and today grabbed the Chuck Bednarik National Player of the Week. Morgan, who is from Greenwood, had 19 tackles, including three for loss, a sack, two pass breakups and returned an interception 23 yards for a touchdown in the 33-21 victory.
Arkansas also started redshirt freshman cornerback Hudson Clark, senior offensive lineman Ty Clary and senior linebacker Hayden Henry. Clark had five tackles and intercepted three passes. He was named SEC Freshman of the Week. Sam Pittman announced Monday that Clark will go on scholarship in January.
Clary and Henry aren’t the typical walk-on player who came and earned a scholarship. Because Arkansas was out of scholarships they were asked to come for one semester and then go on scholarship at midterm. But both turned down several immediate offers to accept that. According to a source, Clary had the highest grade of any offensive lineman against Ole Miss. Henry was filling in for the injured Bumper Pool and finished with eight tackles, including two for loss and a pass breakup.
Several other former or current walk-on players played big roles in the win. Senior wide receiver Tyson Morris caught two passes for 32 yards.
Senior tight end Blake Kern caught a pass for three yards and also added one tackle. Sophomore punter Reid Bauer averaged 46.9 yards on seven punts. He was outstanding the entire game.
True freshman kicker Vito Calvaruso kicked off five times with four touchbacks. Tight end Nathan Bax had a tackle on special teams. True freshman linebacker Jackson Woodard came in when Morgan went off for a few plays with an injury and had one tackle.
Others who played on Saturday were safety Simeon Blair, wide receiver John David White, long snapper Jordan Silver and offensive lineman Luke Jones.
Here’s some season stats for the current and former walk-on players now who are playing.
Blake Kern, TE, Lamar, R-Sr. — 6 catches for 71 yards. 1 tackle.
Tyson Morris, WR, Fayetteville, R-Sr. — 3 catches for 38 yards.
Nathan Parodi, DB-Punt Returner, Austin (Texas) Lake Travis, R-Soph. — 1 punt return (-1).
Grant Morgan, LB, Greenwood, R-Sr. — 52 tackles, 13 solo, 3.5 for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception returned for touchdown, 3 pass breakups.
Hayden Henry, LB, Pulaski Academy, Sr. — 16 tackles, 10 solo, 3 for loss, 1 sack, 1 quarterback hurry.
Hudson Clark, CB, Highland Park (Texas), R-Frosh. — 14 tackles, 11 solo, 3 interceptions, 1 pass breakup.
Simeon Blair, S, Pine Bluff, R-Soph. — 10 tackles, 3 solo, 2 pass breakups.
Vito Calvaruso, K, Jefferson City (Mo.) Helias, Frosh. — 17 kickoffs, 8 touchbacks, 2 tackles.
Reid Bauer, P, Magnolia (Texas), R-Soph. — 9 punts average 44.3.
Sam Loy, P, San Clemente (Calif.), R-Sr. — 2 punts average 40.5.
Karch Gardiner, WR, El Paso (Texas) Del Valle, R-Frosh. — 1 tackle.
Luke Jones, OL, Pulaski Academy, R-Soph. — 1 tackle.
Nathan Bax, TE, Jefferson City (Mo.), R-Frosh. — 1 tackle.
Jackson Woodard, LB, Little Rock Christian, Frosh. — 1 tackle.