FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman talked about his group of wide receivers on Saturday following the second spring scrimmage.
Gone is Treylon Burks who had an outstanding career for the Razorbacks. But Burks will be catching passes for some NFL team this fall and not the Razorbacks. Pittman talked about how he feels about the group after 12 practices this spring.
“Well, we’re thin, number one,” Pittman said. “Last year we had Burks as a bell cow, as a go-to guy. I don’t know that we’ve found that yet. We’re closer. I think (Jadon) Haselwood has that role, but I think he’ll be a lot better too once he gets through summer and understands everything.”
Haselwood is a transfer from Oklahoma where he caught 39 passes for 399 yards and six touchdowns in 2021. In addition to Haselwood, the Hogs signed three high school wide receivers in the Class of 2022. Clarendon’s Quincey McAdoo enrolled at midterm and is seemingly improving as the spring goes along.
“Well, Mac is young and doesn’t know exactly what to do yet,” Pittman said. “But he’s a talented kid, he can catch the ball, run routes, so he’s getting better. Warren Thompson has had a pretty good spring. A guy I like a lot is Ketron Jackson. I like him a lot, but sometimes you’ll go through a practice and we’re not getting him the ball. At times, there’s not a lot of production, but I think he’s a really good player. And then Bryce Stephens is continuing to catch the ball better, and that was really his — we had to catch the football. I think we have enough receivers and a quality room in the SEC. We just don’t have a lot of depth in there, and we don’t have a lot of proven guys. We’ll have to keep working that.”
Thompson caught 19 passes for 304 yards and two touchdowns in 2021. Jackson had five receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown with Stephens catching three passes for five yards. Quarterback Malik Hornsby is also working at wide receiver as well this spring. He has shown some amazing talent there catching 55- and 75-yard touchdown passes from KJ Jefferson on Thursday.
“With Malik, I think he’s a lot like KJ too, getting him involved in the offense,” Pittman said. “I don’t know that today was a particularly good day for him, but he has had good days this spring. You all have been at practices. He’s had some really good days throwing the football, so I’m not going to make too much out of it today. I do believe he needs to be on the field for us to be the best team we can be. We’ll continue to try to work there. It may not or it may be at the right pace. It seems maybe a little slow to me. We have to get him some more reps out there during practice at wideout.”
Jefferson is very high on Hornsby as a wide receiver and has a very complimentary nickname for Hornsby.
” Oh, we call them Tyreek Hill,” Jefferson said. “I mean, just the speed that he brings, there aren’t too many guys in college that can run with Malik. So just being able to put him out there and just let him go be an athlete, just let him go play. So having a guy like that on the field and he plays quarterback as well, so it gives the defense someone to look at like hey, there’s two quarterbacks, something’s not right. I mean just being able to get him the ball and just make plays, just let him have fun.”
Safety Jalen Catalon also is aware of when Hornsby splits out to receiver the defense has to be ready for some very good speed.
“Oh my gosh,” Catalon said. “Any time I see him out there, you’ve got to be on a swivel. He’s that type of athlete. He’s able to beat you down the field. He’s able to catch the ball short and make moves. I think he’s showing he can do it all. And to put him back at quarterback and still make the throws and be that dynamic guy back there, that’s hard to stop. I think he’s a great addition to the offense in that manner, as well. I’m pretty sure we will see more of that going into the fall camp and going into the season, for sure. I think it’s good to have a guy that can do both like that. He can go out and play the receiver spot. He can go back and play quarterback, as well. It’s a good little package for him and I think he’s going to excel at it.”
Jefferson was also asked about the group of receivers he will have to throw to this fall.
“I feel really good about the receiving corps and the tight end corps,” Jefferson said. “Those guys just, they’re great athletes. I mean, all of them have stepped up in major ways and some of them have grown a lot over the course of the spring. So just being able to just get those athletes the ball in space and just let them play ball.”
Haselwood is obviously one who Arkansas is counting on to be a go-to guy in 2022. Jefferson talked about Haselwood’s adjustment after coming over from the Sooners at midterm.
” I mean, he’s learning each and every day,” Jefferson said. “The main thing is he’s getting down to terminology that we speak in and the system that we run and just him being able to just go from a pro-style offense at Oklahoma to more up-tempo and make sure we’re getting the ball back inside and getting the signal and lining up and playing pretty fast. Over spring, he’s done a really good job adjusting and catching on pretty quick.”
Arkansas will conduct its’ 13th practice this spring on Tuesday.