FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ offensive line has struggled since Sam Pittman went to Georgia following the 2015 season.
Pittman is back, but as a head coach this time while Brad Davis is his hand-picked offensive line coach. Davis inherits a much better situation than Dustin Fry did when he took over in 2018. The numbers were low then, but they were better two years later when Fry left.
Arkansas will have some different options for the line this fall. Beginning March 17 the coaches will begin putting the puzzle together and hoping to have the right pieces in place by Sept. 5 when Nevada comes to Fayetteville.
For starters, Arkansas will get sophomore Noah Gatlin following a knee injury that sidelined him all of 2019. Luke Jones will be eligible after sitting out last fall due to transfer rule. Jones comes over from Notre Dame.
Ty Clary and Myron Cunningham are a couple of seniors who will be counted on to provide some leadership and stability to the line. Clary started at center in 2019 and also has experience playing offensive guard. Cunningham seems more comfortable at tackle, but also played some at guard in 2019 after transferring in from junior college.
Ricky Stromberg settled in at offensive guard in 2019 as a true freshman. The remainder of that freshman offensive line class redshirted, but shows promise. That group includes Beaux Limmer, Brady Latham and Dylan Rathcke.
Gone are Colton Jackson and Austin Capps from the 2019 offensive line. Arkansas also has Dalton Wagner, Shane Clenin and Kirby Adcock back as fourth-year juniors.
Junior college transfer Chibueze Nwanna also redshirted last season. He still has two years remaining. Ryan Winkel is a third-year sophomore who appears to be capable of challenging for playing time at either guard or tackle. Winkel had some good plays in limited action in 2019.
Among the walk-on players who are in the program are Andrew Vest, Logan Kallesen and Austin Nix.
Arkansas signed three highly-touted offensive linemen in the Class of 2020. They are Ray Curry Jr., Jalen St. John and Marcus Henderson. Each of the three could challenge for playing time.
Just by the presence of numbers, Arkansas appears to be much better shape on the offensive line than at any time in recent seasons. Stromberg and others will get bigger and are more experienced which both are a plus for the Hogs.
With Wagner, Gatlin and Cunningham the coaches will have three players with a lot of playing experience at offensive tackle. Clary can be a standout at center or guard. Stromberg should have one of the guard spots. Will Jones make a quick impact now that he’s eligible?
The answers will begin to fall into place this spring and look for a better offensive line in 2020.