The above question is one fans have asked all offseason. While the Razorbacks have many receivers that were nationally recruited, the players at this position struggled to get any separation from their defender in 2017. Recently, the Hogs lost last years number one junior college wide receiver,
Brandon Martin, due to academic reasons. Freshman mid-term enrolle, Mike Woods, was arrested for a DWI and as a minor in possession earlier last month. Coach Chad Morris has yet to announce Woods’ suspension or disciplinary action to the public.
Morris wants his offense to go fast. With wide receivers such as Jonathan Nance, Jordan Jones, Devion Warren and Deon Stewart, there is plenty of speed to spread out the defenses in the SEC West. Like his receivers at Clemson and SMU, Morris is looking for tall, speedy receivers like Sammy Watkins, Deondre Hopkins, Martavis Bryant and Courtland Sutton. This season, besides the transfer from Kansas, Chase Harrell (6’4 220 pounds) and Lamichael Pettway (6’3 218), all receivers are at or under 6’1. Austin Allen may have had a problem holding onto the ball too long , which resulted in many sacks. When your receivers cannot get open, your team has either one of two problems: 1. The receivers are too small or 2. the receivers do not have speed. Arkansas has speed but their size gives them a disadvantage against the bigger SEC cornerbacks they are lined up against. Here is a look at the wide receiver depth chart.
81 Jarrod Barnes Sophomore 5’11 183
In 2017, Jarrod Barnes signed with Arkansas out of Cabot High School. Barnes is most famous for leading his team to the Arkansas Class 7A State Championship against Bentonville High School. In that game, Barnes, to all of Arkansas’ delight shut down one of the nation’s top high school prospects and Kentucky signee, Malik Monk. Jarrod played during the first game against Florida A&M, catching a pass for a first down. Coach Morris says, “If you don’t have speed. Your chasing speed.” For what Barnes lacks in size, he makes up for in speed. You should see Barnes receiving a few reps early on in the slot position.
1 Jared Cornelius Senior 5’11 203
Some of his teammates call him “Old man”, others call him “DJ JRed” for his musical talent as a disc jockey, many just plainly call him J-Red. No matter what you call him, it should be Mr. Dependable. When Cornelius does reach the field he will catch everything in sight. He also lacks height but has speed. Looking back to his freshman season, Cornelius took a jet sweep 67 yards to the endzone in his homestate against LSU. If Cornelius can stay healthy he should be making plays like that again. Fast forward to the 5:51 mark to relive that moment.
82 Gary Cross Senior 6’1 188
Besides playing on special teams not much is known about Cross. From Fordyce, AR, Cross was a former junior college wide receiver and 2017 walk-on for the Hogs last season. He should see playing time this season if he develops into a quality edge receiver.
86 Tobias Enlow Sophomore 6’2 207
Enlow, a former walk-on, was being evaluated by many schools before tearing his ACL prior to his junior and senior seasons. Although knee injuries can sometimes slow down any player, Enlow looked good receiving in the spring game. We will see in three days, as fall practice begins, if he can crack the rotation at third team receiver.
3 Koilan Jackson R-Freshman 6’2 211
Every coach on staff should love the size and speed they are getting with Jackson. He is the son of former Razorback Sports Network color commentator, Keith Jackson. The younger Jackson tore his ACL in fall camp last season and had to redshirt. As a former four star signee, Jackson should be utilized a lot in this offense at every receiver position.
10 Jordan Jones R-Sophomore 6’1 180
Jones showed his speed last season running post routes and is a quality route runner as well. While struggling early on how to separate from SEC defenders, Jones finally put it together against Alabama with 4 receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown against the best defense in the country. Jones can also get behind the defense easily as he showed for his two receptions and 122 yards against Mizzou in the season finale. If Jones gains more muscle and adds weight to his frame he could be dangerous in 2018.
19 Tyson Morris R-Freshman 6’1 200
Morris is a walk-on from Fayetteville High School that was a part of Bielema’s 2017 Preferred Walk-On Class. Morris received reps in the spring game and was one of the leading receivers during the game. The coaching staff seems high on him to put him out there in such a focal point of the offense in the spring.
7 Jonathan Nance Senior 6’0 190
Nance was the home run hitter last season. His ability to haul in the deep ball in 2017 was one of the few bright spots on the offense last season. Nance apparently trimmed down before spring to 165 pounds. During summer workouts with Strength and Conditioning Coach, Tru Carroll, Nance is now at 190 pounds and if he keeps his speed it really could make him lethal in 2018.
16 La’Michael Pettway R-Junior 6’2 219
Pettway, the star of the spring game, has been one of the inconsistent players during his time in Fayetteville. As a rising fourth year junior, the coaching staff has challenged him to become more consistent as a receiver. Pettway has had problems of staying in Bielema’s doghouse, dropping passes and getting separation between himself and the defender. As far as the spring game, Pettway had 6 receptions and over 90 yards during that game. He displayed soft hands, a knack for getting open and catching a pass along the sideline all while taking a hit at the same time and still holding on to the ball. Pettway is an intriguing player to keep an eye on. He is one that is sure to be one of the better options this fall.
13 Deon Stewart R-Junior 5’11 161
Dropping passes, fumbling the football and not running the right routes plagued the redshirt junior early on in 2017. Stewart’s light finally turned on during the Alabama game. Stewart is a guy to watch on short to intermediate passes this season. His straight ahead speed is unlike that of any other receiver on this roster. Fans can look forward to Stewart being a key cog in 2018.
9 De’Vion Warren Sophomore 5’10 180
The sophomore speedster from Monroe, LA returned kickoffs and one return resulted in a touchdown. Anytime Warren touches the ball defensive coordinators will hold their breath knowing that he could take it for six at any point. Warren should have a break out year in 2018.
8 Michael Woods Freshman 6’1 190
The freshman phenom of spring practice in 2018 was Woods. He displayed steady hands, a knack for extra yardage and highlight reel receptions. If Woods can figure out a way to translate his practices to games the sky is the limit for this young receiver.
Photo credits to Whole Hog Sports