FAYETTEVILLE — When Sam Pittman was hired one thing he made very clear in one of his first conferences with the media was he wants a strong walk-on program at Arkansas.
Through the years several walk-on recruits have gone on to great careers with the Hogs and some even in the NFL. The current linebacker room is a perfect example of what that can do for Arkansas. Hayden Henry came to Arkansas with the promise of a scholarship after one semester. Grant Morgan came as a preferred walk-on with the intention of showing Arkansas what he can do.
Those two combined with former four-star Bumper Pool are as good a trio of college linebackers as any group in the nation. Some team may have better NFL prospects at linebacker, but those three have been the solid foundation for Pittman’s defense for two years. Henry came from Pulaski Academy and Morgan from Greenwood. Pittman talked about his linebacker group on Wednesday.
“Yeah that’s really a great observation,” Pittman said. “It’s a little bit Arkansas and I say that in a great way. Kids, any time you walk on you have a chip on your shoulder and you know you have something to prove. The difference in those guys a lot of time you will get a walk on and you will put him on scholarship and he will take it to the house on you. He’s done, that was his goal. You get some walk ons from your state that’s just part of the process. They get there and then they take it to a new level. Obviously Henry has done that and certainly Grant has. But yeah that’s a good observation and it’s true. It really is.
This season the linebacker trio is 1-2 and 4 on the tackle chart. Pool leads the way with 38 while Henry is next with 31 and then Morgan fourth with 25.
Prior to this season Pool, who was a four-star recruit at Lucas (Texas) Lovejoy, had played in 31 games with 25 starts. He had 224 tackles, including 92 solo, 15.5 for loss, a sack, one fumble recovery, three quarterback hurries and 14 pass breakups.
Morgan had played in 45 games prior to this season with nine starts, all in 2020 under Pittman. He had 212 tackles including 79 solo and 16.5 for loss, Morgan had four sacks, one forced fumble, six quarterback hurries and nine pass breakups.
Henry entered 2021 having played in 44 games with four starts. He had 83 tackles including 42 solo and 5.5 for loss. Henry had two sacks, a forced fumble and three pass breakups.
In the future, another linebacker to watch is former Little Rock Christian standout Jackson Woodard. He is a redshirt freshman who played in four games in 2020 and had two tackles. This season in three games, Woodard has two tackles. As a senior he helped lead his team to a 13-1 record with the only loss in the state title game. That season he had 153 tackles, two sacks and four forced fumbles.
In the Class of 2022, Arkansas has a commitment from Pulaski Academy linebacker Mason Schueck, 6-3, 220, to walk on with the Hogs. Schueck is someone who gets it done on and off the field. He owns a 4.0 grade-point average and has a 33 on the ACT.
The No. 8 Razorbacks will be at Georgia on Saturday with an 11 a.m. kickoff and televised on ESPN.