Arkansas welcomes large group of new players to team

By Otis Kirk
on 2024-01-12 09:12 AM

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas is set to begin classes on Tuesday and Sam Pittman will have a large number of new players on campus.

The Razorbacks will have 25 new scholarship players on the team this spring. Arkansas signed 17 recruits from high school and 13 of those are on campus to go through spring drills. The Hogs have added 12 players from the transfer portal to this point and all will are midterm.

The only four high school signees not coming at midterm are two wide receivers and a pair of linebackers. Hoover (Ala.) four-star Bradley Shaw, 6-1, 218, and Harding Academy three-star Wyatt Simmons, 6-3, 215, are the linebackers not enrolling at midterm. The wide receivers are New Orleans (La.) Holy Cross three-star Krosse Johnson, 5-10, 170, and Missouri City (Texas) Ridge Point four-star Ashton Bethel-Roman, 6-1, 170. They are expected to arrive late May or early June.

Arkansas will have two new quarterbacks on campus. Montgomery (Ala.) St. James Academy four-star KJ Jackson, 6-3, 215, and Boise State transfer Taylen Green, 6-6, 221, will compete with Jacolby Criswell and Malachi Singleton for the job this spring. KJ Jackson transferred to UCF.

Benton four-star Braylen Russell, 6-2, 230, will be joined by Utah transfer Ja’Quinden Jackson, 6-2, 228, to compete for the running back job. The Hogs lost Raheim “Rocket” Sanders to South Carolina and AJ Green to Oklahoma State.

A pair of new wide receivers are Bentonville three-star CJ Brown, 6-1, 185, and Texas A&M transfer Jordan Anthony, 5-10, 170, are midterm players. They will compete with such returnees as Andrew Armstrong, Isaac TeSlaa, Isaiah Sategna, Jaden Wilson and others. Bethel-Roman and Johnson will join the mix in summer.

Arkansas has added Eastern Michigan tight end Andrew Paaske, 6-6, 255, to the mix. He will join Luke Hasz, Ty Washington and others.

Arkansas has five new offensive lineman arriving for spring ball. From the portal, Arkansas has Fernando Carmona, 6-5, 315, Michigan State’s Keyshawn Blackstock, 6-5, 315, and Tennessee’s Addison Nichols, 6-5, 327. Fort Smith Southside three-star Kobe Branham, 6-6. 320, and Lexington (Ky.) Frederick Douglass three-star Zuri Madison, 6-5, 315, will join a large number of player returning for Eric Mateos. Devon Manuel left for Florida and Joey Su’a headed to Arizona State.

At defensive end, Arkansas signed Albany’s Anton Juncaj, 6-3, 275. He was one of the prizes from the transfer portal. The Hogs also added Mills four-star Charlie Collins and Leeds (Ala.) four-star Kavion Henderson, 6-3, 250. Arkansas is still seeking an interior defensive lineman or two from the transfer portal. Anthony “Tank” Booker left for SMU and Taurean Carter to Colorado.

With Shaw and Simmons not arriving at midterm that leaves one linebacker from high school and another from the transfer portal. Marietta (Ga.) Kell four-star Justin Logan, 6-2, 220, and Georgia transfer Xavien Sorey, 6-3, 230, will compete with the returning players. Expect Arkansas to still add at least one more recruit from the transfer portal. Chris “Pooh” Paul left for Ole Miss, Jaheim Thomas to Wisconsin, Jordan Crook to Arizona State and Mani Powell also entered the portal.

Batesville (Miss.) South Panola athlete Julius “JuJu” Pope, 6-0, 195, could play any number of positions including linebacker, nickel, safety or even running back.

The Hogs added two defensive backs from the transfer portal and four from high school. The transfers are South Alabama’s Marquise Robinson, 6-2, 196, and Tennessee’s Doneiko Slaughter, 6-0, 190. The high school prospects are Texarkana (Texas) Pleasant Grove’s Ahkhari Johnson, 5-11, 175, Pinson (Ala.) Clay-Chalkville’s Tevis Metcalf, 5-10, 175, Aledo (Texas) High’s Jaden Allen, 6-0, 160, and Temple (Texas) Lake Belton’s Selman Bridges, 6-3, 170. Malik Chavis left for UNLV and Jaylen Lewis transferred to Temple.

With Cam Little opting for the 2024 NFL Draft, Arkansas added Hawai’i kicker Matthew Shipley, 6-1, 190. Arkansas also has Vito Calvaruso back from Wisconsin. Calvaruso has an extremely strong leg and handled kickoffs before transferring to the Badgers. He had to sit out 2023 after transferring back to Arkansas.

The deadline to enroll for classes at Arkansas the upcoming semester is Monday, January 22. Monday will be Martin Luther King Day thus the starting of classes on Tuesday. Since the deadline to register and enroll for the semester is in 10 days Arkansas still has wiggle room to host visitors and add some midterm prospects.

The remaining priorities are linebacker, defensive tackle and interior offensive lineman. Arkansas will host a Prospect Day on Saturday though the weather has caused some expected prospects to opt for a later date.

(Last updated: 2024-01-12 09:12 AM)