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July 16, 2010

Top 25 Countdown: #23 Arkansas


2009 Record – 8-5, 3-5 SEC (West)
Bowl Game – Liberty Bowl – beat East Carolina 20-17
Letterman Returning: 59
Stadium – Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (72,000)
College Location – Fayetteville, Arkansas
Coach – Bobby Petrino 13-12 (3rd year)


Key Returnees – QB Ryan Mallett (below), TE DJ Williams, WR Greg Childs, RB Broderick Green, WR Joe Adams, WR Jarius Wright

Key Losses – G Mitch Petrus, RB Mike Smith

- A lot has changed in the Arkansas offense since Bobby Petrino took the reins of the team in ’08. In 2007, the team featured a stellar trio of running backs in Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, and Peyton Hillis. The three combined for over 3,300 rushing yards in ’07, and were all high selections in the 2008 NFL draft. In 2008, after the signing of Petrino and departure of the Hog rushing game, the Razorbacks received a blessing from heralded Michigan quarterback Ryan Mallett, who opted to transfer to Arkansas. After sitting out the ’08 season due to transfer rules, Mallett did nothing but destroy SEC defensive backfields like John Daly and a pocket of cash through a Las Vegas casino. Mallett passed for 3,624 yards with 30 touchdowns, with only seven interceptions. Not bad for a state and team that had gotten used to the likes of Matt Jones and Casey Dick tossing balls to opposing defenses like they were grenades at Stalingrad. Mallett may be in store for an even bigger 2010 in his junior season with the likes of his entire receiving corps intact, including All SEC tight end, DJ Williams. With Mallett touting the rock, the offense average 36 points per game and had over 580 total yards three times last season. The offense also features the power running game of bruising tailbacks Ronnie Wingo, 6’3’’ 227, and USC transfer, Broderick Green, 6’2’’ 250. Green rushed for 11 touchdowns in mostly goal line action last season. The line welcomes back four of the five starters from last season, but losses the likes of All SEC guard Mitch Petrus.


Key Returnees – MLB Jerry Franklin, OLB Jerico Nelson (below), DE Jake Bequette, DT Zach Stadther

Key Losses – OLB Wendel Davis, DT Malcolm Sheppard, DE Adrian Davis

- As good as the offensive side of the ball was at gaining yards, the 2009 Hog defense was just as good at giving those yards back to opposing teams. The defense gave up an average of 401 yards a game last season, with the secondary nearly giving offenses a 60 percent completion percentage. In six games last season the defense gave away more yards than the offense could contribute. With seven starters returning and a solid two deep depth chart, the Razorback attack should only improve. The teams No.1 and No.3 tacklers return in linebackers Jerry Franklin and Jerico Nelson, both juniors. Nelson is an undersized outside ‘backer at 5’10’’ 205, but has the pop of a 240 pound player. The secondary returns three of four starters but needs to get more hands on balls this season. No player in the secondary had more than four passes defended last season or more than three interceptions. Former Florida State and junior college transfer safety, Anthony Leon, steps into starting action in 2010 and brings an intimidation factor to the secondary with his 6’4’’ 230 pound frame. Along the line, junior defensive end Jake Bequette returns as the Hogs leading sack man with 5.5. Junior tackle, Zach Stadther, steps into his third year as a starter in 2010.


There can only be so many good teams in the SEC year in and year out. With the likes of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Auburn and on occasion Tennessee, stealing the spotlight and the national rankings each year, it’s only fitting that in what is suppose to be one of the Razorbacks better teams in recent memory, that they should garner a bit of attention in 2010 as well. It’s not like Tennessee should mind, they’re players are busy using their one phone call, rather than reading playbooks, for now at least. With so much talent in the SEC, schedules get a little hectic in the West and East. For Arkansas, SEC play kicks off with a September trip to Georgia on the 18th, before a home meeting with Alabama on Sept. 25. An Arlington meeting with Texas A&M on Oct. 9 following a bye week starts off a grueling October of SEC play which also features at Auburn, Mississippi and Vanderbilt. A Nov. 6 meeting at South Carolina should come with a cold hearted welcome as well. Ending the season is SEC West opponent LSU Nov. 27.

Schedule rating: A-

Red = Toughest Game. Blue = Pivotal to conference.

Top Incoming Freshman:

1.) Calvin Barnett, *#13 DT, 6-3 305, Tulsa, OK

The Razorbacks were able to pluck the Tulsa native away from Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

2.) Jacoby Walker (left), #40 QB, 6-1 200, Houston, TX

Walker is an accurate passer with an exceptional deep ball in his arsenal.

3.) Cam Feldt, #35 G, 6-4 295, Pilot Point, TX

Has the size to step in right away if injuries deplete the line.

4.) Chris Smith, #104 OLB, 6-1 220, Mount Ulla, NC

An edge rushing defensive end in high school, Smith brought in 25 sacks as a junior and 32 as a senior.

5.) Byran Jones, #85 DT, 6-2 310, Junction City, AR

Absurdly strong lineman has a 400+ pound bench press and 550 pound squat.

*Rankings by

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