Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Hog Futures Cody Hollister:
Wide receiver, twin go separate ways on football field
Cody Hollister catches the ball at spring football practice Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at University of Arkansas in Fayetteville
FAYETTEVILLE -- Cody Hollister has been playing football with his twin brother, Jacob, for as long as he can remember.
"I don't have any memories where we didn't have a football in our hands," Cody Hollister said. "We were 2-years-old when we first started tossing the ball to each other."
At a glance
CLASS Redshirt sophomore
HEIGHT/WEIGHT 6-4, 210 pounds
POSITION Wide receiver
PREVIOUS SCHOOL Arizona Western Community College
HIGH SCHOOL Bend (Ore.) Mountain View
NOTEWORTHY Enrolled at Arkansas in January and went through spring practice. Caught 3 passes for 61 yards and 1 touchdown in the Red-White game. … Caught 69 passes for 934 yards and 5 touchdowns to earn all-conference honors as a sophomore at Arizona Western last season. … Rated the No. 20 junior college receiver by ESPN. … Began college career at Nevada-Reno, where he redshirted in 2012. … Helped Mountain View win the Oregon Class 5A state title in 2011. … Had scholarship offers from Arkansas, Wyoming and Troy.
Jacob played quarterback and continued to toss the ball to Cody, a wide receiver, through their playing days at Bend (Ore.) Mountain View High School, where they helped the Cougars win three consecutive conference titles and the 2011 Oregon Class 5A state championship.
It was the first state championship for a school in Bend since 1940.
The Hollister twins went to Nevada-Reno to begin their college football careers with both redshirting in 2012. After a coaching change, the twins transferred to Arizona Western Community College in Yuma, Ariz., where both started last season. Cody was an all-conference receiver with 69 catches for 934 yards and 5 touchdowns. Jacob moved to tight end and had 10 catches for 96 yards and 1 touchdown.
This season as redshirt sophomores, the twins finally will play for different teams.
Cody could have joined Jacob at Wyoming but instead accepted a scholarship offer from Arkansas, where he enrolled in January and went through spring practice.
"Jacob was probably more of an influence on me to go to Arkansas than I was myself," Hollister said. "I talked to him about it and he's going, 'Dude, you've got to take this opportunity to go to Arkansas. I wouldn't let you pass this up.' "
Hollister said after so many years as teammates, the twins were ready to go their separate ways on the football field. They still talk on a daily basis.
"Now that we're both on our way to success at our new schools, we're comfortable being apart," Hollister said. "I miss him throwing me the ball, but since he's become a tight end, he can use his athletic ability a little bit more."
Hollister, 6-4 and 210 pounds, had a solid spring for the Razorbacks, capped by catching three passes for 61 yards in the Red-White game, including a 33-yard touchdown.
For all spring practices, Hollister had the highest percentage of what the coaches term "catchable balls" at about 95 percent.
"When we throw it to him, he catches it," Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said. "He has an uncanny ability to get open. He has a very good understanding of the game of football, can play inside and out. As he learns the offense, he's starting to play faster and faster.
"He's going to play a lot of football and hopefully have a good career here. Three years with him is a good thing."
Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen said he was impressed by how quickly Hollister progressed in the spring.
"Cody came in and got his head in the playbook," Allen said. "There really hasn't been too much of a learning curve for him.
"He's a big, physical guy. He can make the tough catch, go up in the jump ball situation and come down with it."
Hollister, ranked as the No. 20 junior college wide receiver in the country by ESPN, said he was surprised when he was contacted by Arkansas in late November. He first received a call from tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr., then a visit and scholarship offer from Coach Bret Bielema. His only other offers were from Wyoming and Troy.
"I'd been waiting for a school like Arkansas to notice me, and I feel like Coach Bielema looks for kids like me that maybe didn't get recruited as much," Hollister said. "I think he sees the football player in me that a lot of coaches don't.
"Some guys get caught up in the numbers or statistics, but Coach Bielema really understood me more than any coach I've ever met, so I'm glad I went with Arkansas. He was so genuine. Being around him kind of sealed the deal for me."
Hollister said he uses the fact he wasn't recruited heavily to his advantage.
"I always want to play with a chip on my shoulder," he said.
Joining the Razorbacks for spring practice was a major plus, Hollister said. He liked that practices were spread over five weeks, allowing for plenty of meeting time and film study.
"I made some big progressions physically and mentally," Hollister said. "When I first looked at the playbook, it was like another language. Now I've got a good grasp on it.
"Physically, I've always been a big guy, but I've learned to use my size a little bit more, working under some really good coaches. Whether it's using my hands or reading coverages or just getting off the ball, I'm excited to make even bigger leaps in the fall."
Sports on 07/11/2014