Kamren Curl embracing role as freshman starter

By: Jimmy Carter
Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Arkansas cornerback Kamren Curl on the field during the Razorbacks' 41-9 loss at Alabama Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas cornerback Kamren Curl on the field during the Razorbacks' 41-9 loss at Alabama Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

— Kamren Curl typically gets a text from the same person before and after each road game.

Junior cornerback Ryan Pulley is checking in on his true freshman understudy.

“Telling me stuff I need to work on,” Curl said.

Curl was forced into action when Pulley suffered a season-ending injury in the first half of the first game and has started the last five games. Often, he’s been the center of attention when Arkansas was on defense ,as opposing teams have increasingly tried to target Curl, going after the 6-foot-1, 193-pound Muskogee, Okla., native. Curl has embraced that.

“When (Pulley) went down, I just had to step up in there,” Curl said. “Couldn’t really be scared.”

He’s given up some plays, but has also competed admirably and shown signs of being a big-time player down the road.

“I feel like he’s going to be a freshman All-SEC player,” senior nickel back Kevin Richardson said. “He’s a tremendous guy, has a great head on his shoulders, likes to learn. Ryan kind of took him under his shoulder, same with Henre’ (Toliver).”

Take the South Carolina game, for instance. The Gamecocks and quarterback Jake Bentley went at Curl repeatedly and it was a summation of the up-and-down life a young corner in the SEC can face.

Curl was impressive at times, breaking up three passes on either down-field throws or crucial situations.

He gave up a touchdown on a perfectly placed pass that was tightly defended. Said touchdown was set up by a questionable pass interference call, the second penalty levied against him in two weeks after being flagged in overtime of the Texas A&M game.

“It gets frustrating because it’s stuff I’m supposed to do,” Curl said.

That hasn’t seemed to shake Curl’s confidence or alter his performance.

“Just have a short memory, come back and make a play,” Curl said. “Like in the scrimmage in the fall, I had a pass interference and the next play I had a pick.”

Defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads publicly and privately voiced his support for Curl after both instances. His teammates have had his back, too, as teams try to take advantage of him.

“That’s more plays for him to make,” Richardson said. “He get to put that on film. If he can go out and make plays like that week by week, if people are going to keep throwing him the ball, that’s more tape for him to put out there.”

So, far Curl is stockpiling a pretty impressive collection of highlights.

Discussion

Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.