Jordan Jones ‘standing out’ in preseason camp

By: Scottie Bordelon
Published: Thursday, August 9, 2018
Arkansas receiver Jordan Jones signals first down during a game against New Mexico State on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas receiver Jordan Jones signals first down during a game against New Mexico State on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — In terms of wide receiver play entering the 2018 season, Arkansas has a number of potential impact players and leaders.

Jared Cornelius, a senior who has battled a litany of injuries in his Razorbacks career, Jonathan Nance and La’Michael Pettway appear, as of now, to make up Arkansas’ first-team and what the unit dubbed ‘The Bomb Squad’ in spring practices. But as with every position, quality depth is key.

On Thursday, Arkansas coach Chad Morris more than hinted at a receiver who has thrived through six days of fall camp. Jordan Jones, a 6-1 redshirt sophomore from Smackover with speed to burn, has made significant strides toward becoming a constant in Arkansas’ offense.

“Jordan Jones is having a really good camp right now. He really is,” Morris said. “He’s standing out. I’ve heard Jordan Jones talk more over the last 3-4 days than I’ve heard him talk since I’ve been here.

“He’s got a lot of confidence, and I think that has to do with some strength he gained during the summer. He’s making plays out on the field, and it’s good to see that.”

Jones finished the 2017 season third on the team with 21 receptions for 401 yards and three touchdowns and put together a four-game midseason stretch against New Mexico State, South Carolina, Alabama and Auburn in which he hauled in 13 passes for 226 yards and two scores.

Jones was a player who was chastised at times by former coach Bret Bielema for not being fully accepting to coaching. Bielema said Jones wowed in practice often, but was also of the belief he needed added strength and toughness to pair with his 4.3 speed.

Twice during portions of practice open to the media this week Jones has gotten more than a step on his defender and been in position to make an explosive play. Both passes in his direction have been underthrown and well off the mark.

Morris said he’s enjoyed watching coach Justin Stepp’s receivers group and their personal transformations from spring, through the summer months and now six days into fall camp – Jones included.

“They’re pushing each other,” Morris said. “It’s go, go, go. There’s not time to sit around and think. You’ve got to be moving, and they’re enjoying it. They’re all in it together. When you get out on the field, you’ve got to have each other to survive, and that’s the mindset we have to create.

“It’s a mindset that I need my whole wide receivers group to survive, to push to make myself better through practice.”

With the ball in his hands, Jones is first down waiting to happen. He was second on the team in catches of 15-plus yards last fall and became the only Arkansas player with multiple catches of 50-plus yards on the year – the first Razorback to do so since Keon Hatcher and Rawleigh Williams in 2016.

Through the first full week of preseason practice, it appears the former 4-star and consensus top-100 receiver has turned a corner and taken a step toward becoming a consistent downfield threat.

Discussion

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