Matt Jones is the editor of the Hawgs Sports Network. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has a bachelor's and master's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas.
Spring Glance: Wide Receivers
TJ Hammonds, freshman running back at Arkansas football practice on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, in Fayetteville.
Notable Returners: Jared Cornelius, Jordan Jones, Deon Stewart, La'Michael Pettway
Who's Gone: Drew Morgan, Keon Hatcher, Dominique Reed, Cody Hollister
Who's New: T.J. Hammonds, Brandon Martin, Jonathan Nance
Arkansas has become more of a spread team and lost four receivers to graduation, so there is plenty of playing time up for grabs. The experience at the position kept several freshmen on the sidelines for much or all of last season. Among those returning who should get a strong look this spring are Jordan Jones, La'Michael Pettway and Deon Stewart. Because of low numbers at the position, T.J. Hammonds also has moved over from running back, and a pair of JUCO transfers were brought in at the midterm, including four-star prospect Brandon Martin, the No. 1-rated JUCO receiver who turned down offers from three other programs in the SEC West.
Position Leader: Jared Cornelius, Sr.
Injuries have plagued Cornelius for a sizable part of his career, but he showed flashes of greatness when he was healthy last season. Now he likely will be the No. 1 target. Cornelius had three consecutive 100-yard receiving games against Texas A&M, Alcorn State and Alabama during the first half of the season, becoming only the third Arkansas player to ever record the a feat. Cornelius became more of a downfield threat last season and also has good speed after the catch. He averaged more than 16 yards per reception last year and was ninth in the SEC in catches of 30 yards or more.
One to Watch: T.J. Hammonds, So.
The sophomore is lining up full-time at slot receiver this spring, but a move back to running back in the fall hasn't been ruled out. Hammonds is among the fastest players on the Arkansas roster but was buried behind Rawleigh Williams and Devwah Whaley at running back. He provides another option on those screen passes and end-arounds that offensive coordinator Dan Enos loves to run.
Kofi Boateng will practice after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL last August. It's unlikely that Boateng will be able to go through any contact drills or scrimmages.
Arkansas will add at least three more receivers when preseason practice begins, including four-star prospects Koilan Jackson and De'Vion Warren.
Jonathan Nance and Brandon Martin were teammates at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College last season.
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