Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
O'Grady no longer with Hogs
Arkansas tight end Cheyenne O’Grady (85) scores Saturday, October 19, 2019 during the third quarter of a football game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. Visit nwadg.com/photos to see more photographs from the game.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Cheyenne "C.J." O'Grady's star-crossed career with the Arkansas Razorbacks has come to a close.
Coach Chad Morris announced on Monday what had been expected, that O'Grady's absence at Saturday's 54-24 loss to Mississippi State marked the end of his University of Arkansas career.
Morris said he met with the senior tight end from Fayetteville High School on Sunday night.
"We both mutually agreed that what's best for C.J. and what's best for this football program is for him to step away for the final three games," Morris said. "To help him prepare for what's next in his life. We're here to help him with that."
O'Grady, considered an NFL prospect, had multiple disciplinary issues during his career, spanning the coaching staffs of Morris and Bret Bielema, including suspensions.
Morris did not discuss the reason for O'Grady's suspension for last Saturday's game, though sources indicated he missed at least one team meeting during the week.
The senior broke the school record with 12 touchdown catches by a tight end with his 8-yard score from John Stephen Jones at Alabama on Oct. 26. He had previously shared the record with Jeremy Sprinkle.
"We're going to miss him a lot," Arkansas offensive coordinator Joe Craddock said. "He's a tremendous talent. He's made some plays for us over the last two years."
Despite missing two full games and one quarter of another, O'Grady leads the Razorbacks with 33 catches for 372 yards and 3 touchdowns. Sophomore wideout Mike Woods is tied with him for the touchdown receptions lead.
"We're here to help him get to where he wants to get to as the next step," Morris said. "We want to wish him the best right now."
O'Grady turned in one of the Razorbacks' top plays of the season on a tackle-breaking 62-yard catch and run during a 55-34 victory over Colorado State on Sept. 14.
On Monday night, O'Grady posted on Instagram with a photo from the Auburn game Oct. 19, thanking his teammates, coaches and fans.
"What an honor, a beautiful privilege it is to say I was a Razorback," O'Grady said. "I was fortunate enough to earn the trust of the coaches and be put onto the field to contribute for this Hog community. There is no word to describe how grateful I am for that. Unfortunately, it is my time to step away from the field.
"I plan to get my degree and graduate in December, which will make me the second person in my family to earn a degree.
"As for my brothers, you guys still have much to play for. 2 trophy games, our first SEC win, and a chance to finish better than we did last year. Best of luck fellas, I'll be watching every snap. I love you guys like family. I love you all."
Junior receiver De'Vion Warren will miss the Western Kentucky game, Coach Chad Morris said, due to an ankle injury he sustained returning a kickoff against Mississippi State.
"We hope to get him back after our open week, but we'll see on that," Morris said.
Senior left guard Austin Capps, who missed the last two games with a concussion, practiced in a green no-contact jersey Sunday night, but he is expected to play this week, Morris said.
Junior linebacker Grant Morgan, who left the Mississippi State game with a thumb injury, practiced Sunday night.
Run 'D' drop
Arkansas fell to No. 123 nationally, out of 130 FBS teams, after allowing 460 rushing yards in the loss to Mississippi State.
The Razorbacks are allowing 221.0 rushing yards per game, the second-worst in school history since 1947.
The next-worst rush defense in the SEC belongs to Vanderbilt, at No. 107, which is allowing 202.5 yards per game.
Coach Chad Morris cited the play of senior linebacker De'Jon "Scoota" Harris when reviewing film from the Mississippi State game with the team and he pointed it out in his Monday press conference.
"It was impressive as I watched film to watch Scoota Harris play and just his relentlessness and his ability to continue to sell out every play," Morris said.
"It's very inspiring. When you have your best player selling out like that it allows me to use him as an example in team meetings and on Sundays when these players come back in here exactly what the standard is and what's accepted here and how we play."
Harris, a pro prospect at middle linebacker, leads the team with 75 tackles.
Freshman receiver Treylon Burks, who has proven to be a dangerous punt returner, showed against Mississippi State he can impact the game on kickoff returns as well.
Burks had five kickoff returns for 134 yards -- including a long of 42 -- with multiple broken tackles after he replaced injured De'Vion Warren.
Burks has returned 11 punts for 112 yards with a long of 32.
Coach Chad Morris said Burks, who is fourth on the team with 20 receptions for 330 yards, would continue to be the lead kickoff return man with Warren out this week.
Sophomore cornerback Jarques McClellion had his streak of consecutive starts end at 17 games when he played off the bench against Mississippi State.
Redshirt freshman LaDarrius Bishop started in McClellion's place.
"It was giving LaDarrius a shot, an opportunity to get out there and play and create some competition there," Coach Chad Morris said.
It was the second start for Bishop. He also started against San Jose State when sophomore Montaric Brown was injured.
McClellion started the previous game at Alabama, but senior Britto Tutt replaced him to open the second half.
Six true freshman made their Arkansas debut against Mississippi State: quarterback KJ Jefferson, tight end Hudson Henry, running back A'Montae Spivey, defensive lineman Enoch Jackson, cornerback Malik Chavis and offensive lineman Austin Nix.
The Razorbacks have played 20 true freshman this season with starters including receivers Treylon Burks and Trey Knox, nickel back Greg Brooks, defensive end Mataio Soli and guard Ricky Stromberg.
Mississippi State's Kylin Hill was named SEC offensive player of the week by the league office Monday after the junior rushed 234 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 54-24 victory over Arkansas.
Hill is the fourth Arkansas opponent this season to win a weekly SEC award. Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral was the SEC freshman of the week for games on Sept. 7, Kentucky's Lynn Bowden was the co-offensive player of the week for games on Oct. 12, and Auburn's Marlon Davidson was the defensive lineman of the week for games on Oct. 19.
Chad Morris congratulated ex-Razorback Brandon Allen, the son of football staffer Bobby Allen, for winning his first career start with the Denver Broncos.
Allen threw two touchdown passes in the Broncos' 24-19 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Bobby Allen, a longtime Arkansas assistant coach and current director of high school and NFL relations, attended the game with many family members, including Austin Allen, a two-year starting quarterback with the Razorbacks who followed his brother in that role in 2016.
"Coach Allen and his family, I know they're extremely excited," Morris said. "We're extremely proud of him and excited for him."
Allen also made history as one of three players with the same surname to win on the same Sunday for the first time in the NFL, along with Carolina's Kyle Allen and Buffalo's Josh Allen.
Sports on 11/05/2019
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