Scottie Bordelon is a reporter for WholeHogSports.com. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Bordelon previously covered high school sports for the Times Record in Fort Smith and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Springdale. He is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
Thompson getting 'better and better' at receiver
Arkansas receiver Warren Thompson makes a catch Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, during practice at the university practice facility in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Through two games, it is clear who Arkansas’ top three receivers are when assessing snaps played.
Treylon Burks leads the group at 116, according to Pro Football Focus, followed by De’Vion Warren at 101 and Tyson Morris at 75. After Morris, there is a fairly healthy gap.
Fourth on the team in snaps is a relatively unknown player — Warren Thompson, a physically impressive walk-on who transferred from Florida State. He has seen the field for 53 plays.
Following a solid performance in the 40-21 victory over Texas, Thompson's snap count is likely to rise as the season progresses.
“I teased with him (Tuesday) before practice that I got tired of people asking me who No. 84 was,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said. “'Finally there's about five or six people in the crowd who knows who you are now and at least they didn't ask me who is 84.' I was teasing him.
“He's a hard worker who doesn't say anything. Never hardly talks. He's got really good hands. Now there's one who is going to get better as the season goes on, too.”
A 6-3, 205-pound target, Thompson finished Saturday’s game second on the team with three catches, which totaled 21 yards. His longest reception of the game went for 11 yards, moved the chains and helped set up a field goal that put the Razorbacks ahead 26-7 in the third quarter.
In the preseason, Thompson, a redshirt junior, often ran with the first- and second-team offense in portions of practice open to reporters. He also dealt with a hamstring injury that likely slowed his on-field grasp of Arkansas’ offense.
“I think he's still thinking a little bit right now, to be honest with you,” Pittman said, "not in his routes, but in his assignments. I think he's getting better and better, but he's playing a little slower than what he will because he's not positive about what is going on.
“He's getting close, but still has a few plays that he's playing a little slower than I would like."
Offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, who previously coached Thompson at Florida State, said Aug. 20 that blocking on the perimeter was an area in which Thompson needed to improve. It appears he has responded well.
According to Pro Football Focus, he has the No. 2 run blocking grade among Razorbacks receivers at 72.2.
“There's a reason why he's here,” Briles said. “Warren is an incredible athlete, a really good kid, really willing to learn. We're so happy to have him here. He's very hard to cover.
“He's got great quickness. He's a big-body guy with great range.”
Added Pittman: “He’s a guy that goes to work. He’s always been able to run routes and catch the ball.”
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