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.
'He kind of fits us': Drew Sanders standing out to Pittman
Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders takes part in a drill Tuesday, March 15, 2022, during practice at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. Visit nwaonline.com/220316Daily/ for the photo gallery.
FAYETTEVILLE — Take the names and numbers off the backs of their practice jerseys and it would be a challenge to differentiate Drew Sanders from Bumper Pool.
Arkansas’ opponents this fall might feel as if they are seeing double, too. Sanders, a transfer from Alabama, and Pool are holding down the linebacker position for the Razorbacks as of now.
The only difference in the two, according to Arkansas’ spring roster, is Sanders stands 6-5 – three inches taller than Pool. Both come in at 232 pounds.
And according to Razorbacks coach Sam Pittman, they have a similar style of play, which suits him fine.
More from WholeHogSports: Notes and observations from Tuesday's spring practice
“I really like Drew, and it’s because of his athletic ability and he wants to get to the ball,” Pittman said Tuesday after Arkansas’ seventh spring practice. “He reminds me a little bit of Bumper. I like those two guys playing side by side.”
Asked if any players in particular performed well in the Razorbacks’ first scrimmage last Saturday, Sanders’ name was first out of Pittman’s mouth. On two occasions Pittman noted he liked the way the junior played.
And as many times, he commented on Sanders’ speed, which will be needed following the departures of linebackers Grant Morgan and Hayden Henry. The two combined for 202 tackles in 2021.
“(Drew is) instinctive,” Pittman said. “He can really run. I think he ran an 11-flat 100 meters at whatever (size) he’s at. He’s big. But he’s instinctive, he can run.
“He kind of fits us. He’s tough and smart.”
More from WholeHogSports: Pittman recaps last Saturday's scrimmage and Tuesday's practice
In his two seasons with the Crimson Tide, Sanders started three games and had 33 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1 sack. A former 4-star prospect and No. 1 player in Texas, according to 247 Sports, he had a career-best 6 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 quarterback hurry in Alabama’s win at Florida last fall.
Sanders announced his intent to transfer one day after the Crimson Tide’s loss to Georgia in the national championship game in January. Alabama’s loss soon became Arkansas’ gain.
"I really like the kid," Pittman said. "I like him a lot and think he’s going to be a really, really good player in this league."
Sanders operated alongside Pool, who led the Razorbacks and tied for 10th nationally with 125 tackles in 2021, on the first-team defense Tuesday. He has made an impression on Pool, too.
"He’s extremely talented," Pool said. "He’s got a lot of intangibles and I think that he wants to be good and he works really hard. Whenever you put all those things together, you’re going to have a guy that’s going to be successful.
“We’ve got a lot of good talent in our room and just to have him come in and teach us little things he’s learned, it’s been good."
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