Razorback report: Haselwood impresses with tough catch

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Monday, August 8, 2022
Arkansas receiver Jadon Haselwood, who transferred to the Razorbacks from Oklahoma, is shown during a spring practice on Thursday, April 7, 2022.
( J.T. Wampler)
Arkansas receiver Jadon Haselwood, who transferred to the Razorbacks from Oklahoma, is shown during a spring practice on Thursday, April 7, 2022.

FAYETTEVILLE — The media was on its way off the University of Arkansas practice fields on Sunday when the offense began a one-on-one period with receivers and cornerbacks battling for passes.

On the first snap, Jadon Haselwood ran a deep route against safety Jalen Catalon down the right sideline.

Catalon was in nearly perfect position but the 6-foot-3 Haselwood beat him anyway, extending his arm and catching the ball in his right hand inches before he tumbled onto the grass.

Eyebrows raised as Haselwood turned in the top catch available to be seen by the media through three days of camp. Catalon shouted out his admiration for the great catch twice as the pair headed back up the field.

The Razorbacks are looking for a standout to make highlight reel catches a la Treylon Burks last season. Haselwood is a top candidate.

That doesn’t come as a surprise to running backs coach Jimmy Smith, who was beaming when asked Saturday about reuniting with Haselwood, who starred for him when Smith was winning state titles at Cedar Grove High in suburban Atlanta.

“You see the smile?” Smith asked. “That’s my guy.”

Haselwood said in the spring he was very interested in Arkansas when he entered the transfer portal after starting his career at Oklahoma.

“He was kind of like a role model in my life in high school,” Haselwood said. “He kind of grew me up and made me who I am today. I just came to him for advice and he didn’t even really put that pressure on me to even look toward any other school.”

Smith called reuniting with Haselwood “a beautiful thing," then added, "It’s worked out well. He’s just one of those guys that just fit.”

Strength shout

Tight ends coach Dowell Loggains, in speaking about Trey Knox’s ability to gain weight and remain fit, agile and fast, gave a shout out to strength and conditioning coach Jamil Walker and his staff.

“He’s as good as any strength coach in America,” Loggains said. “When you come from pro football to college football you always hear the stories about how important the strength coach is. You don’t know it until you get here and see how much time they spend with those guys.

“The strength staff deserves a ton of credit. It’s a huge reason why we win, and those guys have done a great job, and Trey making the right decisions and doing the right stuff.”

Hot start

The receivers got out to a hot start in a one-on-one period against defensive backs early in Sunday’s practice — the third of fall camp.

After Jadon Haselwood pulled in his one-hand gem, Ketron Jackson Jr. and Warren Thompson both made tremendous catches. Jackson got beyond Khari Johnson for his catch and Thompson made a leaping, high-point catch down the sideline to defeat tight coverage from Hudson Clark.

4 for 4

Malik Hornsby went 4 for 4, on mostly short passes during the fastball start for the second offense. Hornsby found Jaedon Wilson on a quick slant with Keaun Parker in coverage and safety Jayden Johnson in position to lay a devastating hit before steering clear.

Hornsby’s next two passes went to tight end Nathan Bax, the first a short gain on the left edge and the second an open throw up the right seam that would’ve gained good yards. Quincey McAdoo grabbed a quick curl from Hornsby to complete the segment.

Personnel update

Backup center Marcus Henderson (pectoral muscle) and nickel back Jacorrei Turner (shoulder) continued to wear green jerseys.

Linebacker Christopher Paul returned to practice Sunday after only observing on the second day Saturday.

Tight end Hudson Henry had trouble getting through the first workout on Friday, which was conducted with temperatures in the mid 90s and a heat index approaching 100.

“That first day I was struggling a lot with some breathing problems,” Henry said. “I have asthma and I was struggling to breathe, so that was kind of a challenge.

“But these past two days, I’ve come out and I’ve been able to finish practices and been able to do good.”

Linebacker transfer Drew Sanders, who takes reps on the front line with Bumper Pool, has not been going through the team’s “fastball starts,” which typically open practice. Jordan Crooks and Mani Powell got work with the second unit Sunday.

Rashod up

Freshman tailback Rashod Dubinion took the four snaps during fastball starts with the top offense and quarterback KJ Jefferson as Raheim “Rocket” Sanders took a break during the drill.

Dubinion had a run during the sequence, while Jefferson went 1 for 2, throwing low for Jadon Haselwood and hitting tight end Trey Knox for a short gain. On the fourth play, the defense covered well and Jefferson had to scramble to his right before the play was blown dead.

A.J. Green ran with the second unit and Javion Hunt had a strong run with the third group.

No cap

Tight ends coach Dowell Loggains, who has spent 15 years on NFL coaching staffs, including six as an offensive coordinator, since finishing up at Arkansas in 2004, got on a roll talking about the advent of the transfer portal combined with NIL money in college football.

“It’s free agency without rules, and there’s no salary cap,” Loggains said. “That’s the difference in the NFL is it opened up one day, and you geared up all this time, and you knew, ‘Hey, his contract’s running out, and his contract’s running out.’ And you’re gearing up, so you had a chance to have a game plan. And it shut down at a certain point.

“It’s harder now because you do have a transfer portal that we have people that that’s all they do all day is look at the transfer portal and just keep hitting refresh on their computer and keep looking. And it all turns into… it’s a little bit like free agency without rules.”

Wreck report

Tight end Trey Knox, speaking in a new conference for the first time since the car accident he was in in Little Rock during spring break, said it was a scary deal.

“It was pretty bad, I ain’t going to lie,” Knox said. “Made it out and no one was hurt in the car. That’s really all you can ask for.

“I was really just blessed I only had a concussion and a little scratch on my forehead.”

Corner play

Redshirt junior Malik Chavis has run at first team cornerback during the fastball starts each day in camp along with Hudson Clark.

Chavis also got time with the starting unit during spring drills, along with Clark, transfer Dwight McGlothern and LaDarrius Bishop.

Bax on Ridge

Tight end Nathan Bax was at Illinois State at the same time as defensive tackle John Ridgeway, who transferred to the Razorbacks in 2021, the year after Bax, and had a huge impact on last year’s 9-4 season before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round in April.

“He was actually on my official visit,” Bax said. “He’s the same person he was here, a big personality. That same kind of playing style, just being an animal in the trenches.”

Discussion

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