After a 6-6 regular season Arkansas turned in a winning record in 2022 with a bowl victory over Kansas. Looking ahead to this season, sportsbooks seem to expect a similar outcome. FanDuel Sportsbook currently tags Arkansas with a 6.5 win total with even juice on both sides. With that said, let’s dive into our Arkansas Razorbacks football futures, predictions and roster overview.
Arkansas Razorbacks Football Futures, Roster Overview & Predictions
First and foremost, this team did hire new coordinators on both sides of the ball. Dan Enos will take over the offense coordinator position after holding the same position at Maryland for the last two years. Travis Williams takes over the defensive coordinator job after holding that position at Central Florida for the last two years. On paper, both hires look solid. Maryland ranked 60th in overall offense and Central Florida ranked 77th on defense last year, per PFF.
Quarterback should be a position of strength with multi-year starter KJ Jefferson back for a victory lap. Jefferson proved himself as one of the most efficient signal callers in the SEC when healthy last year. He completed 204 of 302 passes (67.5%) for 2,654 yards (8.8 YPA), 24 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. At 6-3, 242 pounds, he also rushed 108 times for 777 yards (5.6 YPC) and nine scores. This will be his third season starting for the program. For depth, Arkansas added former four-star recruit and North Carolina transfer Jacolby Criswell to their room, in addition to four star freshman Malachi Singleton. Few quarterback rooms in the SEC rival this level of experience and depth.
Running back should also be a position of strength with five of the top six rushers returning. Raheim Sanders highlights this list after accounting for 2,044 yards and 15 scores in his first two years. The 6-2, 221 pound back rushed 224 times for 1,466 yards and ten scores last year, while catching 27 balls for another 239 yards. Rashod Dubinion, AJ Green, and Dominique Johnson all remain with the program as well. Green and Dubinion accounted for 414 and 292 rushing yards respectively last year. Johnson spent most of 2022 injured, but he ran 96 times for 574 yards in 2021.
The receiving room will be the biggest question for Arkansas after the Razorbacks lost five of their top six receivers. To address the issue, Arkansas brought in three transfers. Tyrone Broden comes over from Bowling Green and stands 6-7, 210 pounds. He caught 32 balls for 506 yards and seven scores. His 1.38 yards per route ranked 34th in the MAC and he played in the slot 9.7% of the time.
Hillsdale College transfer Isaac TeSlaa also comes over after earning player of the year honors in his conference. He caught 68 balls for 1,325 yards and 13 scores. This will be his fourth college season. He is listed at 6-4, 214 pounds. They also landed Texas A&M Commerce transfer Andrew Armstrong. Armstrong caught 62 balls for 1,020 yards and 13 scores in 11 games last year. He is listed at 6-4, 201 pounds and this will be his fifth season in college. However, Arkansas still has some highly recruited young players who could also step up. Second year player Isaiah Sategna played well in the scrimmage this spring. He was the highest recruit from the 2022 class, despite only catching two balls last year. He is listed at 5-11, 173 pounds.
Samuel Mbake is a former four-star recruit and Jaedon Wilson has also received plenty of first team work after coming in as a 2021 three-star recruit. They also have an incoming four-star in Davion Dozier, who could contribute as well. At tight end, Var’Keyes Gumms transferred in from North Texas. Gumms is 6-2, 220 pounds and played 444 snaps for North Texas last year. He blocked on 49.3% of those snaps and did so at an above average level. As a receiver, he caught 34 balls for 458 yards and five scores, recording 2.15 yards per route. He played in the slot on 40.9% of those routes. Behind him, Arkansas returns blocking tight end Nathan Bax, who played 210 snaps. Bax is 6-4, 260 pounds and blocked on 72.9% of those snaps. The team added Louisville transfer Francis Sherman late in the cycle as well. He stands 6-3, 234 pounds and played 230 snaps for Louisville last year. He blocked on 180 of those snaps.
Arkansas lost three starting offensive linemen this offseason after finishing as the 11th ranked unit in the country. Among the returners, Beaux Limmer has moved over from right guard to center this spring after playing 983 snaps last year. It looks like Brady Latham will retain his spot at left guard after 983 snaps as well last year.
The rest of the group has moved around quite a bit, but Ty’Kieast Crawford, Andrew Chamblee, and Patrick Kutas have gotten the most work with the first group this offseason. Crawford has the most experience with 114 snaps last year, most coming at tackle. Chamblee has yet to play a snap, but he was a four-star prospect from the 2022 class. They also landed Florida transfer Josh Braun, who played 639 snaps for the Gators in 2021. This unit lost a lot of experience, but they still have some solid pieces. Depth is the biggest concern here.
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On defense, Arkansas ranked 83rd overall in 2022. This include the 32nd ranked run defense, 69th ranked pass rush, and 114th ranked pass coverage. Arkansas underwent a complete rebuild after adding eight transfer on this side of the ball. The defensive line returns plenty of experience on the edge with Zach Williams and Landon Jackson both returning. They played 448 and 499 snaps respectively. Trajan Jeffcoat also transferred in from Missouri, providing depth.
The defensive interior doesn’t return quite as many snaps, but Keivie Rose transferred in from Louisiana Tech to complement Eric Gregory and Cameron Ball. At linebacker, Chris Paul Jr. returns after 430 snaps last year. He played well across the board, recording 18 quarterback pressures and only allowing 120 yards into his coverage. USF’s Antonio Grier and Cincinnati’s Jaheim Thomas add depth here.
The secondary received the biggest boost. They took multi-year starter Al Walcott at the safety position from Baylor. He allowed just 309 yards and one score into his coverage last year. They also grabbed Lorando Johnson from Baylor, who played 655 snaps last year. He allowed just 13 catches for 199 yards on 29 targets into his coverage. The rest of the group could be comprised of returning starters Quincey McAdoo, Dwight McGlothern, and Hudson Clark. Arkansas did a solid job running off the poor starters from the secondary and these three actually played at an above average level. If they can’t get the job done, Jaheim Singletary and AJ Brathwaite transferred in from Georgia and Western Kentucky for depth.
As for scheduling, Arkansas will deal with the normal rigors of an SEC West schedule. They have to play at LSU, Ole Miss, and Alabama. However, they only play four true road games all year. Arkansas crosses over against Florida and Missouri from the SEC East, which looks favorable at this point. They also play a winnable non-conference, featuring Western Carolina, Kent State, BYU, and Florida International.
Arkansas should be favored in at least six games this year, assuming health. The Razorbacks should finish 4-0 in non-conference and be favored over Florida and Missouri. However, Arkansas has the longest odds in the SEC West to actually win the conference at +9500. This is a bit long, considering the rebuilt defense and returning offensive production. However, taking a stand towards the over on the 6.5 win total makes more sense. Arkansas just needs to pick off one SEC West team assuming they take care of business in the games they will be a clear favorite.