The Arkansas football team will have to look desperately to find playmakers at the wide receiver position for this upcoming year and may call on some younger guys to step up. The spot lost it’s top two receivers, Javontee Herndon and Julian Horton, from last season and it is imperative that they find at least a couple of go-to guys to have any success in the passing game this year.
Besides the linebacker position which I think will improve, the wide receivers may be the Achilles heel for the team this year if there is no improvement.
Regardless, I think some veterans will step up in the fall along with some newcommers. Here are the top players at the wide receiver position for the 2014-2015 season.
1. Keon Hatcher- He maybe the only receiver from last year that actually saw a substantial amount of playing time and one that Razorback fans are generally familiar with for this season.
Hatcher actually is one of the most underrated athletes on the team, but just couldn’t capitalized on his chances a year ago because of many dropped passes. He totaled 27 receptions last season and had 346 yards with two scores. His run after catch ability is tremendous and he always seems to break that first tackle attempt.
Judging from his performance from a year ago and with the top two receivers from last year gone, I don’t see any reason why Hatcher won’t be the main guy at the position this season. Look for him to be Allen’s top target in the fall.
2. Demetrius Wilson- After suffering a season-ending ACL injury from a year ago, Wilson will have to come right in and fill a starting spot for the Razorback offense. Wilson has been rehabbing the injury for almost a year now, so he should come back as strong as ever, but you never know how injuries will affect a player not only physically, but mentally as well. (i.e. Greg Childs)
The standout junior college transfer caught nine passes and a touchdown in his first year as a Hog in 2012, but still hasn’t fully reached his potential. He gives Allen a jump-ball threat in the red zone and has decent speed as well. I think this will be Wilson’s breakout year.
3. D’Arthur Cowan- Some interesting news came about Cowan from coach Bielema today. According to him, Cowan will concentrate on his academics and put himself in a postion to move forward academically for eligibility and graduation so he has been suspended from all team activities. This is now the third time in the last four months to be suspended from the team.
A year ago he played in the last six games after suffering from a broken foot and looked to to have a promising future at the position. However, if he cannot get his act together then he has no shot at being a factor on the offense like he could be.
Cowan has the ability to be a good player for the Hogs, but it looks like his playing time may be in jeopardy.
After hearing about the news about Cowan this morning, I decided to give three more guys that I think will be the best in the fall. These players are all newcommers so it’s difficult to predict exactly how they will impact the offense, but you can basically just interchange any of them 4-6.
4. Jared Cornelius- Cornelius has impressed everyone as soon as he enrolled early and has shown that he has the ability to be a huge factor for the Hogs in his first year. Cornelius out of Evangel Christian Academy in Louisiana, has incredible hands, elusiveness in space, and looked extremely good during the spring game.
The freshman has a smaller frame at 6-foot, 175-pounds, but has been working out with the team all offseason and reminds me a lot of former Hog Jarius Wright. I’ve posted this on my previous articles, but if you haven’t seen it, here are his highschool highlights where you can see just what to expect from Cornelius.
He may also see some time at a special teams spot returning kick and punts.
5. Cody Hollister- Transferring from Western Arizona CC, Hollister bring much-needed size to the postion at 6-foot-4, 205-pounds. After watching him in the spring game, you can tell that he also has great hands and is tough to bring down after the catch.
Hollister was selected as a first-team all conference player after leading the team with 69 receptions for 934 yards and five touchdowns at Arizona Western. He was also rated as the number 27 junior college wide receiver by 247sports.com.
The early enrollment by both of these newcommers is why I believe they will have the greatest chance to come in and make any an immediate impact compared to a guy at the number six spot in JoJo Robinson.
6. JoJo Robinson- Razorback fans got a little bit of a scare when last month he was arrested, but charges have been dropped and he was supposedly just at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Robinson is a four start recruit out of Miami, Florida very well could find himself at a starting spot when fall rolls around. In highschool he caught 70 passes for 760 yards and four touchdowns at Northwestern High that lead him to receive a four-star rating on most recruiting sites.
There’s been a lot of buzz about Robinson and he not only could help out at the receiver position, but at a kickoff or punt returning spot as well. He has outstanding quickness and will remind many Hogs fans of Joe Adams. With his ability and open spots at wide receiver, Robinson could very well turn out to have a Freshman All-SEC like year.
The wide receiver position may be the weakest group on the team and it will have to improve in order to take some of the pressure of the running game for the Razorbacks. It is vital that either these top players at the spot or someone else on the roster steps up for the Hogs in the fall.
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