Cheyenne O’Grady put Hog nation on red alert on Tuesday when he Tweeted that he’d suffered a “minor setback” in the form of a knee sprain requiring surgery. Briefly, it seemed the Razorbacks’ chances of having one of the SEC’s best tight end corps this year was in deep danger.
You’re the man Canaan❤️ https://t.co/RIsXw9Yt5R— Cheyenne OGrady (@OhMyGrady85) August 14, 2019
Fortunately, that arthroscopic surgery for the fifth-year senior is already finished. And it went better than expected:
Surgery was a success !!!!🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽 Might be back sooner than I thought after hearing the results. #BeatPortlandState👀👀👀— Cheyenne OGrady (@OhMyGrady85) August 15, 2019
Based on this news, the Hogs’ No. 1 tight end projects to be back in plenty of time for the Razorbacks’ season opener on August 31 against Portland State. If he keeps up what he did in the last eight games of 2018, he’s going to skyrocket up a lot of UA tight end records.
In that stretch last year, Cheyenne O’Grady caught 30 passes for 400 yards and a team-high six touchdowns. As Andrew Hutchinson of Hawgbeat.com notes: “Despite not doing anything the first four games, O’Grady still managed to tie for fifth among SEC tight ends in touchdown receptions and was by far Arkansas’ highest graded offensive player by Pro Football Focus at 78.3. That earned him a spot on the preseason Mackey Award watch list.*”
O’Grady only needs three more touchdowns to break Jeremy Sprinkle’s program record for a tight end. The two share more than top spots in the record book. They also roomed and trained together in Fayetteville this summer.
In the past, it wasn’t Cheyenne O’Grady’s health holding him back. It was his attitude.
Last spring, when speaking about his then position coach Barry Lunney, Jr., he said “Coach Lunney and I have had a love-hate relationship, but at the end of the day we love each other. We’ve been through a lot of good things and bad things.”
At the start of the 2018 season, O’Grady barely did anything on the field in first four games after a suspension and missing workouts, but former Hog Dre Greenlaw (O’Grady’s teammate at Fayetteville High) lit into him with the bite of a thousand Bulldogs and got him straight for the season’s stretch run.
Earlier this fall camp, it looked like Cheyenne O’Grady was losing motivation again. Chad Morris ran him out with the third unit and, to O’Grady’s credit, he manned up to the challenge.
“He’s responded fine,” Morris said earlier this week. “I think that’s been the biggest thing that we’ve seen. We felt like he would, so he responded… He’ll be back, he’ll be ready to go, he’ll be better than ever.”
With O’Grady out, Grayson Gunter will probably be the first team tight end, Morris added. Chase Harrell is close behind Gunter.
Freshman Hudson Henry, the nation’s No. 1 tight end in the prep ranks last year, should also get more reps in practice. He’s been recovering from a concussion and had been running with the fourth team when healthy.
*Two Razorback legends have won the John Mackey Award. D.J. Williams claimed the prize in 2010 and Hunter Henry brought home that gold-plated bacon in 2015.
For more about the 2019 Hogs, check out my below piece on where Razorbacks’ top two quarterbacks have been (outrageously) ranked nationally.