Sam Pittman and his Arkansas football team secured a major need when former Michigan State offensive lineman Keyshawn Blackstock committed out of the transfer portal four days prior to the Hogs’ season finale against Missouri.
That was a great start, but Pittman still has plenty of work to do on the heels of a dreadful four-win season. He singled out the need for help on the offensive line during a recent episode of Sam Pittman Live, as well as quarterback and some spots on the defensive side.
College coaches have been traveling across the country watching their commits and top prospects compete for high school state championships, but quality production out of the portal that can provide immediate help is as important now as it has been in the Pittman era.
As the transfer portal window opens on Monday, Best of Arkansas Sports has put together an early list of prospects to watch. Stay tuned as portal season continues to heat up and more names continue to pile in with each passing day.
Taylen Green | QB | 6-6, 225 | R-JR
Green was offered coming out of Lewisville (Texas) High School by Arkansas offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino when Petrino was the head coach at Missouri State. He opted to sign with Boise State and appeared in just one game his first year with the team, but burst onto the scene in 2022, starting 10 contests for the Broncos and was named the Mountain West Freshman of the Year. Green was also tabbed second team Freshman All-American by College Football News after totaling 2,628 yards (2,042 passing) while completing 61% of his passes and had 24 total touchdowns.
It is worth noting that Green could return to Boise State after his numbers declined in 2023, as completed 57% of his passes for 1,752 yards and 11 touchdowns with nine interceptions, along with 436 yards and nine scores on the ground. Prior to the game against New Mexico on Nov. 11, he lost his starting job to backup Maddux Madsen. However, more recently, the pendulum is swinging the other way. Green is coming off a solid Mountain West Championship game in which the Broncos beat Barry Odom’s UNLV squad 44-20 and he was named the Offensive Player of the Game after completing 12-of-15 passes for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns to go with 90 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground.
William Lee | DB | 6-3, 185 | R-JR
The former JUCO prospect had a standout season in the secondary for Kansas State in 2023, collecting 42 tackles, 32 of them solo and 1.5 for loss, batted down six passes, forced a fumble and intercepted two passes.
Lee was tabbed as a freshman All-American at Iowa Western Community College in 2022 and helped the team win a national championship.
Will Rogers | QB | 6-2, 215 | GR-TR
Statistically one of the Southeastern Conference’s most decorated passers, Rogers would bring a ton of experience to the Arkansas quarterback room. In his career at Mississippi State, Rogers has thrown for 12,315 yards with 94 touchdowns and his best season came in 2021 when he completed 74% of his passes for 4,739 yards and 36 touchdowns.
Between a shoulder injury that sidelined him for eight games that included Mississippi State’s 7-3 win over Arkansas, as well as drastic changes to the offense, Rogers faced his share of adversity in 2023, but finished with 1,976 yards and 36 touchdowns.
If KJ Jefferson decides to move on and Jacolby Criswell isn’t deemed as the heir apparent, Rogers would be a stellar option.
UPDATE: It sounds like Will Rogers may be heading out west to play at Washington.
Jerand Bradley | WR | 6-5, 220 | R-JR
A high school teammate of current Arkansas wide receiver Jaedon Wilson, Bradley finished second in nearly all receiving categories for Texas Tech, hauling in 36 catches for 431 yards and four touchdowns. For his three-year career with the Red Raiders, Bradley had 1,274 yards and 10 touchdowns on 92 receptions.
Coming out of high school, Bradley received an Arkansas offer from former Hogs’ wide receivers coach Justin Stepp, along with Baylor, Nebraska, Minnesota and South Carolina among others.
Raymond Cottrell | WR | 6-3, 210 | SO
One of the top young names in the portal, Cottrell already has a relationship with new Hogs’ offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino. He only recorded one pass for 13 yards during his freshman season in College Station, but it resulted in a touchdown.
The Milton, Fla, native was a consensus four-star prospect in the 2023 class and ranked as high as the 23rd-best wideout in the country per ESPN, the same outlet who had him 162nd overall. Arkansas was one of the many offers on his impressive list that included Alabama, Florida State, Georgia and Notre Dame. As a senior at Milton High, Cottrell caught 46 passes for 651 yards and nine touchdowns.
Donaven McCulley | WR | 6-5, 200 | SR
McCulley led the Indiana Hoosiers in receiving this season, hauling in 48 passes for 644 yards and six touchdowns, along with throwing a 44-yard touchdown pass. Speaking of passing the ball, along with great measurables for a wide receiver McCulley has a history of playing under center. He came to Bloomington as a four-star prospect and was rated the 24th-best quarterback in the 2021 class per the 247Sports composite rankings.
The third true freshman in Indiana history to start a game, McCulley threw two touchdown passes in an Oct. 2021 matchup against Maryland before transitioning to wide receiver the following spring.
Ethan Miner | OL | 6-2, 300 | GR-TR
Miner earned the starting center position for the Mean Green this past season after transferring in from Arkansas State, where he started 24 games for the Red Wolves. He paved the way for North Texas’ 191.2 rushing yards per contest, which ranked second in the American Athletic Conference.
UPDATE: According to The Portal Report, Miner has received interest from Arkansas.
Geno VanDeMark | OL | 6-5, 320 | R-JR
If reunited with aforementioned former teammate Keyshawn Blackstock in a Razorback uniform, the addition of VanDeMark would be a literal huge score who would bring starting experience. VanDeMark started at right guard for the Spartans last season, but missed four games due to injury. After redshirting his freshman season in 2021, VanDeMark appeared in 18 games total with Michigan State that includes 10 starts.
Quantavious Leslie | OL | 6-3, 320 | SR
Power 5 programs from coast to coast likely began dialing Leslie’s phone once his name popped up in the transfer portal on Monday morning. The Rome, Ga., native is a three-year for Western Kentucky, totaling 37 starts and appearing in 45 all together during his career with the Hilltoppers. Leslie was also named to the Outland Trophy watch list the past two seasons, honoring college football’s best interior lineman. He helped the Western Kentucky offense finish fourth in total offense across Conference USA, including first in passing with 287.9 yards per contest.
Sam Brumfield | LB | 5-11, 225 | SR
One of the top linebackers currently in the portal, Brumfield finished this season as Middle Tennessee State’s leading tackler with 82 total, including 46 solo and 3.5 sacks. He also forced three fumbles.
For what it’s worth, Brumfield is from Pearl, Miss., and there are some connections between The Magnolia State and multiple Arkansas defensive coaches. D-line coach Deke Adams and secondary coach Deron Wilson both played at Southern Miss, while Adams also coached there from 2009-11 as well as Pearl River Community College from 1998-2002. Additionally, co-defensive coordinator Marcus Woodson is from Moss Point, Miss., played his college ball at Ole Miss and started his coaching career at Millsaps College in Jackson.
Kenan Johnson | DB | 6-1, 190 | GR-TR
With the highest grade of any Georgia Tech defensive player (75.4) in 2023 per Pro Football Focus, Johnson would bring an immense amount of production to Arkansas’ secondary, not to mention plenty of experience as a grad transfer. Johnson is coming off of the best season of his career after logging 29 total tackles, 20 of those solo, with three pass deflections, forced two fumbles and recovered another, as well as nabbed an interception.
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