“Rich Get Richer” Theoretically Applies to Hogs’ WR Room in 2024

CJ Brown, Isaiah Sategna, Khafre Brown, Arkansas football
photo credit: Craven Whitlow / USF Athletics

The most interesting wide receiver room in the SEC — at least from a composition standpoint — might belong to Arkansas.

Assuming there are no more additions, new offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino will have 13 scholarship receivers at his disposal in 2024.

Every player at the position who caught a pass last year is back, plus they’ve added three high school signees and two transfers. At first blush, this would seem to be an enviable position, but wider context is needed to see the theoretical upgrade could be a lot more.

Two of those signees were two-star recruits and late additions to the class after the Razorbacks lost out on a pair of heralded four-star recruits, as Courtney Crutchfield flipped to Missouri and Ashton Bethel-Roman asked to be released from his NLI so he could sign with Texas A&M.

On top of the homegrown CJ Brown from Bentonville, Arkansas flipped Krosse Johnson from Louisiana-Lafayette and, most recently, Zachary Taylor from Army.

The Razorbacks also flipped one of their two transfers, getting former South Florida receiver Khafre Brown to de-commit from Charlotte. However, he was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and originally began his career at North Carolina.

The other transfer is also a former four-star recruit on his third stop, but Jordan Anthony didn’t play much in one season apiece at Kentucky and Texas A&M.

Then there’s all of the returners.

Both of Arkansas’ top two receivers last year — Andrew Armstrong and Isaac TeSlaa — began their careers at Division II schools, while another (Tyrone Broden) previously played in the MAC at Bowling Green.

The Razorbacks also return a pair of former four-star recruits Isaiah Sategna and Davion Dozier, to go along with a trio of former three-stars in Jaedon Wilson, Bryce Stephens and Dazmin James.

Here’s a look at how the newcomers and returning receivers slot into the depth chart for 2024 as Arkansas enters summer workouts…

Starting Group Emerges for Arkansas Football

Andrew Armstrong, Tyrone Broden, Isaiah Sategna

With offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino installing a new system, there was really only one certainty with Arkansas’ wide receiver room heading into spring ball — despite nearly all of last season’s receivers returning.

That was Andrew Armstrong, as he is coming off a breakout season in his first year playing at the FBS level. He caught 56 passes for 764 yards and five touchdowns, so it was probably a safe bet that he’d be a starter again in 2023.

Even with a new quarterback throwing him passes, Armstrong was clearly one of the top two targets for Boise State transfer Taylen Green. The other receiver in that top duo was a bit more of a surprise: Tyrone Broden.

Now entering his second season with the Razorbacks after transferring in from Bowling Green last offseason, Broden seems to have taken his game to another level.

There were moments last season when the 6-foot-7 receiver flashed his potential, but those moments were few and far between, as he finished with only 15 receptions for 129 yards and two scores. Broden was far more consistent throughout the spring and could be a breakout star this fall.

Another candidate to be a breakout star for Arkansas’ offense in 2024, especially with Petrino calling the plays, is Isaiah Sategna, our third projected starting receiver.

Similar to Broden, the Fayetteville High product had some big moments — both on as a receiver on offense and a returner on special teams — but didn’t get enough opportunities to carve out a consistent role on offense.

His combination of speed, route running ability and pass catching skills should benefit the Razorbacks. We saw some of that in the spring, but we also saw it last fall only for it not to translate to the field. With Petrino calling the plays, it’s probably not too much of a stretch to think that’ll be different this year.

The Next Tier

Jaedon Wilson, Isaac TeSlaa, CJ Brown, Khafre Brown

While the top three wide receivers were relatively easy to identify this spring, the pecking order behind them is still a bit up for grabs.

Had it not been for an injury that limited him for about half of spring ball, Jaedon Wilson might have pushed for a spot in that starting group. He did that last offseason and even scored the first touchdown of the 2023 season on a 65-yard screen pass. However, that proved to be most of his production. Take out that play and he caught only 14 passes for 134 yards.

Isaac TeSlaa was actually a starter last year and was second on the team with 34 receptions — more than the next two players combined. But he struggled to create separation in the SEC, which isn’t completely surprising for a guy making the jump from Division II.

It doesn’t seem like TeSlaa will crack the starting lineup this year, barring injury, but he still has a big catch radius and can make some spectacular catches. Petrino should be able to find a use for him in the offense, especially in the red zone.

Perhaps the most surprising inclusion in this tier is CJ Brown. The freshman was a super heralded prospect coming out of Bentonville and figured to be more of a developmental piece, but Sam Pittman admitted even he was better than expected.

There were times during the spring that Brown even got some reps with the first-team offense, so it definitely seems like he’ll have a role as a true freshman. He was targeted a lot and caught almost everything within his reach.

The wildcard in this group is Khafre Brown because he didn’t go through spring ball. His inclusion is really just based on the fact that he produced some at both North Carolina and South Florida, so he’d be an option to provide depth in the slot behind Isaiah Sategna.

The other Brown, CJ, might be the favorite there, but he’s still a true freshman and Khafre Brown is a more veteran player. Ultimately, it’ll boil down to how quickly he picks up the new system and how he performs in fall camp.

The Other Arkansas Receivers

Jordan Anthony, Dazmin James, Davion Dozier, Bryce Stephens, Krosse Johnson, Zachary Taylor

Among the group of “others,” the player that may have the best chance of cracking into the next tier is probably Jordan Anthony.

The biggest issue for Anthony, who is at his third school in as many years, seems to be consistently catching the ball, as he struggled with drops throughout the spring. However, he does have the elite speed so obvious below, and Bobby Petrino clearly liked him enough to bring him to Fayetteville from Texas A&M.

The most recognizable name in this group is probably Bryce Stephens. His punt return against Missouri State in 2022 saved the Razorbacks the embarrassment of not only losing to an FCS program as a top-10 team, but also losing to Petrino.

Last year, though, his role completely evaporated and he actually entered the transfer portal before choosing to return to Arkansas.

The other four receivers listed above are either redshirt freshmen (Dazmin James and Davion Dozier) or incoming freshmen (Krosse Johnson and Zachary Taylor) who didn’t enroll early.

Dozier is easily the most heralded of the group, as he was a four-star recruit in the 2023 class, but his spring was cut short by a broken wrist. There was a stretch when he looked like a potential contributor, but he had fallen off some before the injury. 

He should be back for fall camp and, at least of the four youngsters in this group, probably has the best chance at playing time this year — but it’s still not that big of a chance.

The Walk-Ons for Arkansas Football

Monte Harrison, Rykar Acebo, Emmanuel Crawford, Jace Petty, Walker Catsavis, Kamron Bibby

Walk-ons don’t typically generate many headlines, but Monte Harrison is not your typical walk-on. He spent a decade playing professional baseball, even reaching the big leagues, before retiring from that sport and deciding to try to play college football.

A four-star recruit coming out of high school in 2014, Harrison originally signed with Nebraska, where he was going to be a two-sport star, so he clearly had talent — a decade ago, at least. The question is whether or not he can be any good after not playing the sport for that long.

It has the potential to be one of the best stories in college football, but it probably means several other players listed in the first three sections either got hurt or didn’t pan out the way they were expected to.

Among the walk-ons who actually went through spring ball, Kamron Bibby probably made the most plays in practice, but his playing time was almost exclusively against the third-team defense.

The other name worth mentioning here is Rykar Acebo, as he’s a converted quarterback who wasn’t known to be playing receiver until he caught a couple of passes in the Red-White spring game last month.

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