Early Most Improved Hog Candidate + 2-Minute Drill Details from Day 1 of Spring Ball

Tyrone Broden, Arkansas football, Arkansas spring ball
photo credit: Craven Whitlow

FAYETTEVILLE — Despite a mostly underwhelming year from the position, Arkansas chose to pretty much stand pat with its wide receivers this offseason.

The Razorbacks added one transfer and two freshmen while losing only one scholarship receiver from last year’s room, with Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman wanting to see how the group looked in new offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino’s system before making any more moves.

“We got to figure out whether we’re going to stay where we’re at or whether we’re going to go in the portal for some depth at wide receiver,” Pittman said. “I think we have really talented guys on the team, we just got to give them enough reps to find out.”

Included among the returners is leading receiver Andrew Armstrong, who is back as a super senior after transferring in from the FCS ranks last offseason. In his first season at Arkansas, he caught 56 passes for 764 yards and five touchdowns.

He is the favorite to be the Razorbacks’ go-to receiver once again in 2024, but another second-year transfer is also turning heads early on.

Tyrone Broden, who transferred in from Bowling Green last January, was singled out by Pittman during Tuesday’s pre-spring ball press conference. Listed at 6-foot-7, 198 pounds, the Detroit native had some flashes last year, but was largely inconsistent, finishing with 15 catches for only 109 yards and three scores.

“I’ll tell you who’s looked really good is Broden,” Pittman told reporters. “Looked really good. He got hurt last year early and missed some time.”

It was just one practice and no one was in pads, but Broden backed up his coach’s assessment on Day 1 of spring ball. Practicing inside Walker Pavilion because of rain, he got reps with the first-team offense and seemed to be one of quarterback Taylen Green’s go-to targets.

A highlight of the practice came when Broden got open on a go route and Green hit him in stride about 35 yards downfield, allowing him sprint down the sideline for a touchdown during an 11-on-11 team period.

A couple of plays later, Green targeted him again on the sideline. This time, there was tight coverage from cornerback Marquise Robinson, the South Alabama transfer. Even though he was out of bounds, Broden caught the ball around Robinson’s head for a highlight-reel play.

There were several other connections between Green and Broden throughout the practice, which was different than last spring when most of those big plays were receptions by the likes of Armstrong, Isaac TeSlaa or Isaiah Sategna.

Again, it’s still very early and the Razorbacks haven’t even put on shoulder pads yet, but Broden is building an early case to be one of the most improved players on the team. That would be a significant development for Arkansas because his combination of size and speed would be tough on opposing defenses.

“He’s coming for everything that he feels like he deserves,” Armstrong said. “I think Tyrone is really locked in. … That’s my roommate (and) we always talk like it’s this year, we got to do it this year. I feel like it’s fixing to be one of those years that people talk about forever.”

Day 1 Spring Practice Observations

Here are several other observations and tidbits from the Razorbacks’ first day of spring ball, which was open in its entirety to the media…

  • Boise State transfer Taylen Green took every rep with the first-team offense in team settings. Interestingly, Malachi Singleton got a majority of the second-team reps, with true freshman KJ Jackson occasionally rotating with him, while Jacolby Criswell took reps with the third unit.
  • Speaking of Jackson, the four-star prospect has a very impressive arm. It’s a little jarring to see a quarterback throwing with his left arm, but his passes are crisp and have a tight spiral. He looks more polished than other true freshmen who have come through the program in recent years.
  • There was a steady rotation at the two offensive tackle positions, with San Jose State transfer Fernando Carmona and redshirt sophomore E’Marion Harris rotating at left tackle and Michigan State transfer Keyshawn Blackstock and super senior Ty’Kieast Crawford rotating at right tackle.
  • With Amaury Wiggins out with an injury, Tennessee transfer Addison Nichols held down the first-team center spot, with walk-ons Brooks Edmonson and Tim Dawn (a Baylor transfer) serving as the second and third centers, respectively.
  • Joshua Braun, who was the first-team right guard, has switched to No. 72. He previously wore No. 78 and was still listed with that number on the spring roster. The move was likely made possible because Andrew Chamblee, who wore No. 72 the last two years, is no longer on the team.
  • Wide receiver tidbits: It wasn’t a banner day for Isaiah Sategna, who dropped several passes during the practice. True freshman CJ Brown also had a bad drop, but made a few impressive catches, as well. Bryce Stephens snagged a one-handed catch in a one-on-one rep. Isaac TeSlaa came down with a jump ball against Marquise Robinson.
  • Tight end Luke Hasz appeared to be full speed and caught a few passes. However, Var’keyes Gumms stood out on the second unit as someone who was either getting open for easy receptions or making contested catches in traffic. That playmaking ability is not something he ever really showcased in fall camp before last season.
  • Wide receiver Jordan Anthony, a transfer from Texas A&M, was not at practice because he is still with the track team, preparing for this weekend’s NCAA Indoor Championships in Boston. He is expected to join the team next Tuesday and participate in the final 12 practices of spring ball before going back to track for the outdoor season.
  • Lorando “Snaxx” Johnson had one of the better one-on-one reps of the day when he had tight coverage on Isaac TeSlaa and forced an incompletion. In team periods, he was running as the first-team nickel, with Hudson Clark sticking at safety.
  • Florida transfer Miguel Mitchell nearly picked off KJ Jackson at one point, but the pass deflected off his fingers and fell incomplete.
  • Georgia transfer Xavian Sorey Jr. got plenty of reps with the first-team defense, playing alongside Brad Spence, Alex Sanford and Carson Dean at various points during practice.
  • The only player in a green non-contact jersey was freshman linebacker Justin Logan. There were several players out with injuries, but none of them were a surprise because Pittman revealed the injuries Tuesday. The full list of those players can be found below.
  • Former Arkansas tight end Chris Gragg, who played for current offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino when he was the head coach, was in attendance. He’s now an assistant coach at Springdale Har-Ber High School.

Two-Minute Drill

  • The Razorbacks capped the practice with a period of two-minute drill. The situation: Ball on the 36, one timeout, 32 seconds left and the offense needs a touchdown. The first- and third-team defense won their reps, with the second-team offense being the only one to get in the end zone. Here’s a rundown of what happened.
  • 1s: After a pass breakup by Jayden Johnson, Taylen Green found Jaedon Wilson over the middle for a 25-yard gain. Green then hit Luke Hasz in the flats and he got to the 4-yard line before stepping out of bounds. With four seconds left, Green went to Hasz again, but he bobbled the ball. It’s unclear if he secured the catch in bounds, but it doesn’t matter because time expired on the play and he didn’t get across the goal line.
  • 2s: Malachi Singleton took a shot on the first play, but his pass fell incomplete. He was forced to scramble on the next play and he picked up 8 yards, but it forced the offense to burn its timeout. A 20-yard completion to Isaiah Sategna moved the chains and, after hurrying to the line of scrimmage, Singleton tried a jump ball to Davion Dozier. He and Marquise Robinson were fighting for position and Robinson managed to catch it with one hand for an apparent interception. However, the official threw a flag and called pass interference – perhaps a questionable call. Given a second chance, Singleton found Var’keyes Gumms at the back of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown.
  • 3s: On his first play, Jacolby Criswell hit CJ Brown for a 14-yard gain, but his second pass, which was intended for Dazmin James, was broken up by freshman Jaden Allen. That’s when the defensive line took over. Freshman defensive end Kavion Henderson got in Criswell’s face and forced him to dump it off to Dominique Johnson, who managed to get 8 yards. On the next play, Henderson actually got to him and was credited with a sack to back up the offense and force it to burn the timeout. On fourth and long, Criswell got pressure from both sides – Henderson and fellow freshman Charlie Collins – which forced him from the pocket. His throw went off Brown’s hands and fell incomplete, but he may have been short of the sticks even if he hung on to it.

Arkansas Football Injury Report

  • LB Justin Logan (undisclosed): Practiced in a green non-contact jersey Thursday morning.
  • TE Ty Washington (shoulder): Still recovering from surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder suffered against Florida. Pittman is hopeful he can catch some passes after spring break, but they’re going to be careful with him.
  • OL Amaury Wiggins (knee): Had some cartilage trimmed and is expected to miss at least the first two days of spring ball. Could return Sunday for practice No. 3.
  • OL Zuri Madison (ACL): Tore his ACL in a scooter accident a few days before spring ball. It’s likely to be a season-ending injury, but he could potentially get ready for a bowl game. However, as a true freshman on the offensive line, he was probably a redshirt candidate anyways.

Arkansas Football Unofficial Depth Chart

This is how the Razorbacks lined up during their “fastball starts” at the beginning of the practice. In this period, the first-, second- and third-team offense runs four plays apiece against the first-, second- and third-team defense, respectively.

It’s worth noting that several positions changed in other team periods later in practice.


QBTaylen GreenMalachi SingletonJacolby Criswell
RBRashod DubinionJa’Quinden JacksonIsaiah Augustave
TELuke HaszAndreas PaaskeShamar Easter
WRTyrone BrodenDavion DozierDazmin James
WRJaedon Wilson*Var’keyes Gumms (TE)Bryce Stephens
WRAndrew ArmstrongIsaac TeSlaaCJ Brown
LTFernando CarmonaE’Marion HarrisAaron Smith
LGPatrick KutasLuke BrownJosh Street
CAddison NicholsBrooks EdmonsonTim Dawn
RGJoshua BraunParis PattersonKobe Branham
RTKeyshawn BlackstockTy’Kieast CrawfordTommy Varhall
*The second-team offense lined up in 12 personnel with two tight ends.


DELandon JacksonQuincy Rhodes Jr.Charlie Collins
DTCameron BallKeivie RoseKaleb James
DTEric GregoryIan GeffrardKyle Thompson
DENico DavillierAnton JuncajKavion Henderson
LBBrad SpenceAlex SanfordBrooks Both
LBXavian Sorey Jr.Carson DeanKaden Henley
NBLorando JohnsonTevis MetcalfDallas Young
CBJaheim SingletaryKee’yon StewartSelman Bridges
SJayden JohnsonTJ MetcalfRJ Johnson
SHudson ClarkDoneiko SlaughterAhkhari Johnson
CBJaylon BraxtonMarquise RobinsonJaden Allen

Post Practice Interview

We heard from linebacker Brad Spence, defensive end Landon Jackson and wide receiver Andrew Armstrong after Thursday’s practice.

YouTube video


More coverage of Arkansas football from BoAS… 

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