Arkansas Secondary Departures Reach Double Digits with Latest DB Transfer

Anthony Brown, Arkansas football, transfer portal
photo credit: Twitter/@Ant_Winning

Freshman defensive back Anthony Brown plans to leave the Arkansas football program and enter the transfer portal, he announced via Twitter late Wednesday night.

The move comes following a tumultuous first year with the Razorbacks. Brown didn’t see the field, but did make headlines when he and teammate Myles Slusher were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in November.

That incident occurred off of Dickson Street in the early morning hours following Arkansas’ disappointing loss to Liberty. According to the police report, Brown pushed an officer who was trying to move him off the street and onto the sidewalk. Full details from the report can be read here.

Both players served a one-game suspension and had to do extra conditioning work as punishment, but police body cam footage eventually revealed that Brown’s actions weren’t particularly egregious.

In the message he posted to Twitter, Brown thanked defensive coordinator Barry Odom and cornerbacks coach Dominique Bowman, both of whom are no longer with the program. Noticeably absent from his transfer announcement was any mention of head coach Sam Pittman.

Anthony Brown with Arkansas Football

A high three-star prospect on all of the major recruiting services, Anthony Brown played all over the field at Milan High School in Tennessee and was classified as an “athlete.” He committed to Arkansas over reported offers from Alabama, Auburn, Oregon, Tennessee and many others.

The Razorbacks actually signed two defensive backs in the 2022 class and both were out of the Volunteer State, with the other being Brown’s good friend Jaylen Lewis.

Early on, Brown appeared to be the most likely of the two to get some reps as a true freshman, even working with the second-team defense in fall camp. However, by the end of the year, it was Lewis receiving most of the praise. In the Liberty Bowl, Lewis actually got significant reps at nickel, while Brown remained on the sideline.

He is the 26th scholarship player to leave Arkansas football for the transfer portal since August, which is believed to be the most in the FBS — just ahead of Texas A&M’s 25 departures.

Arkansas Football Loses Another from 2022 Class

While the departure of Anthony Brown doesn’t appear to be a significant blow to the depth chart, it is notable because the Razorbacks are now without four members of their 21-man signing class for 2022.

The first loss from the class, most of which signed during the early signing period in December 2021, was in-state tight end Dax Courtney. The Clarendon product had to retire because of medical reasons before the start of fall camp.

It wasn’t much longer before Arkansas lost its second signee. Junior college defensive tackle Taylor Lewis — a late addition who didn’t arrive in Fayetteville until the summer — decided to enter the transfer portal before the start of the semester. He has yet to land anywhere, but has taken an official visit to Jackson State.

A third signee didn’t make it through the entire regular season, as running back James Jointer Jr. announced his intention to enter the transfer portal the week of the Missouri game. He had appeared in just one game, rushing three times for nine yards against Auburn. Interestingly, Jointer has committed to Liberty.

Although he stuck it out though the bowl game, Brown is the fourth member of the class no longer with the team — and the third to never play a snap for the Razorbacks.

That may seem to be an alarming number, but it may just be the state of college football in the transfer portal era. Texas A&M, after all, has already seen seven members of its historic 2022 signing class leave the program.

Razorbacks Focus on Replenishing the Secondary

Despite his lack of playing time as a true freshman, there was hope that Anthony Brown could develop into a contributor considering his solid ratings from all of the recruiting services.

Instead, his departure further illustrates how big of an overhaul the Razorbacks’ secondary must undergo with new defensive coordinator Travis Williams and co-defensive coordinator Marcus Woodson.

Arkansas has now seen 10 scholarship defensive backs enter the transfer portal this cycle. Several of those players were like Brown and not significant contributors, but that number also includes a pair of team captains — Simeon Blair and Jalen Catalon — plus another couple of guys in Myles Slusher and Khari Johnson who started multiple games.

Assuming LaDarrius Bishop chooses to play as a sixth-year super senior, the Razorbacks will have only seven returning scholarship defensive backs on their 2023 roster. That is a dangerously low number, so they have emphasized replenishing that position this offseason.

It started on the recruiting trail, where they signed six high school prospects — a group headlined by four-star recruits Jaylon Braxton and TJ Metcalf. Arkansas also intends to be very active in the transfer portal itself and has already reeled in a pair of Power Five starters in cornerback Lorando Johnson and Alfahiym Walcott, who were teammates at Baylor.

All of the movement in the secondary is arguably a good thing for the Razorbacks because major upgrades were needed. This season, they gave up 294.7 passing yards per game and 8.53 yards per attempt, both of which are the worst marks in school history. Those figures also ranked dead last and 124th, respectively, in the FBS in 2022.


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