FAYETTEVILLE — Most of the attention has been on the three incoming transfers, but a returner might play a key role in Arkansas football replacing the production it lost at wide receiver this offseason.
If the last couple of practices are any indication, Isaiah Sategna has made a jump going into his redshirt freshman campaign and could be on the brink of becoming a significant contributor on the Razorbacks’ offense.
“I feel like with him and all the receivers, I feel like they’re doing great, just playing with more confidence knowing that any position is up,” running back Rocket Sanders said. “I feel like he’s one of the guys that’s going to show his talent this year and he’s definitely showing it in spring, as well.”
During a one-sided 7 on 7 period on Tuesday and Thursday in which two wide receivers run routes against three defensive backs, the Fayetteville native has arguably been the most consistent performer on either side of the ball.
Running out of the slot, Sategna has gotten separation between him and his defender on every rep and has caught every pass thrown his way that was catchable. His most impressive catch of the week was on Thursday.
It looked like KJ Jefferson’s pass might be out of his reach, but the 5-foot-11 receiver stuck his arm up and reeled it in with one hand — all while a defender was in tight coverage and a safety was closing in over the top.
A lot of Sategna’s catches during those periods were on short or intermediate routes, but he showed off his elite speed on a couple of deep balls Thursday. In addition to that spectacular grab, Sategna also beat his man and was open by a couple of steps on another go route, but Malachi Singleton overthrew him.
Appearing in just four games to maintain his redshirt, Sategna caught only two passes for 12 yards as a true freshman last season. With Jadon Haselwood declaring for the NFL Draft, there is a hole to fill in the slot and the former four-star recruit is battling it out with redshirt sophomore Bryce Stephens. The pair of speedsters have split time with the first team so far this spring.
Stephens, who also made a nice double-move to get open for a reception during that period of Thursday’s practice, is coming off a season in which he caught nine passes for 109 yards and one touchdown. He also had a 21-yard carry and returned 15 punts for 149 yards, including an 82-yard return for a touchdown against Missouri State.
Arkansas Football Depth Chart
Here is how the Razorbacks lined up during a team period open to reporters Thursday afternoon…
(Reminder: Sam Pittman has asked his assistant coaches to make at least one change to the starting lineup each practice. Click here for his explanation why and the depth chart from practice No. 6.)
|QB||KJ Jefferson||Cade Fortin||Jacolby Criswell|
|RB||Rocket Sanders||Rashod Dubinion||AJ Green|
|TE||Nathan Bax||Tyrus Washington||Luke Hasz|
|WR||Andrew Armstrong||Sam Mbake||*Kamron Bibby|
|WR||Isaiah Sategna||Bryce Stephens||*Chris Harris|
|WR||Isaac TeSlaa||Landon Rogers||*Marlon Crockett|
|LT||Devon Manuel||Andrew Chamblee||Cole Carson|
|LG||Patrick Kutas||*Brooks Edmonson||Paris Patterson|
|C||Beaux Limmer||*Josh Street||Eli Henderson|
|RG||Ty’Kieast Crawford||Joshua Braun||*Payton Simpson|
|RT||Brady Latham||E’Marion Harris||*Tommy Varhall|
- Fortin is still listed as the second-team quarterback, but he and Criswell have begun splitting those reps.
- The running backs have been rotating freely all spring. For example, there have been times where Sanders has run with the third team.
- At wide receiver, Stephens and Mbake also got reps with the first-team unit.
- The offense opened in 12 personnel (one RB, two TEs) before shifting to traditional 11 personnel (one RB, one TE). When in 12, Bax and Washington were the two tight ends with the first unit and then Washington and Hasz were the tight ends with the second unit. Walk-ons Hunter Talley and Zach Lee went with the 3s.
- The offensive line has continually changed and that’s been a purposeful thing by Sam Pittman and Cody Kennedy. On Thursday, Kutas was up with the first team at left guard, Crawford moved inside to guard and Latham flipped sides and slid out to tackle.
|DE||Trajan Jeffcoat||Landon Jackson||John Morgan III|
|DT||Eric Gregory||Marcus Miller||*Richard Jameson|
|DT||Taurean Carter||*Kyle Thompson||JJ Hollingsworth|
|DE||Jashaud Stewart||Zach Williams||Nico Davillier|
|LB||Antonio Grier||Chris Paul Jr.||Carson Dean|
|LB||Mani Powell||Jordan Crook||Kaden Henley|
|NB||Jaylen Lewis||*Courtney Snelling||Dallas Young|
|CB||Dwight McGlothern||Quincy McAdoo||*Devoncy Maloy|
|S||Malik Chavis||Jayden Johnson||*John Paul Pickens|
|S||Hudson Clark||TJ Metcalf||*Braylon Watson|
|CB||Lorando Johnson||Jaylon Braxton||*Landon Phipps|
- The second time the first-team defense came out on the field, Jackson and Williams moved up to get reps with the starters at defensive end. That also allowed Morgan and Davillier to move up to the second unit.
- Grier and Powell were out there with the starters initially, but Crook swapped with Grier the second time through. However, Paul is still widely viewed as a starter, but Pittman wants to sub guys in with the various units.
- After not participating in the team period Tuesday, Gregory moved back into the starting lineup, filling Cameron Ball’s spot.
- Another change on defense is that Lewis started at nickel, allowing Clark to move to safety and bumping Johnson back to the second unit.
Arkansas Football Injury Report
Here’s a rundown of several Arkansas football players currently dealing with injuries…
- DT Cameron Ball (ankle): Suffered a high ankle sprain in Tuesday’s practice and was not dressed out Thursday
- OL Terry Wells (undisclosed): Did not dress out for Thursday’s practice
- WR Tyrone Broden (knee): Still out with what Pittman called a “slight knee sprain” after colliding with a teammate in the last practice before spring break… Pittman was hopeful to have him ready for Saturday’s scrimmage
- RB Rashod Dubinion (undisclosed): Was in a green non-contact jersey in Tuesday’s practice, but was full-go Thursday without the green jersey
- WR Jaedon Wilson (tibia): Out for the rest of spring after suffering a cracked tibia in a car accident earlier this month
- RB Dominique Johnson (ACL): Won’t be ready until after spring ball, but Arkansas has been optimistic that he’ll be ready to go for fall camp
- QB Kade Renfro (ACL): Has been able to throw passes in practice, but still recovering from a second torn ACL suffered early last season
- DB Alfahiym Walcott (undisclosed): Won’t be cleared until this summer, should be good to go for fall camp
- OL Luke Brown (knee): Won’t be cleared until this summer, should be good to go for fall camp
Post Practice Interviews
Highlights from Practice
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