Now on his third school in as many years, Jordan Anthony has his sights set on finally making an impact in the SEC — whether that be on offense or special teams for Arkansas.
Following stops at Kentucky and Texas A&M, the speedster will now compete for a spot in the Razorbacks’ wide receiver rotation, but he has also talked to offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino about helping in the return game.
“I was asking him if they had a kickoff return and how long it’s been, but it’s been a while for them,” Anthony told Best of Arkansas Sports. “I would like to return kicks for the fans just to bring that excitement and show them the pigs are back on top.”
Nearly seven years have passed since De’Vion Warren’s 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Auburn and 11 other SEC teams have had at least one since then. Only Florida and Georgia have had longer droughts.
The Razorbacks have had a handful of punt return touchdowns over that span and Isaiah Sategna was a couple of shoe-string tackles away from ending their kickoff drought last year, but for the most part, they haven’t had a threat back there.
With the addition of Anthony and Sategna back as a redshirt sophomore, Arkansas will have two options with legitimate track speed in 2024.
Jordan Anthony Scouting Report
Listed at 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, Jordan Anthony certainly isn’t the biggest wide receiver, but what he lacks in size, he more than makes up for in speed.
During his freshman year, the Tylertown, Miss., native actually broke Kentucky’s freshman record in the 60-meter (6.55 seconds) and won the silver medal in that event at the SEC and NCAA Indoor Championships, earning All-America honors. He also ran a 10.16-second 100-meter dash.
On top of that, Anthony recently said in an interview on 103.7 The Buzz that the fastest 40-yard dash he had ever run was 4.27 seconds. If he managed to replicate that at the NFL Combine, it’d be tied for the ninth-fastest ever at the event.
Incredibly, it wasn’t until his sophomore year at Tylertown High that Anthony even realized he had such speed. He was just a jumper on the track team until fate intervened and springboarded him into back-to-back Gatorade Track Athlete of the Year awards in Mississippi.
“One day somebody got hurt on our relay team or something happened,” Anthony said. “I said I’ll do it because I didn’t want them to have to forfeit their ring. So I just did it and ever since then, I’ve become a runner.”
Longtime broadcaster Mike Irwin speculated that Anthony is the fastest player in Arkansas history and he definitely has a case. Perhaps the closest comparison is former cornerback Ahmad “Batman” Carroll, who was reportedly clocked at 4.26 seconds in the 40-yard dash before running it in 4.34 seconds at the Combine. Carroll was also an All-American in track, but his best time in the 100-meter dash (10.33) was well behind Anthony.
Other speedsters for the Razorbacks include cornerback Chris Houston (4.32-second 40 at the NFL Combine), running back Darren McFadden (4.33), quarterback Matt Jones (4.37) and, most recently, wide receiver Matt Landers (4.37).
Whether or not Anthony makes an impact similar to any of those players, though, likely depends on what he can do with his speed on a football field. It’s easy to get caught up in his speed, but he told Best of Arkansas Sports that he brings much more than that to the table.
“People don’t know how strong of hands I have,” Anthony said. “My catch radius is very high — like very, very high. My route running is very great. I can get in and out of breaks. Most fast receivers can’t get in and out of breaks. That’s a very hard thing to do when you’re moving so fast.”
His size and speed profiles as a slot receiver, but Anthony said he’s confident in his ability to play any of the wide receiver spots, even on the outside.
“I can play against a 6-2 DB, I can play against a middle linebacker,” Anthony said. “Many people don’t realize how strong I am because I look so little and I have a little structure, but I could play either, for real.”
Joining Arkansas Football
When he was a four-star recruit in the 2022 class, Jordan Anthony signed with Kentucky over a slew of offers from the likes of Florida State, Ole Miss and others.
He was in high demand again last offseason when he left Kentucky and ultimately landed at Texas A&M, turning down Mississippi State and Tennessee, both of whom also recruited him out of high school, as well as a few other Power Five programs.
This time around, Arkansas was the only offer he reported, but he said a lot of schools were interested in his services and he strongly considered both Oregon and LSU because of their strong track programs. They couldn’t top the Razorbacks’ 1-2 punch, though.
“Really what made me decide Arkansas was the background I know about Arkansas track and field and then the football background I know about Coach Petrino,” Anthony said. “I have my faith in him, so two and two go together.”
Bobby Petrino originally left his post as Missouri State’s head coach to join Barry Odom as his offensive coordinator at UNLV. Less than a month later, though, Texas A&M came calling and he joined the Aggies in the same role.
Anthony was excited to play for the man who once led Arkansas to 21 wins in two years and coached Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson at Louisville, but it didn’t pan out like he had hoped.
“It was very interesting because I had just got there, but Jimbo (Fisher) had his own touch on the offense, so you really didn’t get to see full Coach Petrino’s offensive schemes,” Anthony said. “I’m looking forward to this year more than I was last year. Coach, he’s great. He’s straightforward. All you need to do is listen and all the pieces will fall in place.”
Not only did Fisher get fired amid a 7-6 season, but Anthony was hardly used in the Aggies’ offense. He appeared in only four games and played just 20 snaps, half of which were in the opener against New Mexico.
All three of his receptions came a few weeks later against Louisiana-Monroe and they totaled 14 yards. Despite the lack of production, Petrino clearly saw something in Anthony to bring him to Fayetteville.
“It means a lot because I busted my ass in practice,” Anthony said. “He saw the results and what I can do, but it just — things happen in certain ways. All you can do is pray about it and let God do His thing. As you can see, God made it work out and I’m back with Coach Petrino.”
Playing for the Razorbacks will also give Anthony an opportunity to play for new wide receivers coach Ronnie Fouch, who was hired not long after he announced his commitment.
It will be Fouch’s first full-time assistant job in the FBS, but he built a quick connection with Anthony – who’s on his third SEC team – because of their time growing up in the Los Angeles area.
“As soon as he got the job, he called me,” Anthony said. “I was the first call that he made. We chopped it up and then when I got here…we talked and hung for almost like five hours or something like that. He’s from LA and I’m from LA, but he’s like an hour away from me. Basically we have that little LA bond, that little SoCal bond.”
Of course, Sam Pittman, Petrino and Fouch will have to share Anthony with Chris Bucknam, the Arkansas track coach, because he is also going to be a sprinter for the Razorbacks.
Anthony didn’t participate in the first indoor meet of the season last weekend, but he will join the team this semester and compete in both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
“God blessed me with the talent to do both, so I wouldn’t want to cut Him short and only do one,” Anthony said. “I will continue to be led by Him and do both in college.”
Arkansas fans now hope that faith – both Petrino’s in Anthony and Anthony’s in God – will eventually lead to success on the track and the gridiron.
Transfer Portal Additions This Cycle
Here’s a list of all the scholarship players Arkansas football has added out of the transfer portal during this cycle…
- OL Keyshawn Blackstock – Michigan State
- TE Andreas Paaske – Eastern Michigan
- QB Taylen Green – Boise State
- DB Doneiko Slaughter – Tennessee
- OL Fernando Carmona – San Jose State
- K Matthew Shipley – Hawaii
- OL Addison Nichols – Tennessee
- LB Xavian Sorey Jr. – Georgia
- WR Jordan Anthony – Texas A&M
- DB Marquise Robinson – South Alabama
- RB Ja’Quinden Jackson – Utah
- DE Anton Juncaj – Albany
- DB Miguel Mitchell – Florida
Hear Jordan Anthony’s full interview on 103.7 The Buzz:
More coverage of Arkansas football and the transfer portal from BoAS…