FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas football has replaced a “Hog” with a true Hog.
A day after reporting on the departure of AJ Brathwaite Jr., Best of Arkansas Sports has learned that the Razorbacks have awarded his scholarship to Josh Street. A team spokesperson confirmed the news Friday.
Brathwaite, a transfer from Western Kentucky, was expected to compete for playing time at nickel, which is called the “Hog” in Arkansas’ defense, but instead didn’t make it through a full week of fall camp before leaving the program. He was in Fayetteville for only a couple of months, as he was a summer enrollee.
Street, on the other hand, is an offensive lineman who has paid his own way as a walk-on the last two seasons and is primed to crack the two deep as a redshirt sophomore. To say the Arkansas native is appreciative of the opportunity would be an understatement.
He posted a photo on Instagram of himself signing the scholarship papers with the caption, “All Glory To God! Hard work pays off!” When he committed as a preferred walk-on about 2.5 years ago, Street’s excitement was evident in his comments to Hogville’s Otis Kirk, even though it meant turning down scholarships from some smaller schools.
“I’ve always wanted to play for the Hogs since I was a little kid,” Street said. “I’ve just always wanted to be a Hog. That’s the main reason (I committed as a walk-on).”
After beginning his prep career at Danville, a small Class 3A school where former Arkansas quarterback Brad Taylor starred, Street played his senior year of high school at Bentonville and helped the Tigers go undefeated in the regular season.
Listed at 6-foot-6, he redshirted as a 290-pound true freshman in 2021. Street has yet to play on offense, but he did contribute 75 special teams snaps last season — mostly on the punt coverage unit (63), with a handful on the field goal unit (12).
Now entering his third season with the Razorbacks, he checks in at 311 pounds and has been practicing as a backup guard, behind both Brady Latham on the left side and Josh Braun on the right side. Street also has extensive experience practicing at center, which makes him even more valuable on the offensive line.
Observations from Day 7 of Fall Camp
A day after going full pads for the first time, the Razorbacks were back in “spiders” — shorts, helmets and light padding instead of shoulder pads — for Friday morning’s practice. It was their final tune-up before Saturday’s scrimmage, so it was a little shorter than a normal day, too.
The biggest play from the “fastball starts” team period at the beginning of the media viewing period was a long pass from freshman Malachi Singleton to transfer tight end Var’keyes Gumms down the seam. Unfortunately, he fell after making the catch and couldn’t gain any more yards.
Of course, the most notable aspect of Friday’s practice involved those who weren’t practicing. A pair of starters — left tackle Devon Manuel and linebacker Chris “Pooh” Paul Jr. — joined defensive ends Jashaud Stewart and Quincy Rhodes Jr. as injured players who didn’t participate.
The good news is that defensive end John Morgan III and defensive tackle Keivie Rose were back in the mix after missing or getting dinged up Thursday. Defensive tackle Anthony “Tank” Booker Jr. had also missed time, but he returned Thursday.
While the injuries to Manuel, Paul and Rhodes weren’t previously known, Pittman indicated after Thursday’s practice that no one had sustained a significant injury and everyone was expected back by Monday at the latest.
As far as Friday’s practice is concerned, Andrew Chamblee was elevated to the first unit at left tackle in Manuel’s place, while Jaheim Thomas moved into Paul’s starting spot at linebacker. The full three-deep depth chart from the “fastball starts” period can be found below.
Arkansas Football Scholarship Situation
By putting Josh Street on scholarship, Arkansas football is once again back up to the 85-man limit allowed by the NCAA. That means, barring any other departures, he’ll likely be the last walk-on awarded a scholarship for 2023.
The Razorbacks previously put quarterback Cade Fortin on scholarship for the spring semester, but he is not your average walk-on. He was a scholarship quarterback at both North Carolina and South Florida before coming to Arkansas.
In a sign of how well Sam Pittman has rebuilt the Razorbacks’ roster, the number of traditional walk-ons receiving scholarships has decreased in recent years simply because there aren’t as many available.
In 2019, which was Chad Morris’ second and final season, Arkansas had nine former walk-ons on scholarship. That number dropped to four last year and – not including Fortin or transfer tight end Francis Sherman, who was a walk-on before being awarded a scholarship at Louisville – is set to be just three this year. Street is joined by sixth-year super senior tight end Nathan Bax and fifth-year senior safety Hudson Clark.
That decrease is partially due to the NCAA’s rule change that eliminated the annual limit of 25 “initial counters” – or newcomers from high school, JUCO or the transfer portal. As long as it stays under 85 total, Arkansas can now bring in as many scholarship players it wants every year.
However, that change didn’t take effect until the 2023 class, which means the drop off started before Pittman could just simply fill an unlimited number of holes via the transfer portal – illustrating the stability he brought the program after the Morris disaster.
Arkansas Football Depth Chart – Day 7
NOTE: This is based on how the Razorbacks lined up during a brief team period during the media viewing session. It doesn’t necessarily reflect how the depth chart actually stands now.
|Cade Fortin / Malachi Singleton
|Anthony Booker Jr.
|John Morgan III
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