League Kicks Recent Razorback Football Player Off Rec Team for Switcheroo

Nathan Bax

The days of the dual-sport Arkansas football player in track and field appear to be alive and well thanks to Jordan Anthony, the incoming burner from Texas A&M who only ran a 6.62 60-meter in his Arkansas track debut, the third-best mark in program history.

When it comes to crossovers into baseball, things have dried up since pitcher/quarterback Connor Noland decided to exclusively focus on baseball and Austin Ledbetter threw in his lot with football.

Same goes with the official Arkansas football/basketball dual-sporters. There doesn’t appear to be any more Matt Joneses, Marcus Monks, Brandon Mitchells or even Jamario Bells on the horizon, although the Razorback basketball team could undoubtedly use some of that gridiron toughness and physicality near the rim that was so often missing in the 2023-24 season.

Razorbacks Wearing Two Hats

Back in the mid-1990s, Joe Dean Davenport developed into an all-conference talent on both of the football field and basketball court for Springdale High before joining the Razorbacks where he racked up 554 receiving yards and 6 TDs through his four seasons as a tight end.

“That’s my cowboy farmer, Joe Dean,” his coach, Houston Nutt, told Clay Henry. “He was 6-7 and between 250 and 270 and was a tremendous athlete. He could block and go catch you a ball.”

Davenport and Jamario Bell, who briefly from converted from defensive line to tight end, are the last two tight ends to join the Razorback basketball team. From the sound of it, Nathan Bax might have had a chance too.

Bax played primarily as a blocking tight end football from 2020 through 2023, nabbing 8 catches for 47 yards, while also contributing on the kickoff return units. Very rarely did the spotlight shine on the former walk-on during his time in Pittman’s program. Indeed, perhaps the play he is best known for was this controversial tackle on Alabama superstar DeVonta Smith:

A few Alabama football fans were calling for Bax to get kicked off the team for that one, but the tackle did not injury Smith and everything worked out in the end.

On the basketball court, however, the 6’4″ 250 pound Bax has been breaking ankles left and right. Or at least he was for one game, as Arkansas offensive lineman Josh Braun recalls.

Braun and Bax both played in the University of Arkansas intramural basketball league this winter and, for a brief, shining moment, joined forces on the same intramural team for Masters of Business Administration students. Originally, they were on two teams since Braun is an MBA student and Bax isn’t. But that changed after Nathan Bax’s original team lost two games and was eliminated from the playoffs. He decided to switch teams and join the MBA students.

“He went ham one game, put up 30 points,” Braun recalled on the premiere episode of the Boss Hog Podcast. “He had a triple-double, and the [other] team complained. They’re like, ‘He’s not allowed to play on two teams.’ And so the league had to come in and kick him off the team.”

Just like that, the business students had lost one of their best inside players and had a hole on their roster.

Braun, sharp guy that is, immediately tried to recruit one of his new football teammates and podcast guests to fill it. That would be offensive tackle Fernando Carmona, who back in the day could get up but not so much since he packed on the pounds for his day job.

On the court, “I’m solid. I may put up some points. I’m going to get some rebounds,” Carmona laid out in the podcast below. “I’m going to set some good screens. I got good basketball IQ, I would say. So, that helps me. Athleticism-wise, I’ve lost it after gaining around a hundred pounds.”

“Losing it” is relative for this particular 6’5″, 324-pound, though.

“I can still dunk the ball, but it’s rim grazing.”

Arkansas Football Outlook for Tight Ends

Braun’s other guest on the podcast, Andreas Paaske, is much more of a video game player than a baller. But he’s more than ready to help return to Arkansas’ tight end room in 2024 to some of the glory it experienced in the heyday of DJ Williams and Hunter Henry. The Denmark native joins a darkhorse for the Mackey Award in Luke Hasz, the ultra-talented sophomore who already has a John Mackey Tight End of the Week honor to this name.

Before a recent ankle injury, he was looking plenty sharp in spring practice, too:

Last year when Hasz went down, Tye Washington emerged in a big way to pick up some of the slack. Washington is still recovering from a season-ending shoulder injury, so he hasn’t shown out in spring practice yet, but Var’Keyes Gumms has looked a lot sharper this spring than he did last fall as a pass-catching threat.

Throw in the experienced Paaske and this position could emerge as one of Arkansas’ best come the fall.

Hear more from Braun and Carmona starting at 50:00 here:

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