Reserve wide receiver Landon Rogers entered the transfer portal Wednesday, becoming the first Arkansas football player to do so during the spring transfer window.
The Little Rock native spent two seasons with the Razorbacks and was set to be a redshirt sophomore in 2023. He’ll be able to play immediately at his next school because of recent NCAA rule changes that grant a one-time transfer to all players with no penalty, so he has three years of eligibility remaining.
A converted quarterback, Rogers appeared in only one game during his time at Arkansas and didn’t record any statistics, so this move will likely help him get playing time elsewhere.
He is the Razorbacks’ 26th scholarship player to enter the portal this cycle, which is since last August, but the first departure following the conclusion of spring ball. The current window opened Saturday and will remain open through April 30.
Landon Rogers with the Razorbacks
Although he was widely rated as a low- to mid-three-star recruit in the Class of 2021, Landon Rogers — along with high school teammate and tight end Erin Outley — was a significant recruit for the Razorbacks.
Not only was Rogers a quarterback, but the pair were the first Arkansas football signees from the Little Rock School District in 15 years, coming from Little Rock Parkview. It was a surprising drought, but one supplemented by recruits from neighboring districts at schools like Pulaski Academy, Joe T. Robinson and North Little Rock.
Rogers briefly de-committed from the Razorbacks during the summer before his senior year, but pledged to them again less than three weeks later.
Listed at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds when he signed and known as a good athlete, there was always speculation that he might change positions in college and that’s just what happened during fall camp before his first season.
With very little depth at the position, Arkansas tried multiple different players at tight end and Rogers eventually stuck at the spot. His only playing time with the Razorbacks came that season, when he got three snaps in the blowout win over UAPB at War Memorial Stadium.
Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman admitted to considering the idea of moving Rogers back to quarterback following the 2021 season when the Razorbacks’ numbers were low at that position, but ultimately decided against it. Instead, he moved to wide receiver.
Despite some early praise from Pittman at yet another new position, Rogers never made a serious push for playing time. Throughout this spring, he got reps with the third-team offense alongside mostly walk-on wide receivers. He caught two passes for 31 yards in the Red-White spring game last Saturday, according to unofficial statistics kept by the media.
Rogers has not announced which position he’d like to play at his next stop, but he has been posting clips of him playing wide receiver at practice on his Twitter, presumably so other coaches can see it.
What it Means for Arkansas Football
Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, the recent resurgence of the Little Rock School District has yet to yield much for the football team.
Little Rock Parkview defensive tackle Markell Utsey did transfer back home for his final season of eligibility after beginning his career at Missouri and ended up being a starter, but the three Parkview graduates who signed with Arkansas straight out of high school haven’t panned out.
In addition to Landon Rogers leaving after playing only three snaps in two seasons, the Razorbacks have also seen tight end Erin Outley and running back James Jointer Jr. transfer out. Outley never saw the field in two seasons, while Jointer played five snaps and didn’t even make it all the way through his freshman season before leaving the team. Those two have since transferred to North Alabama (an FCS school) and Liberty, respectively.
Those three departures are part of a 26-man exodus from the roster since August. That has led to Arkansas being well below the 85-man scholarship limit, giving it plenty of wiggle room to work in the transfer portal this spring.
Even after signing 20 high school prospects in the Class of 2023 and landing 10 mid-year transfers from the portal, the Razorbacks had room to sign former five-star cornerback Jaheim Singletary from Georgia and defensive tackle Anthony “Tank” Booker Jr. from Maryland, who will join the team this summer.
With the departure of Rogers, Arkansas’ projected scholarship count for next season dropped to 77, according to Best of Arkansas Sports’ tracker. That means Pittman still has eight spots to use on transfers — a number that would grow if any other players follow Rogers into the portal.
The Razorbacks lost out on Minnesota defensive tackle Trill Carter and Boston College defensive back Josh DeBerry to Texas and Texas A&M, respectively, but they’re still in the mix for other transfers.
Most notably, former North Texas tight end Var’Keyes Gumms is taking an official visit to Fayetteville this weekend and would fill a major need for Arkansas. Former Tulsa offensive lineman Jaden Muskrat, who played his senior year of high school at Bentonville West, has also been offered by the Razorbacks.
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