Breaking Down 24 Arkansas Football Portal Targets, Including Petrino’s Most Recent Visit

Zavion Thomas, Chandler Rogers, Arkansas football, transfer portal
photo credit: Mississippi State Athletics / North Texas Athletics

The transfer portal has been the hot topic of the week and names have continued to multiply since it officially opened for this cycle on Monday. As expected, offers have been flying out from Arkansas football.

One interesting trend is the Razorbacks going hard after a trio of players from North Texas. More than five years have passed since the Mean Green handed Arkansas one of its most embarrassing losses and now Sam Pittman is treating them like a feeder program.

Last year, the Razorbacks reeled in heralded tight end transfer Var’Keyes Gumms. This offseason, quarterback Chandler Rogers, center Ethan Miner and wide receiver Ja’Mori Maclin are near the top of their wish list.

Rogers has not shared any official offers on his Twitter, but Arkansas’ interest in him is evident in the fact that offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino did an in-home visit with him Wednesday night, according to HawgBeat.

That same day, Miner was visited by new offensive line coach Eric Mateos, according to HawgBeat. He has shared plans to officially visit Mississippi State and revealed an offer from North Carolina, but the Razorbacks are clearly very interested in him being a potential replacement for Beaux Limmer.

Arkansas is just the latest offer for Maclin, who has also reported offers from 16 Power Five programs, including Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Texas A&M from the SEC.

Of course, the Razorbacks’ efforts in the transfer portal extend well beyond North Texas. They’ve already landed a commitment from Keyshawn Blackstock, a 6-foot-3 inch, 315-pound offensive lineman from Michigan State, but they are far from finished.

Here’s a rundown of the many offers Arkansas has extended and other players it is known to be interested in. Best of Arkansas Sports will do its best to keep this list updated daily…

Transfer Portal Targets from North Texas

Chandler Rogers | QB | North Texas | 6-0, 200 | SR (interest)

Prior to starring at North Texas, Chandler Rogers began his career at Louisiana-Monroe, where he passed for 2,403 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2022 while completing 67.7% of his passes. Rogers transferred to North Texas last offseason and had a big year, completing 262 of 421 passes (62.2%) for 3,382 yards and 29 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He has also ran for 900 yards and 10 touchdowns over his three seasons in college.

With Rogers leading the way, the Mean Green finished the 2023 season with the top offense in the American Athletic Conference, averaging 495.8 yards per contest – which was sixth-best nationally – while putting up 34.5 points, which ranked third in the league. Rogers’ 5.8 touchdown/interception ratio is the best among all starting quarterbacks in the conference. 

Ethan Miner | OL | North Texas | 6-2, 300 | GR-TR (interest)

Ethan Miner earned the starting center position for the Mean Green this past season after entering the transfer portal and transferring in from Arkansas State, where he started 24 games for the Red Wolves. He paved the way for North Texas’ 191.2 rushing yards per contest, which ranked second in the American Athletic Conference. According to Pro Football Focus, Miner was the second-highest graded offensive player for North Texas this season at 82.8. That made him the second-highest graded center in all of the FBS.

Ja’Mori Maclin | WR | North Texas | 5-11, 185 | JR

A former Missouri receiver and the cousin of former Mizzou standout Jeremy Maclin, Ja’Mori Maclin was the leading receiver by a long shot on a squad who finished sixth overall nationally in total offense. Maclin caught 57 catches for 1,004 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2023, while his yards and touchdowns, along with averaging 17.6 yards per reception, were good enough for a top 3 finish in the American Athletic Conference.

Other Arkansas Football Offers/Targets

Matthew Sluka | QB | Holy Cross | 6-3, 215 | SR (interest)

Arkansas is one of the many Power Five programs to have already contacted the two-time Walter Payton Award finalist, per The Portal Report. Sluka was named the 2023 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year in his fourth and final season with Holy Cross after totaling 2,966 offensive yards, 1,723 passing and 1,243 rushing, and 29 touchdowns while completing 61.9% of his passes. During his career with the Crusaders, Sluka passed for 5,896 yards and 59 touchdowns, while adding another 3,579 yards and 38 scores on the ground.

Taylen Green | QB | Boise State | 6-6, 225 | R-JR (interest)

Coming out of Lewisville (Texas) High School, Taylen Green was offered by Arkansas offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino when Petrino was the head coach at Missouri State. He opted to sign with Boise State and appeared in just one game his first year with the team, but burst onto the scene in 2022 by starting 10 contests for the Broncos. He was named the Mountain West Freshman of the Year and also tabbed second-team Freshman All-American by College Football News after totaling 2,628 yards (2,042 passing) while completing 61% of his passes and had 24 total touchdowns.

It is worth noting that Green could return to Boise State, plus due to being pushed by backup Maddux Madsen – whom he lost his starting job to prior to the game against New Mexico on Nov. 11 – his numbers decreased in 2023. Green completed 57% of his passes for 1,752 yards and 11 touchdowns with nine interceptions, along with 436 yards and nine scores on the ground. However, Green is coming off a solid Mountain West Championship game in which the Broncos beat UNLV 44-20 and he was named the Offensive Player of the Game after completing 12 of 15 passes for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns to go with 90 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground.

UPDATE: Green is set to officially visit Arkansas this weekend (Dec. 8-10), according to Hogville’s Otis Kirk.

Sam Franklin | RB | Tennessee-Martin | 5-10, 200 | R-JR

The Little Rock Central alum is coming off of a breakout season for Tennessee-Martin, finishing third in the FCS ranks with 1,378 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 223 carries, an average of 6.2 yards per touch. In three seasons with the Skyhawks, Franklin rushed 315 times for 2,121 yards and 20 touchdowns. Franklin compiled 2,750 total yards and 33 touchdowns during his prep career as a Central Tiger.

Jaquez Moore | RB | Duke | 5-10, 200 | SR

A consistent contributor in the backfield for Duke over the past two seasons, Jaquez Moore finished the year second among all Blue Devils in rushing with 601 yards and six touchdowns on 102 carries, an average of 5.9 yards per rush. In three years with Duke, Moore rushed 186 times for 1,121 yards and 11 touchdowns.

UPDATE: Moore has withdrawn from the transfer portal.

Josh Kelly | WR | Washington State | 6-1, 195 | SR

The impressive wideout had a quality stint at Fresno State for three years before hitting the transfer portal and moving north to play at Washington State. Josh Kelly finished the 2023 season with 61 receptions for 923 yards and eight touchdowns, all of which ranked in the Top 10 for receiving in the Pac-12. For his career, the Fresno native has hauled in 148 catches for 2,228 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

Zavion Thomas | WR | Mississippi State | 5-11, 190 | JR

The former Mississippi State standout was offered by Arkansas Wednesday evening and made sure to let Shea Dixon, Billy Embody and Mike Scarborough – all of whom are LSU writers – know about it by tagging them on his Twitter post. Zavion Thomas, a Woodmere, La., native, finished second in nearly every receiving category for the Bulldogs in 2023, hauling in 40 catches for 503 yards and a touchdown. Also effective on special teams, Thomas totaled 365 yards (163 punt return, 202 kick return) and returned a kickoff for a touchdown. 

Andreas Paaske | TE | Eastern Michigan | 6-6, 255 | SR

Arkansas already secured a tight end commitment from Gregory Genross out of Dodge City C.C. for the 2024 class, but Andreas Paaske would provide help particularly in the run game with his blocking. In 20 games playing for Eastern Michigan, Paaske caught 14 passes for 245 yards and 2 touchdowns. If signed, Paaske would be the second Denmark native to don a Razorback uniform in recent memory, joining current Arizona Cardinals center Hjalte Froholdt, who was an All-SEC offensive lineman in 2018. 

UPDATE: Paaske is set to officially visit Arkansas this weekend (Dec. 8-10), according to Hogville’s Otis Kirk.

UPDATE: Paaske committed to Arkansas following his official visit.

Omar Aigbedion | OL | Montana State | 6-3, 305 | JR

After grading out as the third-best FCS offensive guard in 2022 (84.7) during his freshman year, Omar Aigbedion was even better for Montana State in 2023, giving up zero sacks and graded out as the top guard in all of FCS (89.6) per Pro Football Focus. Aigbedion, who has a 6-foot-10 wingspan, helped the Bobcats finish third nationally among the FCS ranks in total offense with 472.8 yards per contest.

Fernando Carmona Jr. | OL | San Jose State | 6-5, 320 | JR

Originally recruited out of high school as a three-star tight end in 2021, Fernando Carmona Jr. moved inside while at San Jose State and started 24 straight games for the Spartans at left tackle over the past two seasons. He allowed just two sacks in 2023 and graded out as the fourth-best pass blocker in the Mountain West, per Pro Football Focus.

Easton Kilty | OL | North Dakota | 6-5, 305 | SR 

As expected, the former North Dakota lineman has already received multiple Power 5 offers, including Arkansas. Easton Kilty started 37 games for the Fighting Hawks primarily at both guard positions while also competing at right tackle. This past season, Kilty helped North Dakota score 31.4 points per game, which ranked fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference, while the Fighting Hawks were also fifth in rushing yards per game with 156.6.

Remington Strickland | OL | Texas A&M | 6-4, 300 | JR

The Sugar Land, Texas, native played in nine games for Texas A&M this past season and in two games in 2022, but did not record a start for the Aggies. Remington Strickland was recruited by former Arkansas offensive line coach Brad Davis, along with former offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, and had additional offers from Baylor, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia Tech among others.

Geno VanDeMark | OL | Michigan State | 6-5, 320 | JR 

If reunited with aforementioned former teammate Keyshawn Blackstock in a Razorback uniform, the addition of Geno VanDeMark would be a literal huge score who would bring starting experience. He started at right guard for the Spartans last season, but missed four games due to injury. After redshirting his freshman season in 2021, VanDeMark appeared in 18 games total with Michigan State, which includes 10 starts.

Nate Matlack | DL | Kansas State | 6-5, 250 | SR

After not playing a down his first year with Kansas State, Matlack took off in 2021 and earned honorable mention honors for Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year, finishing with 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 of which were sacks. During his three-year tenure with the Wildcats, Matlack logged 39 total tackles, 31 of them solo with 16.5 for loss and 10 sacks, batted down three passes, plus forced two fumbles and recovered one.

Chris McClellan | DL | Florida | 6-3, 320 | JR

Though he only started one game for Florida in 2023, Chris McClellan had a noticeable impact for the Gators on defense while appearing in all 13 contests. McClellan, who grew up in Owasso, Okla., just two hours from Fayetteville, logged 46 tackles in two years with the Gators – 23 in each season. 

McClellan was a four-star prospect during his high school recruitment less than two years ago and the 12th-best defensive lineman in the country per 247Sports. Along with Florida, McClellan received offers from Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas A&M and Washington, among others.

Samuel Okunlola | DL | Pittsburgh | 6-4, 245 | RS-SO

Samuel Okunlola has received a heavy amount of attention since entering the transfer portal on Monday. Of the 19 total tackles collected by the impressive edge rusher, six were for loss including five sacks, along with six quarterback hurries. He also forced a fumble.

Sam Brumfield | LB | Middle Tennessee State | 5-11, 225 | SR

One of the top linebackers currently in the portal, Sam Brumfield finished this season as Middle Tennessee State’s leading tackler with 82 total, including 46 solo and 3.5 sacks. He also forced three fumbles. 

For what it’s worth, Brumfield is from Pearl, Miss., and there are some connections between the Magnolia State and multiple Arkansas defensive coaches. D-line coach Deke Adams and secondary coach Deron Wilson both played at Southern Miss, while Adams also coached there from 2009-11 as well as Pearl River Community College from 1998-2002. Additionally, co-defensive coordinator Marcus Woodson is from Moss Point, Miss., played his college ball at Ole Miss and started his coaching career at Millsaps College in Jackson.

Akili Arnold | DB | Oregon State | 5-11, 200 | SR

Akili Arnold finished the 2023 season as Oregon State’s second-leading tackler with 62 total, including 25 solo and two for loss, with six pass deflections, two interceptions and he also recovered a fumble. Per Pro Football Focus, Arnold posted an 85.7 grade this season. He collected 154 total tackles, 76 of those solo, with 10 pass deflections and three interceptions during his time with the Beavers.

TJ Crandall | DB | Colorado State | 6-1, 185 | SO

The 24th-best prospect in Washington, per 247Sports, for the 2023 class collected 19 total tackles during his freshman season at Colorado State, 13 of which were solo. Crandall also batted down two passes and returned an interception 25 yards in an early October loss to Utah State.

Will Lee III | DB | Kansas State | 6-3, 185 | JR 

The former JUCO prospect had a standout season in the secondary for Kansas State in 2023, collecting 42 tackles, 32 of them solo and 1.5 for loss, batted down six passes, forced a fumble and intercepted two passes. Will Lee III was tabbed as a freshman All-American at Iowa Western Community College in 2022 and helped the team win a national championship. 

UPDATE: Lee has narrowed his options down to three schools and Arkansas football did not make the cut.

UPDATE: Lee has committed to Texas A&M.

Jermod McCoy | DB | Oregon State | 6-0, 180 | SO

As a true freshman, Jermod McCoy logged 31 total tackles, 16 of which were solo, seven pass deflections and nabbed two interceptions while playing in all 12 of Oregon State’s regular-season games, including four starts. The Whitehouse, Texas, native did not receive a Power 5 offer other than Oregon State coming out of high school, but along with Arkansas has transfer portal offers from Auburn, Ole Miss, Oregon, TCU, Texas A&M and Washington, among others.

Ethan Robinson | DB | Bucknell | 6-0, 175 | SR

Ethan Robinson is coming off of a season for Bucknell where he logged 50 tackles, 43 of which were solo to lead the team, while he also ranked first amongst all Bison players with 10 pass deflections and three interceptions, along with recovering a fumble. For his career, Robinson has compiled 92 total tackles, 79 solo, with 14 pass deflections, recovered two fumbles and intercepted five passes.

UPDATE: Robinson has committed to Minnesota.


More coverage of Arkansas football and the transfer portal from BoAS…

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