Arkansas and Texas A&M Vying for a No. 1 Spot Nobody is Proud Of

Texas A&M football, Arkansas football, transfer portal
photo credit: Texas A&M Athletics / Nick Wenger

Much like their annual matchup at AT&T Stadium, the Arkansas and Texas A&M football programs are neck-and-neck — this time vying for the top spot on an undesirable list.

Last week, freshman defensive back Anthony Brown became the Razorbacks’ 25th scholarship player to either enter the transfer portal since August. That moved them into a tie with the Aggies for the most in the FBS this cycle.

It was originally believed that Brown was the 26th scholarship transfer from Arkansas, but a source revealed to Best of Arkansas Sports that linebacker Jackson Woodard was actually in the portal as a walk-on. He was placed on scholarship for 2021, but reverted back to walk-on status for the 2022 season.

The race is far from over, though. In fact, we’re still not quite to the fourth quarter, as the current portal window doesn’t close until Wednesday and another one opens April 15-30.

Razorbacks in the Transfer Portal — 2022 vs. 2023

Last offseason, the Arkansas football program saw 19 scholarship players leave via the transfer portal.

Not only have the Razorbacks already exceeded that number by six, but the kind of players they’ve lost this year is significantly different from the last cycle.

Only three of last year’s departures landed at other Power Five programs, and that includes kickoff specialist Vito Calvaruso transferring to Wisconsin after beginning his career at Arkansas as a walk-on. The other two were defensive backs Joe Foucha and Greg Brooks Jr., who infamously ended up at LSU.

Of the others, six stayed at the FBS level at Group of Five school and seven went down to the FCS level. The remaining three included one that transferred to a Division II school, one that took the JUCO route and one walked on at a Power Five program.

“It’s a ‘if I’m not starting, I’m transferring’ world,” Sam Pittman said on the first day of the early signing period last year. “I get it. I get it. It’s the ones who are starting for you that hurt you, that really hurt you.”

There was a shift this offseason and that started happening, as Arkansas lost nine regular starters or significant contributors from this year’s team — a number that doesn’t include Reid Bauer.

As a result, the Razorbacks have already more than doubled last year’s total with seven players transferring to other Power Five programs. Another eight have landed at Group of Five schools, with the others remaining uncommitted.

The transfers this cycle accounted for 61 offensive or defensive starts in 2022. They also played 1,830 offensive snaps (16.8%), 2,569 defensive snaps (23.3%) and 1,181 special teams snaps (28.9%), according to Pro Football Focus.

Texas A&M’s transfers, on the other hand, combined for only 16 offensive or defensive starts this season and accounted for just 206 offensive snaps (2.3%), 919 defensive snaps (9.6%) and 485 special teams snaps (12.4%) — a stark contrast to the numbers for the departing Razorbacks.

Last offseason, Arkansas’ portal departures combined for just 31 starts and accounted for 370 offensive snaps (3.6%), 1,644 defensive snaps (16.2%) and 634 special teams snaps (14.3%).

Best of Arkansas Sports will keep track of all transfers — and landing spots — with the list below…

2023 Arkansas Football Transfer Tracker

P Reid Bauer — Memphis

A former walk-on who eventually earned a scholarship, Reid Bauer beat out numerous punters brought in by multiple coaching staffs and quietly put together a very solid career with the Razorbacks. He ended his career with a 42.01-yard average, which just edged out Sam Irwin-Hill for seventh all-time in UA history.

Bauer will likely be remembered for the pair of fakes he pulled off during the 9-win 2021 season, which helped him win the 2021 Peter Mortell Holder of the Year award, but he should also be remembered as one of the most loyal Razorbacks ever to transfer out of the program.

With the Razorbacks signing Max Fletcher to a scholarship, it wasn’t surprising to see Bauer hit the portal after they split time this season. He’ll play his final season of college football at Memphis.

“I will always be a Hog,” Bauer told Best of Arkansas Sports. “The future is bright for the Razorbacks. I will cherish my time in that uniform.”

S Simeon Blair Memphis

Another former walk-on, Simeon Blair didn’t see the field during his first season at Arkansas, but steadily saw his role increase from special teams contributor to rotational player on defense to part-time starter and finally to full-time starter and team captain this year.

The Pine Bluff native actually led the Razorbacks in defensive snaps played this season despite struggling. Pro Football Focus gave him an abysmal 51.2 overall grade and credited him with seven touchdown passes allowed, the most in the SEC.

Although he could have returned as a sixth-year super senior in 2023, Blair opted to enter the transfer portal following the Liberty Bowl and will play his final season where his Arkansas career ended: at Memphis.

DB Anthony Brown — Purdue

One of two high three-star defensive backs who signed with the Razorbacks in the 2022 class, Anthony Brown did not see the field on defense or special teams this season. He did, however, draw headlines when he and teammate Myles Slusher were arrested for disorderly conduct in November. Brown was the 10th scholarship defensive back to leave the program.

Not long after entering the transfer portal, Brown committed to Purdue. The landing spot makes sense because former Arkansas defensive backs coach Sam Carter recently left Ole Miss to take the same position with the Boilermakers. Carter is who initially recruited Brown for the Razorbacks.

S Jalen Catalon — Texas

When the Razorbacks signed Jalen Catalon in the 2019 class, former head coach Chad Morris mentioned him in the same breath as Vince Young. He obviously played a different position, but that’s just how highly he was thought of coming out of high school — despite an ACL injury likely causing him to fall in the recruiting rankings.

Still a four-star recruit, though, Catalon got notable playing time in only one game as a true freshman thanks to Morris infamously botching the new redshirt rule. Under new coach Sam Pittman, he burst onto the scene and earned first-team All-SEC accolades, with some comparing him to legendary Arkansas safeties Steve Atwater and Ken Hamlin.

However, season-ending shoulder injuries in each of the last two seasons contributed to him not really getting an opportunity to follow up that breakout season. When the second one happened in this year’s opener against Cincinnati, many assumed he’d declare for the NFL Draft this offseason. Instead, Catalon made the surprising decision to enter the transfer portal.

As if seeing him suit up for another school wasn’t bad enough, Catalon has committed to former SWC rival Texas.

(READ NEXT: Coming to Terms with Jalen Catalon’s Big Statement in Light of Longhorns Transfer)

(READ NEXT: Jalen Catalon Hints at Unusual Loyalty to Hogs Even After Texas Transfer Announcement)

WR Jaquayln Crawford

A former four-star recruit who began his career at Oklahoma, Jaquayln Crawford was part of Sam Pittman’s first crop of transfers and had to sit out the 2020 season because of old transfer rules. However, those rules were loosened in time for the postseason and he was set to make his debut in the Texas Bowl against TCU before it was canceled.

That proved to be the closest Crawford came to receiving significant playing time with the Razorbacks. The speedster ended up getting beat out and likely would have been fourth, at best, in the pecking order of slot receivers this season had he stuck around. Instead, he entered the portal during fall camp.

DE Jordan Domineck Colorado

In a surprising about-face, Jordan Domineck decided to enter the transfer portal just a month after announcing he’d return to Arkansas as a super senior. It’s a significant blow to the Razorbacks’ defense, as he is coming off a season in which he made 7.5 sacks, which tied for third in the SEC.

That turned out to be Domineck’s lone season in Fayetteville, as he spent the first four years of his career at Georgia Tech. He joined the Razorbacks as a graduate transfer, so unless he got another degree while at Arkansas, Domineck will need a waiver from the NCAA to be immediately eligible at Colorado because this is his second transfer. He announced his commitment to the Buffaloes and Deion Sanders — where he’ll play with former teammate Myles Slusher — around 2:30 a.m. CT.

(READ NEXT: Domineck’s Camp Refutes “Only Logical” Motive for His Surprise Transfer)

DB Trent Gordon

A former four-star recruit who originally signed with Penn State, Trent Gordon figured to be an immediate contributor when he transferred to Arkansas. Instead, an injury limited him for much of 2021 and he found himself buried on the depth chart this year. It took numerous injuries in the secondary before he finally got some significant reps.

Gordon’s tenure with the Razorbacks ended when he was declared academically ineligible. He has entered the transfer portal with the hope of playing his final season of eligibility elsewhere.

OL Marcus Henderson Memphis

Despite being a highly touted prospect who committed on National Signing Day 2020 with plenty of fanfare, Marcus Henderson struggled to get on the field over the past three seasons. Even though he was a mainstay in the two-deep, he ended up playing just nine offensive snaps for the Razorbacks.

When it became clear that Beaux Limmer would slide over and play center in the Liberty Bowl in place of Ricky Stromberg, Henderson hit the transfer portal. News of his departure came just hours after Sam Pittman told reporters that he’d like to add another center via the transfer portal.

Henderson is the third former Arkansas football player to commit to Memphis, joining Reid Bauer and Simeon Blair. The move makes sense because he is from Memphis.

QB Malik Hornsby — Texas State

One of the fastest players on the team, Malik Hornsby has always been known as a gifted running quarterback, but he’s been inconsistent throwing the ball. During his three seasons in Fayetteville, he ran for 307 yards and a touchdown while completing only 46.2% of his passes for 314 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

That inconsistency led to Hornsby getting a shot at wide receiver this season and walk-on transfer Cade Fortin surpassing him as the backup early on, only for Hornsby to eventually win the job back. He entered the transfer portal last offseason before withdrawing and returning to Arkansas, so it wasn’t particularly surprising when he was the first player to announce his departure following the regular season.

There had been some smoke surrounding Hornsby and Nebraska, even after the Cornhuskers signed Georgia Tech transfer quarterback Jeff Sims, with speculation he might make the full-time move to wide receiver, but he transferred down to the Group of Five level and will remain a quarterback. He landed at Texas State, which isn’t far from his hometown of Missouri City, Texas.

(READ NEXT: Malik Hornsby’s Trainer Doesn’t Mince Words about Nebraska Target’s QB Problems at Arkansas)

RB Javion Hunt

Part of an Arkansas recruiting class that featured three running backs, Javion Hunt was four-star recruit coming out of Oklahoma City according to ESPN, but he quickly found himself behind fellow 2021 signees Rocket Sanders and AJ Green on the depth chart. The emergence of Dominique Johnson last season, plus the addition of Rashod Dubinion this offseason meant he was fifth-string, at best.

With no clear path to playing time with the Razorbacks, Hunt opted to leave the team a few weeks into the season. A spokesperson for the UA confirmed his departure and intent to enter the transfer portal.

WR Ketron Jackson Jr. — Baylor

The first truly surprising transfer portal entry from Arkansas, Ketron Jackson Jr. popped up in the portal the day after Sam Pittman mentioned him getting an opportunity to play in the slot in place of Jadon Haselwood in the Liberty Bowl. He was in line to potentially be the Razorbacks’ go-to receiver in 2023.

Instead, Jackson ends his career with the Razorbacks with 21 receptions for 374 yards and four touchdowns. The former four-star recruit has announced he’ll continue his career back in his home state of Texas, committing to Baylor.

DB Khari Johnson — Boston College

Arkansas signed Khari Johnson as a late addition to its 2020 class. He was a two-star prospect from an unusual recruiting ground for the Razorbacks, as he was from Boston and played his high school ball in Connecticut.

Despite being lightly recruited, Johnson actually started a game as a true freshman thanks to injuries and was a versatile piece of Arkansas’ injury-plagued 2022 secondary who started three games this year. He entered the portal before the Liberty Bowl and has returned to the Northeast, where he’ll play at Boston College in the ACC.

RB James Jointer Jr. — Liberty

One of two running backs in the Razorbacks’ 2022 signing class, James Jointer Jr. turned down a late push from Indiana to stick with his home state school. However, he was buried on the depth chart and the emergence of fellow freshman Rashod Dubinion — not to mention the other players at the position — likely meant playing time was going to be hard to come by at Arkansas.

Jointer’s lone appearance came late in the blowout win at Auburn, when he rushed three times for 9 yards on five snaps. He announced his decision to leave the team the Monday before the regular-season finale at Missouri and has since landed at Liberty, which actually beat the Razorbacks this season.

TE Trey Knox — South Carolina

Originally a four-star receiver, Trey Knox was highly recruited coming out of high school and chose to sign with Arkansas over offers from the likes of Clemson, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and several others. He made an immediate impact as a freshman in 2019, too.

However, after the coaching change, Knox’s playing time and production took a hit. Instead of transferring, though, he stuck it out and converted to tight end during the 2021 season. He had high expectations heading into 2022, but ended up catching only 26 passes for 296 yards and five touchdowns during the regular season.

Rather than declare for the NFL Draft or return to Arkansas as a super senior, Knox decided to enter the portal and ultimately landed at South Carolina. That destination makes a lot of sense for him because he’ll reunite with both Justin Stepp — his former position coach and primary recruiter — and Dowell Loggains — his tight ends coach who is now the offensive coordinator for the Gamecocks.

DT Taylor Lewis

Joining the Razorbacks as a late addition to their 2022 signing class, Taylor Lewis was in Fayetteville for only a couple of months before deciding to leave the program. He was a junior college signee out of the College of the Canyons, but announced his departure just as Arkansas was shifting from fall camp to preparing for the season opener.

Listed at 6-foot-3, 317 pounds, the hope was that Lewis would provide depth at a position that lacked it, especially after Taurean Carter went down with an injury at the end of spring ball. However, he was buried on the depth chart, spending most of fall camp with the third unit.

According to his Twitter feed, Lewis has picked up one FBS offer — from Memphis — and a few from the FCS level: Jackson State, Grambling and Lamar. He has taken an official visit to Jackson State.

DB Chase Lowery

After not appearing in a game as a true freshman last year, Chase Lowery was left off the 110-man fall camp roster as a redshirt freshman. The writing appeared to be on the wall for him, but he did try a new position when he joined the team at the start of the semester, moving to wide receiver. It didn’t go anywhere, though, and he ultimately left the team a few weeks into the season. Lowery seems open to playing defensive back or wide receiver at his next school.

DT Isaiah Nichols Purdue

Another surprising departure, Isaiah Nichols started every regular-season game this year and has been a steady contributor over the past several years. In fact, he played more than 1,500 defensive snaps during his time at Arkansas — albeit while not being particularly productive in that playing time.

Instead of returning to the Razorbacks, Nichols will use his extra year of eligibility elsewhere by pursuing super senior opportunities in the transfer portal. He has since announced that he’ll finish his career at Purdue, alongside former Arkansas teammate Anthony Brown.

TE Erin Outley

When he signed with Arkansas in the 2021 class, he — along with teammate Landon Rogers — became the first football player from the Little Rock School District to do so in 15 years. However, injuries severely hindered him his freshman year and he didn’t see the field as a redshirt freshman, either.

With a current true freshman in Ty Washington already ahead of him on the depth chart and more set to arrive in the 2023 class, Outley decided to enter the transfer portal and continue his career elsewhere.

CB Keuan Parker — Tulsa

A high three-star recruit from Oklahoma in the 2021 class, Keuan Parker saw the field for just one special teams snap as a freshman. However, the coaching staff praised him during fall camp for improvements he made going into his second season and it sounded like he might have an opportunity to contribute.

However, it took numerous injuries in the secondary before he finally got an opportunity and he ended up playing 48 snaps in the BYU game. He followed that up with three snaps against Auburn, but that was all he played on defense during his two years in Fayetteville.

During the early signing period, it was announced that Parker had signed with New Mexico State. However, he has since announced he’ll instead continue his college career in his hometown, committing to Tulsa.

DB Myles Slusher — Colorado

The crown jewel of Sam Pittman’s first class at Arkansas, Myles Slusher flipped from Oregon to the Razorbacks during the early signing period for the 2020 class. He made an immediate impact in Fayetteville and played more than 1,000 defensive snaps over the past three seasons, including 15 starts.

Six of those starts came this year, when he battled a pair of injuries and a one-game suspension for a disorderly conduct arrest the morning after the Liberty game. He returned for the Ole Miss game, but ultimately quit — a word he disagreed with on Twitter — the week of the Missouri game.

He entered the transfer portal when it opened up and originally signed with Louisville, only to scrub the Cardinals from his social media a few days later and ultimately commit to Colorado and Deion Sanders.

OL Jalen St. John UNLV

Another four-star recruit in that 2020 class, Jalen St. John flipped from Missouri to Arkansas in order to follow both Barry Odom and Brad Davis to Fayetteville. Despite being a heralded prospect, though, he struggled to find playing time beyond special teams.

St. John actually entered the transfer portal last offseason, but was allowed to return to the team. This year’s departure likely stems from his felony theft arrest the day before Thanksgiving, as he had been indefinitely suspended for several weeks leading up to his entry into the portal. Once again following Odom, St. John has committed to UNLV.

DE Eric Thomas Jr. — Southern Miss

Although he played sparingly on defense, Eric Thomas Jr. carved out a role for himself on special teams for the Razorbacks. The 2020 signee did not redshirt during his three-year tenure at Arkansas, meaning he technically has three years to play two — counting the bonus year — at Southern Miss, where he landed after entering the portal.

WR Warren Thompson

A top-100 recruit who originally signed with Florida State, Warren Thompson decided to reunite with Kendal Briles in Fayetteville by transferring to Arkansas as a walk-on. He earned a scholarship before his first season and quickly asserted himself into the wide receiver rotation.

Over the last two years, Thompson struggled with consistency, but did catch 31 passes for 482 yards and four touchdowns for the Razorbacks. He started five of the first 10 games of this season before deciding to quit with two games remaining in the regular season. He has since entered the portal and will play his final season of eligibility elsewhere.

DB Jacorrei Turner

Originally from Atlanta, Jacorrei Turner was not particularly highly recruited out of high school. A mid-tier three-star prospect, his only other Power Five offers were from Boston College, Louisville and Rutgers. With the Razorbacks, Turner played only 32 defensive snaps — and 22 of them came in last year’s win over UAPB. He did contribute a decent amount on special teams, but didn’t see the field on defense this year despite numerous injuries in the secondary.

DB Zach Zimos — Louisiana Tech

Part of the Razorbacks’ highly ranked 2019 signing class, Zach Zimos was a four-star linebacker coming out of Texas. He didn’t stick at the position, though, and eventually converted to safety. Unfortunately, Zimos tore his ACL during the UAPB game last season. He returned to action this year, but was primarily limited to special teams.

Zimos has announced he’ll continue his career at the Group of Five level, committing to Louisiana Tech. It’s worth noting that his commitment graphic lists him as a linebacker again.

Arkansas Football Walk-On Transfers

LB Jackson Woodard UNLV

Initially believed to be a scholarship transfer, Jackson Woodard was on scholarship for only the 2021 season and reverted back to walk-on status this season. He packed on about 50 pounds upon his arrival to Fayetteville and actually found his way onto the field as a true freshman and ended up playing 72 defensive snaps over the past three seasons, usually grading out well on Pro Football Focus. His biggest role was on special teams, as he was on four units this season and played a team-high 215 snaps in that phase of the game. Woodard waited until after the Liberty Bowl to announce his departure and has since committed to UNLV, following both Barry Odom and Michael Scherer to the Mountain West.

LS Francisco Castro — Holy Cross

DT Randall Dennis Jr. — Iowa Western C.C.

P Patrick Foley — UAB

LB Jordan Hanna


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