Arkansas Football Transfer Tracker: Bielema Era Dies Hard, Updates on Other Former Hogs

Joe Foucha, Trelon Smith, Arkansas football

The transfer portal is a major part of this era of college football, with players coming and going at a high rate. Arkansas football has experienced both ends of the spectrum in recent years.

Not only have the Razorbacks added key players like Jadon Haselwood and Drew Sanders, but they’ve also see quite a few players transfer to other schools.

Based on research by Best of Arkansas Sports, 34 players who were on scholarship at Arkansas still play college football elsewhere. Our list below includes updates on each of them, as well as five former walk-ons with the Razorbacks.

Here are a few interesting takeaways from that group…

  • More than half of the scholarship transfers left Arkansas during this offseason, as 19 entered the portal and found new schools. The other 15 were previous departures who are still playing.
  • Of the 34 total scholarship transfers, only seven are at another Power Five school on scholarship. That number includes just three from the 19 who transferred in the most recent cycle.
  • The breakdown of the remaining players include one who walked on at a Power Five program, 13 at a Group of Five school, 10 at the FCS level (including seven of the 19 in the most recent cycle), two currently at a junior college and one who dropped down to Division II.
  • Despite this being the fifth post-Bret Bielema season at Arkansas, there are incredibly still seven players who began their collegiate careers under him with the Razorbacks. Five of them are sixth-year super seniors who signed in 2017 and were freshmen during Bielema’s last season, but two — Jordan Jones and Micahh Smith — actually signed in 2016 and are seventh-year seniors.
  • Five of the scholarship transfers below signed with the Razorbacks in 2018 and six signed in 2019, meaning 11 of the transfers are from the Chad Morris era. Another eight signed in 2020 and four signed in 2021, meaning 12 are from the Sam Pittman era. Of the remaining four, three joined the Razorbacks as transfers (two under Morris, one under Pittman) and the other was a track athlete who joined the football team under Pittman.
  • NOTE: This list doesn’t include wide receiver Jaquayln Crawford or defensive tackle Taylor Lewis because they entered the transfer portal in August, after the calendar flipped to 2022-23, and they likely won’t find new schools until later in the semester.

*walk-on at Arkansas

Arkansas Football Transfers this Offseason

DT Andy Boykin — Southern (FCS)

Despite being a high three-star recruit who announced his commitment on National Signing Day, Andy Boykin never appeared in a game for the Razorbacks. After two seasons in Fayetteville, he entered the portal and dropped down to the FCS level. He originally committed to East Tennessee State, but ultimately ended up at Southern, where he’s listed as a 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive tackle.

DB Greg Brooks Jr. — LSU

Perhaps the most impactful departure of the offseason, Greg Brooks Jr. was a former four-star recruit who started 30 games at nickel during his three seasons at Arkansas. However, he split reps with freshman Jayden Johnson last year and even came off the bench in three games late in the season, which might have played into his decision to transfer. Once in the portal, LSU was a natural landing spot for Brooks because he’s from New Orleans and the Tigers needed bodies. He is believed to be a strong candidate to start at nickel for LSU — which visits Fayetteville on Nov. 12 — this season.

LB Kelin Burrle — Grambling State (FCS)

The Razorbacks didn’t have many transfers after spring ball, but that is when linebacker Kelin Burrle decided to enter the portal. He left after missing most of spring ball with an injury and never appeared in a game during his two seasons with the Razorbacks. Burrle found a landing spot back in his home state of Louisiana in the FCS ranks, transferring to Grambling, where he’ll reunite with former teammate Devin Bush.

DB Devin Bush — Grambling State (FCS)

One of several four-star recruits in Arkansas’ heralded 2019 signing class, Devin Bush never got consistent playing time in the secondary. Injuries likely played a part in that, as he played just 61 total defensive snaps in three seasons with the Razorbacks. After not dressing out for the Outback Bowl, Bush entered the portal and committed to Southern before flipping to arch rival Grambling.

K Vito Calvaruso — Wisconsin

The best kickoff specialist in college football during the regular season, according to Pro Football Focus, Vito Calvaruso was the Razorbacks’ most notable portal departure before the Outback Bowl. He had the fourth-best touchback rate in college football (85.1%) and the second-best average hang time on kickoffs (4.26 seconds). As good as he was on that, Calvaruso likely wasn’t going to overtake Cam Little as the placekicker, so he transferred somewhere he could do both. Although he’s battled an injury this offseason, he’s still viewed as the frontrunner to win Wisconsin’s kicking job.

WR Kendall Catalon — Abilene Christian (FCS)

The older brother of Arkansas star safety Jalen Catalon, Kendall Catalon began his career in the FCS ranks and was pretty productive at Southern before deciding to join his brother in Fayetteville. Although he received steady praise from coaches, he was never a factor on the field. Rather than sitting on the bench again in 2022, Catalon opted to use his super senior season elsewhere and ended up back in the FCS, this time at Abilene Christian.

QB Lucas Coley — Houston

A three-star recruit coming out of Cornerstone Christian in San Antonio, Lucas Coley signed with the Razorbacks in the 2021 class and redshirted during his lone season in Fayetteville. This offseason, he split third-team reps with walk-on transfer Cade Fortin until entering the portal midway through spring ball. Coley transferred to Houston, where he’s likely to end up the third- or fourth-team quarterback this season.

OL Ray Curry Jr. — Alabama State (FCS)

Originally committed to Missouri, Ray Curry Jr. flipped to Arkansas late in the process after Sam Pittman hired the Tigers’ head coach (Barry Odom) and offensive line coach (Brad Davis). The three-star recruit was buried on the depth chart during his two seasons in Fayetteville, though, and never appeared in a game. Curry changed his mind again coming out of the portal, originally committing to Alabama A&M before flipping to SWAC rival Alabama State.

S Joe Foucha — LSU

The most surprising UA transfer of the offseason, even more so than Brooks, was Joe Foucha choosing to leave Arkansas and play his super senior season elsewhere because he was a team captain last year and played 2,323 career defensive snaps for the Razorbacks. He finished fourth on the team with 73 tackles and had an interception in the Outback Bowl. Foucha — a New Orleans native — was in the portal less than a week before committing to LSU. With the Tigers, he is still competing for a starting spot at safety.

DB Jermaine Hamilton-Jordan — Hutchinson C.C. (JUCO)

Despite being the most vocal recruiter among Arkansas’ 2021 commitments, Jermaine Hamilton-Jordan spent just one year in Fayetteville in which he was hampered by injury and never saw the field. He is taking the junior college route and will play at Hutchinson C.C. — where Sam Pittman was a head coach back in the day — in Kansas this year.

RB Josh Oglesby — Stephen F. Austin (FCS)

Although he was a successful football player in high school, Josh Oglesby originally chose to just run track in college and came to Arkansas as a sprinter. He joined the football team after Pittman was hired and made some noise in fall camp before being sidelined with a season-ending injury. Unfortunately for him, Oglesby then got buried on the depth chart in 2021 and appeared in just one game, rushing three times for 17 yards against Georgia Southern. Seeking an clearer path to playing time, he dropped down to the FCS level and transferred to Stephen F. Austin, which is less than three hours away from his hometown of Katy, Texas.

LB Andrew Parker — Appalachian State

The Razorbacks had to hold off late pushes by Texas and Texas A&M, but ultimately signed Andrew Parker as part of Chad Morris’ first recruiting class. In four seasons at Arkansas, he became a backup linebacker and special teams contributor. Instead of sticking around as a fifth-year senior, Parker entered the portal and found his new home at the Group of Five level. He originally committed to Middle Tennessee, but ended up at Appalachian State.

*K/P Matthew Phillips — Tennessee State (FCS)

Matthew Phillips got some playing time as a punter as a freshman in 2018 and made a field goal as a redshirt sophomore in 2020, but the former walk-on likely wasn’t got to see much playing time moving forward because Arkansas has Little as its placekicker and two punters — Reid Bauer and Max Fletcher — on scholarship. He has since transferred back to his home state, landing at Tennessee State in the FCS ranks.

RB Trelon Smith — UTSA

The Razorbacks likely could have used Trelon Smith in 2019, when Chad Morris described him as a “scout team Heisman” during his NCAA-required redshirt after transferring in from Arizona State. Instead, they had to wait until 2020 to see him in action and he eventually replaced Rakeem Boyd as the starting running back. He remained the starter until being surpassed by Dominique Johnson and Rocket Sanders late last season. In two seasons with the Razorbacks, Smith ran for 1,308 yards and 10 touchdowns. With a deep running back room looming at Arkansas, he opted to pursue his super senior season elsewhere and — after a brief commitment to TCU — ended up at UTSA, where he’ll reunite with former Arkansas running backs coach Jeff Traylor, now the Roadrunners’ head coach.

DE Mataio Soli — Hawaii

Another four-star signee in the Razorbacks’ heralded 2019 class, Mataio Soli was actually a legacy recruit, as his father, Junior, was an All-SEC nose guard for Arkansas. He made an immediate impact, starting 11 games as a true freshman despite a broken hand requiring him to play with a large cast, but his playing time dwindled the last two years. Soli entered the portal midway through spring ball and landed at Hawaii, which has to replace nine defensive starters.

LB J.T. Towers — Ouachita Baptist (DII)

A two-star recruit coming out of Joe T. Robinson in Little Rock, J.T. Towers was a late addition to Arkansas’ 2020 class and then never saw the field over the last two years. He is staying in the state, transferring to Ouachita Baptist, the Division II program in Arkadelphia where his older brother played in the early 2010s.

WR Darin Turner — Alabama A&M (FCS)

One of only four holdover commitments from the Chad Morris regime in Pittman’s first signing class at Arkansas, Darin Turner actually de-committed from the Razorbacks before jumping back on board when Justin Stepp was retained. After not seeing the field the last two seasons, he decided to enter the portal and landed at Alabama A&M, an FCS program in the SWAC.

DB Nick Turner — Toledo

A late flip from Georgia Tech in Pittman’s first signing class, Nick Turner actually played in nine of 10 games as a true freshman, including a start in the regular-season finale. However, despite carving out a heavy special teams role, he failed to build on that freshman season last year. Turner is staying in the FBS, but transferring down to the Group of Five level by signing with Toledo in the MAC.

*WR John David White — Central Arkansas (FCS)

Coming from a large family of Razorbacks, John David White walked on at Arkansas following a standout career at Pulaski Academy. Even though he drew consistent praise from coaches and teammates, he never quite cracked the receiver rotation over the last three seasons, catching three passes for 46 yards. He is staying in the Natural State, transferring to UCA where he’ll join another former Arkansas wide receiver, Jarrod Barnes.

DT Jalen Williams — Southern Miss

Head coach Sam Pittman was not shy when talking about Jalen Williams after he arrived in Fayetteville as a JUCO signee in the 2021 class, telling reporters that he wasn’t the same player they saw on tape in the recruiting process. After not appearing in a game during his lone season with the Razorbacks, Williams entered the portal and quickly landed at Southern Miss, which is only about an hour away from his hometown in Mississippi.

DT Solomon Wright — Oklahoma State (walk-on)

Another one-year defensive tackle, Solomon Wright flipped from Texas Tech to Arkansas in the recruiting process, but got buried on the depth chart. He never appeared in a game last season before entering the portal. Wright has since landed at Oklahoma State — where his father, Kenyatta, was a standout player — as a walk-on. However, it’s worth noting that his name is no longer listed on Oklahoma State’s roster.

Previous Arkansas Football Transfers

*QB Austin Aune — North Texas

Not only did Austin Aune never play for the Razorbacks, but he was never part of the team during an actual season, as he spent just one semester in Fayetteville before transferring out. A former minor league baseball player, he originally signed with TCU out of high school before getting drafted by the Yankees. Now at North Texas, he started the final nine games last season — completing 51.2% of his passes for 1,991 yards, 9 touchdowns and 9 interceptions with 325 yards and 3 scores on the ground — and enters the 2022 season as the Mean Green’s starting quarterback, 10 years after he was set to be a freshman for the Horned Frogs.

WR Jarrod Barnes — Central Arkansas (FCS)

Entering his sixth year of college, Jarrod Barnes is still on the roster at Central Arkansas. The Cabot native did not record any statistics last season, but did catch 36 passes for 320 yards over the previous two seasons following a couple of years at Arkansas.

P George Caratan — UConn

After beginning his career as a walk-on at Michigan, George Caratan transferred to Arkansas — where he was put on scholarship — in Pittman’s first season. It didn’t go particularly well and he lost the starting job early in the season, leading him to hit he portal again. He ended up at Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C., where he averaged 40.4 yards on 42 punts, before committing to UMass and then flipping to UConn.

DT Collin Clay — Oklahoma State

Despite getting significant reps as a true freshman in 2019, Collin Clay decided to transfer closer to home. Injuries, including a torn ACL, have unfortunately prevented him from playing at Oklahoma State the last two years. He should finally make his debut with the Cowboys this year.

LB Kyrei Fisher — Oregon State

Outside of the two defensive backs who transferred to LSU, Kyrei Fisher is likely to have the most impact of any former Arkansas player at a Power Five program in 2022. An injury thrust him into action late last season and he actually started the Beavers’ bowl game, in which he made 10 tackles. Now entering his sixth season, Fisher is expected to be a starter, with one website naming him the 15th-most important player for Oregon State this season.

OL Nicholas Fulwider — Texas State

A defensive lineman who appeared in just one game over three seasons at Arkansas, Nicholas Fulwider transferred to Texas State and converted to offensive line. Listed at 6-foot-6, 280 pounds, he appeared in just one game for the Bobcats last season.

*WR Karch Gardiner — UTSA

Reuniting with former Arkansas assistant Jeff Traylor, who’s now the head coach at UTSA, Karch Gardiner played just one offensive snap for the Roadrunners last season. He was a walk-on for the Razorbacks who drew a lot of praise from coaches, but never cracked the receiver rotation.

RB Chase Hayden — Illinois

Another player entering his sixth season of college football, Hayden spent three years at Arkansas, had a brief stint at East Carolina and then reunited with Bret Bielema at Illinois. He made just six appearances last year, rushing for 18 yards on five carries. Now in his second year with the Illini, Hayden is not expected to be a big part of the rotation at running back.

DB Korey Hernandez — Eastern Michigan

Korey Hernandez played for current Arkansas running backs coach Jimmy Smith when he was the head coach and actually helped him win his first state title as a senior in 2016. He then signed with Bielema, but transferred to Iowa Western C.C. after redshirting his freshman year. Now entering his fourth season at Eastern Michigan, Hernandez missed last year with an injury after starting five games over the previous two years.

DT Enoch Jackson Jr. — North Texas

After being a rotational piece on North Texas’ defensive line last season, Enoch Jackson Jr. — who appeared in just three games during his two seasons at Arkansas — is slated to take over as a starter for the Mean Green in 2022. He made 19 tackles, including 1.5 sacks, while earning a 64.6 grade from Pro Football Focus last season.

WR Jordan Jones — Missouri State (FCS)

Presumably getting a medical redshirt for the 2019 season his missed with injury at Arkansas, Jordan Jones is a rare seventh-year senior this season. He played at Cincinnati the last couple of years, but had a limited role on its run to the College Football Playoffs. Rather than play his final collegiate season with the Bearcats, Jones will instead return to Fayetteville this year in a Missouri State uniform and playing for Bobby Petrino.

S Myles Mason — Louisiana Tech

Although he was not a starter, Myles Mason got significant reps at Louisiana Tech last season — his first with the program after playing more than 700 snaps over three seasons at Arkansas. He did miss the last five games of the year with an injury, though.

DB Jarques McClellion — Florida State

After starting at cornerback for two years at Arkansas, Jarques McClellion converted to safety last season at Florida State and played 268 defensive snaps as part of the Seminoles’ secondary rotation. Now a sixth-year super senior, he is projected to be Florida State’s backup free safety by Noles247.

OL Silas Robinson — Texas State

Forced into action because of an injury, Silas Robinson — one of the first commitments of the Chad Morris era — got his first significant playing time in college when he started four games at center last season. Pro Football Focus gave him a 46.4 grade on 323 snaps.

*K Jared Sackett — UTSA

It’s become more common in this day and age of college football, but Jared Sackett has had quite an interesting journey. He was a back-to-back Lou Groza Award semifinalist as a freshman and sophomore at UTSA, and then transferred to Arkansas. He had to sit out the 2019 season because of old transfer rules and then transferred out after the coaching change. Following former special teams quality control coach Daniel Da Prato, he ended up at South Florida and made 5 of 7 field goals in 2020 before not playing last season. Sackett has since transferred back to UTSA as a super senior.

DB Micahh Smith — Incarnate Word (FCS)

Instead of staying at Arkansas for his super senior season, Micahh Smith dropped down to the FCS level by transferring to Incarnate Word. However, he didn’t play last year — likely due to injury — and is still with the Cardinals as a seventh-year senior.

RB A’Montae Spivey — East Mississippi C.C. (JUCO)

Leaving the Razorbacks during the 2020 season, A’Montae Spivey landed at well-known JUCO powerhouse East Mississippi C.C. He ran for 335 yards and one touchdown on 64 carries and added another 120 yards and one score on 11 receptions last season. He reported offers from ULM and Mississippi Valley State, but it’s unknown if he landed anywhere. EMCC hasn’t posted its 2022 roster yet, but Spivey’s Twitter bio still lists it as his school.

DE Blayne Toll — Arkansas State

After flipping back and forth from offense to defense several times as a freshman at Arkansas in 2020, Blayne Toll transferred to Colorado, where he appeared in three games and played 33 total defense snaps before hitting the portal again. This time, he came back to his home state to play for Arkansas State.

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Does Arkansas have the upper hand in its “trade” with LSU? More on the dynamic between the teams here:

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More coverage of Arkansas football from BoAS…

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