Being an FCS program, Central Arkansas football doesn’t receive nearly the same amount of attention as its counterpart in Fayetteville, but the Bears are quietly enjoying the season many hoped the Razorbacks would have in 2023.
While Arkansas has found heartbreaking ways to lose, with five one-possession losses part of its disappointing 3-7 record, UCA has done the opposite and enters the final weekend of the regular season with a chance to win its conference.
It took a Hail Mary to keep those chances alive this past Saturday and a former Arkansas player was involved in the play, which landed at No. 4 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays.
Jarrod Barnes — who signed with the Razorbacks in 2017 — caught a tipped 46-yard heave and managed to fall forward into the end zone for a game-winning touchdown with no time on the clock, lifting UCA to a 27-24 win over Eastern Kentucky.
About a month earlier, the Bears outscored Southeast Missouri 32-3 in the fourth quarter to rally for a wild 38-33 win. Barnes, a Cabot product who spent two seasons at Arkansas, also had a touchdown in that comeback.
Now a seventh-year senior, he is UCA’s leading receiver with 45 receptions for 568 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games. It’s the second straight year Barnes has been the Bears’ top pass catcher, as he also caught 40 passes for 708 yards and five scores in 11 games last season.
More than seven years after shutting down Malik Monk to help Cabot win a basketball state title as a junior, Barnes is guaranteed only one more game — and it’s a big one.
The No. 20 Bears travel to No. 12 Austin Peay on Saturday for a de facto United Athletic Conference championship game, with an automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs on the line.
Here’s a rundown of several other former Arkansas football players — on offense and special teams — and how they’re doing at their new schools in our monthly Transfer Tracker update…
Former Razorbacks on New Teams in 2023
*walk-on at Arkansas
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 in three seasons at Arkansas. He was a mainstay in the two-deep, but played just nine total offensive snaps.
Even though he’s the backup right guard at Memphis, Henderson surpassed that total in his first game with the Tigers by playing 12 snaps late in the 56-14 blowout win over Bethune-Cookman. PFF gave him a 59.1 grade. However, that is his only appearance this season.
QB Malik Hornsby — Texas State
One of the fastest players on the team during his three seasons in Fayetteville, Malik Hornsby struggled to be a consistent passer. In limited opportunities, he completed only 46.2% of his passes for 314 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Entering the transfer portal for a second time this offseason, Hornsby visited Nebraska before ultimately ending up at Texas State. He failed to win the job during spring ball, though, and the Bobcats brought in another transfer in TJ Finley from Auburn.
Finley got the nod in the opener and secured the starting job by leading Texas State to an upset win over Baylor. That relegated Hornsby to a backup role in which he played some as a wildcat option and the Bobcats even toyed with the idea of giving him some reps as a running back.
He finally got an opportunity this past weekend when he replaced a struggling Finley at halftime against Coastal Carolina. Although his first three possessions failed to produce a first down, he led capped two drives with touchdown runs inside the final four minutes in a hectic comeback bid that fell short.
For the season, Hornsby has completed 8 of 15 passes for 83 yards and one interception, plus added 253 yards and six touchdowns on 35 carries, giving him a 6.5-yard average.
RB Javion Hunt — Abilene Christian (FCS) / unknown
Despite being an ESPN four-star recruit, Javion Hunt quickly found himself behind fellow 2021 signees Rocket Sanders and AJ Green on the Arkansas football depth chart. Throw in Dominique Johnson and Rashod Dubinion and it made sense that he left the team early last season.
Although Abilene Christian announced him as a signee, Hunt is not listed on the Wildcats’ roster and it’s unclear where he ended up.
WR Ketron Jackson — Baylor
In a surprising move, Ketron Jackson Jr. entered the portal just one day after Sam Pittman mentioned him getting an opportunity to play in the slot in the Liberty Bowl. He was in line to potentially be the Razorbacks’ go-to receiver in 2023.
Instead, after catching just 21 passes for 374 yards and four scores in two seasons at Arkansas, Jackson is continuing his career at Baylor. Not only has he emerged as a starter for the Bears, but he’s also been one of the Bears’ top targets.
Before suffering a head injury against Iowa State and missing the last two games, Jackson caught 24 passes for 392 yards — surpassing his production in two seasons with the Razorbacks — but has yet to find the end zone. He has a solid 63.9 grade on Pro Football Focus.
RB James Jointer Jr. — Liberty
One of two running backs in Arkansas’ 2022 signing class, James Jointer Jr. found himself quickly buried on the depth chart and ultimately announced his decision to leave the team the week of the regular-season finale at Missouri.
He landed at Liberty, where he has climbed the depth chart and gone from getting no reps the first two weeks to playing some here and there of late. Jointer has been productive in those limited opportunities, racking up 181 yards on 24 carries – a solid 5.6 yards per carry. Pro Football Focus gives him a 78.6 grade on 66 snaps.
TE Trey Knox — South Carolina
Originally a four-star wide receiver, Trey Knox stuck around through a coaching change, dip in production and position switch before finally choosing to enter the transfer portal for his super senior season.
Unfortunately, just as the hype that came with him reuniting with both Dowell Loggains and Justin Stepp was starting to turn into results, Knox went down with a hamstring injury against Texas A&M. Even though he missed the last two games, he’s still the Gamecocks’ second-leading pass catcher with 32 receptions for 277 yards and two touchdowns.
A good chunk of that came in the four games before he got hurt, as he racked up 24 catches for 186 yards and the two scores against Mississippi State, Tennessee, Florida and Missouri. The good news is that Shane Beamer has announced Knox will return to action this weekend.
TE Erin Outley — North Alabama (FCS)
Injuries played a role in Erin Outley never really getting a chance to do much in two seasons with the Razorbacks, as he transferred without ever seeing the field.
He dropped down to the FCS ranks, landing at North Alabama. Although it’s not reflected in the official statistics, Outley appears to have made his collegiate debut by playing one snap against Utah Tech on Oct. 21, according to Pro Football Focus.
WR Landon Rogers — UNLV
Originally a quarterback coming out of Little Rock Parkview, Landon Rogers was moved to tight end soon after arriving on campus and eventually ended up at wide receiver. He appeared in only one game for the Razorbacks.
Dropping down to the Group of Five level, Rogers initially cracked UNLV’s two-deep and actually played 24 snaps in the Rebels’ opener, catching one pass for seven yards. However, an injury kept him off the field until a few weeks ago. Since returning against Fresno State on Oct. 28, Rogers has mostly played special teams (on the kickoff coverage and punt return units), but did play four snaps on offense against New Mexico without recording any statistics.
OL Jalen St. John — UNLV
Another four-star recruit in that 2020 class, Jalen St. John followed Barry Odom to Fayetteville by flipping his commitment from Missouri to Arkansas. Even though he was regularly brought up in press conferences, he struggled to find playing time beyond special teams.
St. John’s tenure with the Razorbacks ended with a felony theft arrest the day before Thanksgiving, leading to an indefinite suspension. After entering the transfer portal, he once again followed Odom, this time to UNLV.
An injury limited him early on, but St. John took over as the starting left tackle in the middle of the season and hasn’t looked back. His overall Pro Football Focus grade of 50.8 isn’t great, but he has posted pass-blocking grades of 72 or better in all five of his starts.
WR Warren Thompson — TCU
A top-100 recruit who originally signed with Florida State, Warren Thompson followed Kendal Briles to Arkansas as a walk-on and earned a scholarship before his first season with the Razorbacks. During his two seasons in Fayetteville, he struggled with consistency, but did catch 31 passes for 482 yards and four touchdowns before quitting the team with two games remaining last season.
No announcements were ever made, but Thompson eventually resurfaced at TCU, where he once again reunited with Briles. Even though he started only one game, he got significant playing time with the Horned Frogs before suffering an injury at practice that will cause him to miss the final four games of the season, ending his collegiate career.
Prior to getting hurt, Thompson caught 19 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns. Most of that production came against Nicholls, as he had eight receptions for 92 yards and one score against the FCS squad in Week 2. His other touchdown catch came against BYU.
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 Arkansas football. He ended his career with a 42.01-yard average, which just edged out Sam Irwin-Hill for seventh all-time in UA history, but he’ll likely be remembered for the pair of fakes he pulled off during the 2021 season, when he won the 2021 Peter Mortell Holder of the Year award.
Now at Memphis, Bauer is the starting punter and holder for the Tigers. His 37 punts through 10 games have averaged 43.9 yards, with 18 of them fair caught and 13 pinned inside the 20. Pro Football Focus gives him a 69.9 punting grade. For comparison’s sake, Arkansas’ Max Fletcher is fifth nationally with an 84.5 grade.
*LS Francisco Castro — Holy Cross
A preferred walk-on at Arkansas, Francisco Castro’s only action in Fayetteville came in last year’s regular-season finale at Missouri when he snapped for four punts because of an injury to starter Eli Stein. He transferred down to the FCS level, but appears to have been beaten out by a freshman at Holy Cross because he has yet to appear in a game this season.
*P Patrick Foley — UAB
A preferred walk-on at Arkansas, Patrick Foley did not appear in any games during his two seasons in Fayetteville. He is now at UAB, where he’s the starting punter and holder. Through 10 games, Foley has averaged 42.1 yards on 31 punts, seven of which have been fair caught and five of which were pinned inside the 20.
*LS John Oehrlein — Texas State
A walk-on, John Oehrlein was the backup long snapper for Arkansas last season and was thrust into action when Eli Stein got injured late in the season. He made snaps against Missouri and Kansas. Now at Texas State, he is the starting long snapper for both punts and field goals/PATs.
Previous Arkansas Football Transfers
WR Jarrod Barnes — Central Arkansas (FCS)
- STATS: 10 games/9 starts (635 snaps), 45 receptions, 568 yards, 4 TD; 9 punt returns, 1 yard — 60.7 PFF grade
- NOTE: Playing his seventh year of college football… UCA’s leading receiver for a second straight year
P George Caratan — UConn
- STATS: 10 games (86 snaps), 54 punts, 45.3-yard average, 10 fair caught, 16 inside the 20 — 63.7 PFF punting grade
- NOTE: Began career at Michigan and spent a year at Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. after Arkansas
QB Lucas Coley — Houston
- STATS: 0 games
- NOTE: Opened the season as the backup to Texas Tech transfer Donovan Smith… Demoted to third-string QB a few weeks into the season… Played 11 snaps last season
OL Ray Curry Jr. — Alabama State (FCS)
- STATS: 1 game/0 starts (19 snaps)
- NOTE: Has not played since the season opener… Listed as the backup right tackle on the depth chart… Started two games and played 262 total snaps last season
OL Silas Robinson — Incarnate Word (FCS)
- STATS: 8 games/8 starts (499 snaps) — *61.1 PFF grade
- NOTE: Spent the last three years at Texas State, now the starting center at Incarnate Word… Did not play in the Cardinals’ last game, presumably due to injury because he also left the previous game early
WR Darin Turner — Alabama A&M (FCS)
- STATS: 7 games/1 start (122 snaps), 9 receptions, 75 yards, 1 TD
- NOTE: Played season-high 40 snaps off the bench at Vanderbilt… Caught a touchdown vs. Jackson State
For the latest on the defensive Arkansas football transfers, go here:
More coverage of Arkansas football and the transfer portal from BoAS…