A former Arkansas player provided an answer to an age-old college football question Thursday night.
The next time someone asks it — What is targeting? — just show them the clip of Khari Johnson’s penalty in Boston College’s 24-16 loss to Pittsburgh.
Now playing in the Golden Eagles’ secondary, Johnson launched himself — leading with his helmet — into the helmet of a defenseless receiver, providing a textbook definition of the sometimes-controversial penalty.
No one was arguing this flag, though:
A lightly recruited two-star prospect, Johnson was a versatile defensive back for the Razorbacks during his three seasons in Fayetteville, starting four games and manning both cornerback and safety.
Now at Boston College, he is listed as the co-starter at nickel on the depth chart, but has started only two of the nine games in which he’s appeared. Prior to Thursday’s game, he had played 132 defensive snaps and had a 61.0 PFF grade, with 12 tackles – including half of a sack – and a fumble recovery. On special teams, he had played another 59 snaps, with most of them coming on the kickoff coverage (32) and punt return (25) units.
Luckily for Johnson, the penalty happened in the first half, so he won’t have to miss any of what could be his final home game next week.
Best of Arkansas Sports has already updated its Transfer Tracker for all former offensive and special teams players, highlighted by one who recently made SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays, so now it’s time to take a look at former Arkansas defensive players still active elsewhere in college football…
Former Razorbacks on New Teams in 2023
*walk-on at Arkansas
S Simeon Blair — Memphis
A former walk-on, Simeon Blair saw his role steadily increase during his Arkansas football career until he was a full-time starter and team captain last season. However, he struggled mightily, earning an abysmal 50.8 grade from PFF and allowing an SEC-high seven touchdown passes.
The Pine Bluff native transferred to Memphis for his super senior season and it seems to have been a great move. He earned a ton of praise from the coaching staff over the offseason and was elected a team captain. The Tigers are now 8-2 and Blair has played a big role in that, posting a solid 68.5 PFF grade on a team-high 672 defensive snaps. — a dramatic improvement from last year’s 50.8 mark at Arkansas.
Blair is third on the team in tackles with 50, plus has 3.5 tackles for loss, four pass breakups, two interceptions, two quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He’s also still a significant contributor on special teams, playing 87 snaps as a member of the punt return, punt coverage and field goal block units.
DB Anthony Brown — Purdue
Although he didn’t see the field during his lone season with Arkansas football, Anthony Brown did find his way into the headlines when he and teammate Myles Slusher were arrested for disorderly conduct in November.
Reuniting with former Arkansas defensive backs coach Sam Carter, Brown is listed as a backup safety at Purdue — which would be good as a redshirt freshman, except for the fact that he’s behind a true freshman.
He has yet to play on defense for the Boilermakers, but has carved out a nice role on special teams, playing 97 snaps across four different units. That included just one snap against Nebraska, but he made it count — notching his first career tackle and forcing a fumble on a kickoff.
S Jalen Catalon — Texas
When he was healthy, Jalen Catalon was an All-SEC caliber safety for the Razorbacks. Unfortunately, his time in Fayetteville was derailed by a pair of season-ending shoulder injuries. Rather than declare for the NFL Draft, Catalon surprisingly entered the transfer portal.
Landing with former SWC rival Texas, he established himself as a starter before getting hurt in the Oklahoma game. Even when healthy, though, Catalon wasn’t playing a ton and had only 15 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 forced fumble in 125 snaps, earning a 60.5 PFF grade — a far cry from the 79.4 he posted in 2021.
The good news for Catalon is that the Longhorns expect him to return to action this week against TCU.
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 was a significant blow to the Razorbacks’ defense, as he tied for third in the SEC with 7.5 sacks last season.
He landed at Colorado, where he was one of 50 or so transfers brought in by Deion Sanders. Although he opened the season listed as a third-stringer, Domineck quickly rose up the depth chart and has started eight of 10 games while playing 51.3 snaps per game – more than double the playing time he had last year at Arkansas.
The sack numbers aren’t quite on the same level, but Domineck has still been pretty productive for the Buffaloes. Officially, he has 39 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 2 pass breakups, 4 quarterback hurries and 1 fumble recovery. Pro Football Focus credits him with 23 total pressures, but gives him a 65.1 overall grade – down from last year’s 76.5 with the Razorbacks.
*LB Jordan Hanna — UNLV
A walk-on from Greenwood, Jordan Hanna never saw any action during his two seasons at Arkansas. He decided to follow former defensive coordinator Barry Odom and linebackers coach Michael Scherer to UNLV.
Since not appearing in the opener, Hanna has carved out a role on special teams, playing 51 snaps across four separate units — mostly on kickoff coverage (38). His first, and only, action on defense came in a blowout win over New Mexico, when he played six snaps and made a pair of tackles.
DB Khari Johnson — Boston College
DT Taylor Lewis — Marshall
A late addition to Arkansas’ 2022 signing class, Taylor Lewis was in Fayetteville for only a couple of months before deciding to leave the program. He ultimately committed to Marshall, but was unfortunately ruled ineligible to play, according to a source, ending his career.
DB Chase Lowery — Garden City C.C. (JUCO)
After not appearing in a game as a true freshman in 2021 and then being left off the 110-man fall camp roster the following year, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Chase Lowery. He did try playing wide receiver early last year, but ended up leaving the team a few weeks into the season.
It was originally believed that Lowery was heading to Blinn C.C. in his home state of Texas, but he ended up at Garden City C.C. in Kansas instead. Back on defense with the Broncbusters, he finished the year with six tackles and two pass breakups while playing in six of 11 games as a cornerback.
DT Isaiah Nichols — Purdue
In five seasons with the Razorbacks, Isaiah Nichols logged more than 1,500 defensive snaps and was an everyday starter in 2022. Rather than return to Arkansas, he chose to use his extra year of eligibility elsewhere and ultimately landed at Purdue, where he’s now a starter.
Since putting up some pretty good numbers against Fresno State and Virginia Tech to open the season, Nichols’ production has dipped despite him remaining in the starting lineup. He now has 17 tackles, including three for a loss and one sack, and two quarterback hurries, although PFF credits him with 12 hurries. PFF also gives him a 58.6 grade on 401 snaps in 10 games – slightly up from the 55.1 he posted last season at Arkansas.
CB Keuan Parker — Tulsa
Despite steady praise from the coaching staff heading into his redshirt freshman season, Keuan Parker didn’t get significant playing time at cornerback for the Razorbacks until numerous injuries ravaged the secondary. That resulted in him getting 48 snaps against BYU.
Rather than return to Fayetteville, Parker hit the transfer portal and, after initially signing with New Mexico State, ended up returning home to play for Tulsa. An injury forced him to miss the opener and then he came off the bench in Week 2 against Washington, but he started the next five games before missing the last three. He’s listed as the backup on Tulsa’s depth chart.
In 264 defensive snaps, Parker has earned a 59.6 PFF grade and has 18 tackles with one pass breakup.
DB Myles Slusher — Colorado
The crown jewel of Sam Pittman’s first class at Arkansas, Myles Slusher made an immediate impact in Fayetteville and ultimately played more than 1,000 defensive snaps and made 15 starts over the last three seasons. Unfortunately, his career was marred by injuries and a disorderly conduct arrest.
He initially committed to Louisville out of the transfer portal, but flipped to Colorado and earned a starting spot at nickel. Unfortunately, injuries limited him early in the season and he lost his starting job. Something to monitor over the final two games of the regular season is the fact that Slusher has appeared in only four games, meaning he could redshirt this year if he doesn’t play again.
In his four games, Slusher has made 17 tackles — including 1.5 for loss and one sack — and notched a pass breakup while earning a 67.9 PFF grade on 204 defensive snaps.
DE Eric Thomas Jr. — Southern Miss
Despite playing sparingly on defense, Eric Thomas Jr. carved out a role for himself on special teams during his three years with Arkansas football. In fact, he never redshirted with the Razorbacks. There was also a brief moment early in his career that he got a look at tight end.
Now at Southern Miss, where he reunited with former Arkansas defensive tackle Jalen Williams, Thomas is listed as a backup strong-side linebacker on the depth chart. He still shows up as a defensive end on the roster and is considered an “edge” on Pro Football Focus, though.
According to PFF, he’s appeared in seven of Southern Miss’ 10 games and played 112 total defensive snaps. More than half of those snaps have come in the Golden Eagles’ last two games. He is credited with 7 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass breakup and 1 quarterback hurry, while PFF gives him a 64.7 overall grade.
DB Jacorrei Turner — Georgia State
Most of Jacorrei Turner’s action at Arkansas — 22 of 32 total defensive snaps — came in the 2021 win over UAPB, but he did contribute on special teams. However, when he never saw the field on defense despite numerous injuries in the secondary last season, it became clear he was not in the plans moving forward.
He entered the transfer portal and ultimately landed back home in Atlanta at Georgia State. While he hasn’t appeared in any games for the Panthers, Turner was recently named their defensive scout team player of the week.
LB Jackson Woodard — UNLV
A former walk-on who eventually earned a scholarship with Arkansas football, Jackson Woodard packed on about 50 pounds upon his arrival to Fayetteville and actually found his way onto the field as a true freshman. He ended up playing 72 defensive snaps over three years and was a special teams ace, playing a team-high 215 special teams snaps across four units in 2022.
Woodard followed Barry Odom and Michael Scherer to UNLV and has thrived. Not only is he the Rebels’ starting weak-side linebacker, but he was elected a team captain. Through 10 games, he has a team-high 84 tackles, which ranks fifth in the Mountain West, plus has 3 tackles for loss, 0.5 sack, 2 pass breakups, an interception and a quarterback hurry. Pro Football Focus gives him a 67.9 grade on 560 snaps. On top of that, Woodard is still playing on four special teams units, totaling 106 more snaps.
DB Zach Zimos — Louisiana Tech
A four-star linebacker coming out of high school, Zach Zimos eventually converted to safety at Arkansas. In four seasons with the Razorbacks, he didn’t play much on defense, but did contribute on special teams.
The move down to the Group of Five level has been great for Zimos, who’s now a fifth-year senior. Back at linebacker, he opened the year as a backup and played only 44 defensive snaps through the first four games, during which he played extensively on special teams (65 snaps across five units).
Since then, though, Zimos’ role on special teams has diminished because he’s emerged as a starter at linebacker — and thrived. His first career start was at Nebraska and all he did was rack up nine tackles, including two for a loss, and earn a 74.3 PFF grade.
For the season, Zimos has 54 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 1 quarterback hurry, giving him an impressive 77.7 PFF grade. Also according to Pro Football Focus, didn’t miss a tackle until missing two in the Bulldogs’ last game against Sam Houston State.
Previous Arkansas Football Transfers
DT Andy Boykin — Southern (FCS)
- STATS: 0 games
DB Greg Brooks Jr. — LSU
- STATS: 2 games/1 start (81 snaps), 8 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 2 PBU, 1 QBH — 60.5 PFF grade
- NOTE: Elected one of LSU’s team captains… Diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer after having a large tumor removed after the first two weeks of the season
NT Collin Clay — Oklahoma State
- STATS: 10 games/8 starts (289 snaps), 9 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1.5 sack, 1 QBH — 61.8 PFF grade
- NOTE: Injuries prevented him from playing in 2020 and 2021, started three games last year… Came off the bench in Oklahoma State’s last two games
DB Jermaine Hamilton-Jordan — Hutchinson C.C. (JUCO)
- STATS: 9 games, 23 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 FF, 2 PBU
- NOTE: Listed as a linebacker
DB Korey Hernandez — Eastern Michigan
- STATS: 10 games/0 starts (170 snaps), 9 tackles, 1 PBU — 53.8 PFF grade
- NOTE: Playing his seventh year of college football, spent a year at Iowa Western C.C. after Arkansas, now in fifth season at Eastern Michigan… Began and now ending the year listed as the backup nickel, but fell off the two-deep depth chart in the middle of the season
DT Enoch Jackson Jr. — North Texas
- STATS: 4 games/0 starts (32 snaps), 1 tackle — 65.5 PFF grade
- NOTE: Has not played since the fourth game of the season, but unclear why
LB Andrew Parker — Appalachian State
- STATS: 10 games/10 starts (654 snaps), 91 tackles, 6 TFL, 2 sacks, 4 QBH, 1 PBU, 1 FR — 73.0 PFF grade
- NOTE: Ranks fifth in the Sun Belt in tackles
DE Blayne Toll — Arkansas State
- STATS: 10 games/1 start (164 snaps), 15 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 QBH — 64.6 PFF grade
- NOTE: Played tight end and defensive end at Arkansas, spent some time at Colorado before transferring back home to Arkansas State, where he’s a defensive end
LB JT Towers — Ouachita Baptist (DII)
- STATS: 9 games/2 starts, 22 tackles, 1 QBH
- NOTE: Started the final two games of the season
DB Nick Turner — Toledo
- STATS: 1 game/0 starts (11 snaps), 1 tackle — 66.4 PFF grade
- NOTE: Not included in Toledo’s two-deep depth chart
DT Jalen Williams — Southern Miss
- STATS: 9 games/7 starts (259 snaps), 27 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 0.5 sack, 4 QBH — 68.5 PFF grade
- NOTE: Has also played 13 offensive snaps as a fullback… Posted an impressive 74.2 PFF grade on 479 snaps last season, earning him honorable mention All-Sun Belt honors
DT Solomon Wright — Northeastern Oklahoma A&M C.C. (JUCO)
- STATS: 8 games, 36 tackles, 7 TFL, 3 sacks, 2 FF, 1 FR, 1 PBU
- NOTE: Briefly walked on at Oklahoma State after leaving Arkansas… Based on social media posts, it appears he’s being recruited by Utah State
Arkansas Football Transfers on Offense
On the offensive side of the ball, Malik Hornsby is one of the most well-known former Razorbacks. Hornsby’s lack of development at QB is often thrown out as an example of why Kendal Briles wasn’t such a hot offensive coordinator, even if, in hindsight, fans should have been plenty pleased with the way he brought along KJ Jefferson.
After checking out Nebraska, Hornsby headed to Texas State and failed to win the job during spring ball, though, as 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 more on about 20 former Arkansas football players on offense and and special teams, make sure to go here: