After a few quiet days, Arkansas football is back to landing players from the transfer portal, as wide receiver Tyrone Broden announced his commitment Sunday afternoon.
The former Bowling Green standout had originally planned to reveal his next college choice Wednesday, but postponed his decision a few days so he could visit Fayetteville.
It must have been a successful trip because Broden ended up picking the Razorbacks over Oklahoma and Penn State, both of which he also officially visited this month. James Franklin’s Penn State football program, which Arkansas beat in the Outback Bowl last season, appeared especially keen to get Broden after losing Parker Washington to the NFL and would-be WR receiver Devin Carter flipped his commitment from to the Nittany Lions to West Virginia on Wednesday.
Other schools that offered Broden, who has two years of eligibility remaining, out of the portal include Colorado, Houston, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Washington State and West Virginia.
Arkansas has now landed nine transfers this offseason, with Broden becoming the third wide receiver addition. He joins a pair of coveted prospects from lower levels of college football: Andrew Armstrong from Texas A&M-Commerce (FCS) and Isaac TeSlaa from Hillsdale College (DII).
The Razorbacks’ other transfers include offensive lineman Joshua Braun from Florida, quarterback Jacolby Criswell from North Carolina, defensive end John Morgan III from Pittsburgh, linebacker Antonio Grier Jr. from South Florida and defensive backs Lorando Johnson and Alfahiym Walcott from Baylor.
Tyrone Broden Resume
Coming out of West Bloomfield, Mich., in the 2019 class, Tyrone Broden was a tall and skinny wide receiver who earned a low three-star rating from 247Sports and two-star rating from Rivals.
Although he garnered some Power Five interest, picking up offers from Indiana, Iowa State, Purdue and Syracuse, the MAC really pursued him and he ultimately picked Bowling Green late in the process.
Listed at 6-foot-3 on his Rivals recruiting profile coming out of high school, Broden looks nothing like he did four years ago. The Falcons listed him at 6-foot-4, 169 pounds as a true freshman in 2019. By the next year, he had gained 16 pounds and was listed at 185 pounds. Then things got interesting.
On Bowling Green’s 2021 roster, Broden is once again listed 15 pounds heavier at 200, but also two inches taller at 6-foot-6. This year, his listed dimensions were 6-foot-7, 210 pounds — meaning he was tied with three other players as the tallest wide receiver in the country, according to his Bowling Green bio.
The result was, after two years of minimal production, Broden became a go-to deep threat for the Falcons.
He appeared in three games as a true freshman in 2019, preserving his redshirt, and then started all five games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but caught only six passes for 97 yards.
Over the last two seasons, Broden has hauled in 68 receptions for 1,192 yards and 12 touchdowns. That gives him a career 16.2-yard average and, according to Pro Football Focus, he caught seven passes that were thrown at least 20 yards downfield.
Perhaps illustrating the advantage that comes from his height, he was thrown six deep balls (20-plus yards downfield) that PFF considered “contested” — and he caught five of them. Among FBS wide receivers who were thrown at least five contest deep balls this season, his 83.3% contested catch rate was tied for second.
What it Means for Arkansas Football
The Razorbacks dipped into the MAC last offseason for wide receiver help and hit a home run with Matt Landers. The Toledo transfer not only led Arkansas in receiving, but his 901 yards rank eighth on the UA single-season list. He also reeled in eight touchdowns, which is tied for sixth in school history.
Granted, Landers began his career at Georgia, but Sam Pittman, Kendal Briles and Kenny Guiton are now hoping lighting strikes twice and Tyrone Broden can replace what they’re losing in Landers, who exhausted his eligibility this year. After all, Landers was their 6-foot-6 deep ball target in 2022.
It was also important for Arkansas to land a transfer with FBS experience, even if it was at the Group of Five level. Broden has at least faced the likes of Minnesota, UCLA and Mississippi State over the last two years — catching eight passes for 88 yards and a touchdown in those games.
That’s something the Razorbacks’ other two transfer wide receivers can’t say. Despite being heavily pursued by numerous Power Five programs out of the portal, Andrew Armstrong signed with Texas A&M-Commerce when it was a Division II program and played only one year at the FCS level, while Isaac TeSlaa’s lone full-ride scholarship offer was from Division II Hillsdale College.
With 1,256 career offensive snaps, Broden has played more than three times as many FBS snaps as Arkansas’ other returning wide receivers combined: Bryce Stephens (236), Jaedon Wilson (140), Isaiah Sategna (24) and Sam Mbake (8).
The graduation of Landers, early departure of Jadon Haselwood to the NFL Draft and transfers of Ketron Jackson Jr. and Warren Thompson meant the Razorbacks had to replace their top four wide receivers from this season, leading to the aforementioned lack of returning experience.
That made wide receiver — along with defensive back — one of the most important positions of the offseason for the coaching staff to address, especially when prized WR recruit Micah Tease flipped to Texas A&M.
They have done just that and now, including the three transfers, are up to nine scholarship wide receivers for 2023, according to Best of Arkansas Sports’ projections. That number doesn’t include Memphis transfer Marlon Crockett, who is returning to his home state as a walk-on.
Check out some highlights of Tyrone Broden from the last two seasons:
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