The wheels aren’t yet all the way off the Chad Morris hype train, but they’re wobbling like never before.
On Saturday night, Arkansas football program received two huge blows.
First, the Hogs lost 20-24 at Kentucky, a game in which they were once up 13-0. But the Wildcats outscored Arkansas 17-7 in the second half, a regression to the same second half collapses that plagued the team in 2017 and 2018. And it was the 11th straight SEC loss for Chad Morris.
One of the biggest issues on Arkansas offense was the repeated breakdowns by Hogs offensive linemen during Arkansas’ last two offensive possessions.
Wildcat defensive linemen abused experienced Razorback offensive linemen, including tackle Austin Capps, using swim moves to get to Hicks for sacks and timing disruptions.
Halfway through the season, the lack of development by the offensive line is alarming. Why haven’t these linemen improved more? Those are questions squarely on the shoulders of Arkansas offensive line coach Dustin Fry, offensive coordinator Joe Craddock and Morris himself.
As the losses pile up, more and more fans are calling for the heads of all three. The chances of all three of them remaining on staff for next season are nosediving as the 2-4 Hogs keep losing.
Ty’kieast Crawford Decommits
In this context, it’s understandable why four-star offensive lineman Ty’Kieast Crawford delivered the second big blow to the Hogs’ program on Saturday night.
Crawford made this announcement:
Gods Plan pic.twitter.com/xrBkSaSqMG— Ty’kieast Crawford (@KieastTy) October 13, 2019
There are ways you can spin this. You can say this had nothing to do with the Kentucky loss. You can make it more about other programs, and less about Arkansas.
Beat reporter Nikki Chavanelle wrote, for instance: “Ty’Kieast Crawford has been recruited HARD by A&M and LSU in the last couple months, the decommitment is far from a surprise. Crawford had been to three A&M games recently and he was in Baton Rouge a few weeks prior.”
But there’s no question that Crawford sees the same game that fans do on television. If Hog linemen who have been in the program for years are still playing this poorly, what does that say about the coaches’ ability to develop them? And why would Crawford want to remain committed to coaches who may get axed after the season?
These are the hard truths that Arkansas coaches must deal with as they continue to talk a good game, but continue to fail in leading the program to victories.
“This hurts Arkansas because they are in desperate need of some elite talent on the offensive line and, despite only trying to sign two out of high school in the 2020 class, Crawford was a huge part of the class,” Chavanelle wrote for Rivals.com.
“Crawford, at Carthage HS [in Texas], is also teammates with another Arkansas commit, Kelvontay Dixon, a 3-star athlete, and Dixon’s currently being courted by the University of Texas where his brother plays. Losing Crawford weakens the Razorbacks’ hold on Dixon as well.”
With a .9286 composite, the 6’5″, 335 pound Crawford was the No. 1 rated commit for Arkansas, according to 247 Sports. Here are highest remaining commitments:
Arkansas Recruits In Class of 2020
Read more about the aftermath of the Kentucky game here:
The below was published on 4.15.19
4-Star Lineman Ty’kieast Crawford Picks Hogs Over Bama, Georgia, Texas A&M et al
Figuratively speaking, on Sunday Chad Morris might have gotten his biggest commit in the Razorback class of 2020 so far. Literally speaking?
No question about it.
Depending on the outlet, Ty’Kieast Crawford is listed as anywhere between 6’5″ and 6’7″ and 310 to 320 pounds. Bottom line, he’s a very big boy. And a very wanted one, too. In the last few months, Crawford has become one of the hottest recruits in the land, skyrocketing up to the No. 71 nationwide overall spot according to 247 Sports.
“You usually don’t project this for offensive linemen but he could be a three years and to the league type of guy, he’s that good,” recruiting analyst Otis Kirk said.
Indeed, the Ty’Kieast Crawford video below shows someone with the complete skill set needed in a dominant offensive lineman, from size to strength to feet quickness (not to mention state title-winning bonafides):
Crawford, a native of Carthage in east Texas, had been committed to Baylor but de-committed on Feb. 26 after a trip to Fayetteville. Arkansas had already offered him by that point, but his de-commitment triggered lots of new offers from the likes of Georgia, Florida State, LSU, Texas A&M, USC and others. Other schools who wanted him included Ole Miss, Colorado, Houston, Missouri, Oklahoma State, SMU, Tennessee and Texas Tech.
Perennial powerhouse Alabama entered the picture by offering in the last couple months. Ty’kieast Crawford visited Tuscaloosa last weekend, expecting to be impressed. He wasn’t. “It was alright, but to me it’s not the hype that everybody was talking about,” Crawford said, according to Kirk. “I was expecting it to be, but it really wasn’t.”
Including an official visit this weekend, Crawford has visited Arkansas a few times since November. In February.
By early March, he had made up his mind.
Crawford told Rivals.com’s Nikki Chavanelle: ” “They treated me like family once again. That’s the main thing I like about it.”
“Coach [Jeff] Traylor is from the 903, Coach [Chad] Morris is from the 903. So it’s family. When I visit, I am leaving family to come back to family so it is like home.”
“He came up March 9th and I’ll never forget, he came out and said ‘Well, I’m committed,'” recruiting analyst Danny West recalled. “And I say ‘Great, well how long are you gonna wait till announce?’ I’m thinking it may be a couple hours or something, he’ll go home and then Tweet it out… but he says ‘I’m gonna wait until after football season.’”
“I was like ‘Oh boy, that ain’t gonna cut it. You’ve got to speed this up a little bit.’”
He added: “Arkansas I think was cognizant of that and made a really heavy push to Ty’kieast to get him on board publicly.”
See more of this potential future All-SEC tackle in action here:
And Crawford wasn’t the only east Texan the Razorbacks snagged over the weekend. Here’s the other: