#73 Arkansas 2018 Football Preview

Arkansas Razorbacks
Overall Rank: #73
#13 SEC
 Arkansas Logo
Following a 1-7 season in SEC play, Arkansas has brought in a new coach. Chad Morris was the head coach at SMU for the past three seasons and will look to change things quickly in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks lost a few close games against the likes of Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Missouri, but they were generally outclassed in the SEC.
2017 Record: 4-8, 1-7
2017 Bowl: None
Coach: Chad Morris (0-0 at Arkansas, 14-23 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Joe Craddock IV
Defensive Coordinator: John Chavis
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Devwah Whaley, RB, 559 yards
Passing: Cole Kelley, QB, 1,038 yards
Receiving: Jonathan Nance, WR, 539 yards
Tackles: De’Jon Harris, LB, 115
Sacks: De’Jon Harris, LB, 3.5
Interceptions: Kevin Richardson, DB, 3
Other Key Returnees: WR Deon Stewart, S Santos Remirez, S Kamren Curl, LB Dre Greenlaw, DL McTelvin Agim
Key Losses: RB David Williams, QB Austin Allen, DB Henre’ Toliver, DB Josh Liddell
Coach Morris brings in a power spread up-tempo offense. That is very different than the run first ball control offense that was instilled by the previous regime. Junior quarterback Ty Storey knows how to run an offense like this, but sophomore Cole Kelley has a lot more experience. He started the last four games of the 2017 season and threw for 1,038 yards and eight touchdowns. The quarterback battle will last into the fall. Jonathan Nance was a surprise last season as the team’s top wide receiver. The return of Jared Cornelius, who missed nearly all of 2017 with an injury, will add some speed that the new coaching staff is looking for. There is a wealth of talent at running back, led by Devwah Whaley who rushed for 559 yards and seven scores last year. There are also speedy backs like Chase Hayden and T.J. Hammonds who will find some carries.
The defense will move to a 4-3 scheme under new coordinator John Chavis. And the team will desperately try to find a way to get more pressure on the opposing quarterback. McTelvin Agim is the most disruptive linemen and he can line up anywhere on the line. Former outside linebacker Randy Ramsey will move to one of the end spots. De’Jon Harris led the team with 3.5 sacks and 115 tackles. The middle linebacker should benefit from the formation change and continue to be the leader of the defense. The secondary has experience, but Santos Ramirez and Kamren Curl are both changing positions. The return of senior cornerback Ryan Pulley from injury will help bolster the unit. Once the rust comes off, the secondary should be pretty good.
The Bottom Line:
Getting to a bowl game should be the goal in year one under Coach Morris. That leaves little margin for error in the non-conference portion of the schedule. Arkansas must start 3-0 against Eastern Illinois, Colorado State and North Texas. Beating Tulsa in mid-October is a must too. That still leaves two SEC wins and those will be extremely tough to come by.
Projected Bowl: Independence
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 168.0 (61st in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 205.4 (83, 7)
Total Offense: 373.4 (94, 9)
Scoring Offense: 28.8 (62, 8)
Rushing Defense: 196.1 (97, 11)
Pass Defense: 242.2 (92, 12)
Total Defense: 438.3 (101, 13)
Scoring Defense: 36.2 (114, 14)
Turnover Margin: -0.08 (75, 9)
Sacks: 1.58 (102, 14)
Sacks Allowed: 2.92 (113, 12)

Madness 2018 Recruit Rankings:
#249 Connor Noland