HOGS: Pool returns; More notes
FAYETTEVILLE - The Razorbacks have Bumper back in their pool, but they have lost their promising backup quarterback and a junior college transfer reserve defensive tackle to the transfer portal.
Bumper Pool (in Tommy Land photo TOP), the lone linebacker eligible to return among Arkansas’ senior trio with Grant Morgan and Hayden Henry, announced he is returning for his fifth and final year at Arkansas rather than declare for the NFL draft.
Third-year sophomore quarterback Malik Hornsby reportedly has submitted his name to the portal, while unused in 2021 junior college transfer defensive tackle Jalen Williams (not to be confused with UA basketball player Jaylin Williams) of Tylertown, Miss., is transferring to Southern Miss.
Pool, a fourth-year senior in 2021 and Arkansas’ leading tackler with 125 stops, is using the covid extra-year option to return as a fifth-year senior in 2022.
“I feel a certain responsibility to the State of Arkansas, the University of Arkansas and my teammates to continue the tradition, standard and legacy that have been set by our football program,” Pool posted Friday on social media. “With that being said, I am foregoing the 2022 NFL Draft and coming back for my fifth year. Woo Pig.”
Hornsby, a 2021 second-year freshman struggling to develop as a passer but with sprinter’s speed, has put his name in the transfer portal, a UA spokesman confirmed. Hornsby netted 67 yards on four carries, one for 32 yards, in the Outback Bowl while briefly relieving starting QB KJ Jefferson on a scoring drive. Arkansas beat Penn State 24-10.
Jefferson, a fourth-year junior, is set to return, but Hornsby’s departure leaves Arkansas without an experienced backup. Lucas Coley is the lone scholarship QB behind Jefferson.
Kade Renfro, the walk-on transfer via Ole Miss who has contributed on the scout team, had knee surgery after a bowl game practice injury and will miss spring ball.
It’s anticipated that Arkansas coach Sam Pittman will eye the transfer portal for a QB or pursue one for the February signing period.
Reid Bauer, the UA punter and holder for freshman Cam Little’s place-kicks, has won the Morrell Award for the nation's top holder.
Bauer and turning pro deep snapper Jordan Silver held and snapped for Cam Little’s 20 of 24 field goals and 46 of 46 PAT’s. As a holder on fakes, Bauer also threw a 32-yard TD pass to tight end Blake Kern and ran 23 yards for a first down.
As a punter, Bauer averaged 40 net yards per punt this season and, according to Pro Football Focus, has the eighth-highest grade (86.7) among FBS punters.