Jones has been a force in the middle of the defensive line for two seasons. After making five starts a freshman in 2010, he compiled 47 tackles with 4.5 of them behind the line of scrimmage last year. The Junction City native will be counted on heavily to continue his solid tackle production on a reworked Razorbacks defensive line in 2012.
The native Texan has been a key cog in the middle of the Arkansas line for two seasons. The Razorbacks offense set 24 game or season school records during the 2010 campaign, and last year’s attack led the way to 11 wins including a Cotton Bowl victory. Swanson will be one the SEC’s top centers in 2012 and is a lock to be on the Rimington Trophy watch list once again.
Wright has been a quality defensive end for three seasons in Fayetteville, but he was moved to linebacker during the spring. Last year in eight games, the Memphis pass rusher had five tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The move to linebacker appears permanent, and Wright will be a leader on the 2012 defense no matter where he lines up on the field.
The veteran tight end had a breakout season last year, ranking third on the team in receptions. Another great player from Warren High School, Gragg had 41 catches for 518 yards and two scores a year ago. He had an excellent game against Mississippi State (8 catches, 119 yards, 1 TD) last November, and the Hogs will be looking for more of the same during 2012.
Bennett had a solid season in his first year at safety, totaling the fourth-most tackles on the team. He had 74 stops with three behind the line of scrimmage, plus three interceptions that were returned for 63 yards. The Tulsa native will be counted on to be a leader in the secondary this season, especially with the loss of fellow safety Tramain Thomas.
The Texarkana (Texas) native is the most likely candidate to become quarterback Tyler Wilson’s favorite target this season. Hamilton had 34 catches for 542 yards and four touchdowns a year ago, averaging 15.9 yards per reception. He has the size and speed combination to be one of the top wideouts in the SEC and a star for the Razorbacks in 2012.
The active Highsmith was all over the field last season, compiling 80 tackles, 4.5 sacks, one interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He should be a leader on defense this year but is recovering from a left pectoral injury that cost him the entire spring practice period. The former JUCO All-American could be primed for a breakout senior season once healthy.
The two-year starter has cleared the way for productive Arkansas offenses during his career. In 2010, Bailey was a rookie on an offensive line that blocked for the first offense in Razorbacks history with a 3,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard rusher. He was also excellent last year, and the massive Oklahoman should be one of the best offensive linemen in the rugged SEC this season.
The hard-running Texan became a star during the 2010 season, rushing for 1,322 yards and 13 touchdowns on just 204 carries. He was projected as an All-American before last season, but a devastating left ankle injury in August would cost Davis the 2011 campaign. He should be healthy for 2012, and Davis’ presence should be a huge lift to the Razorbacks running game.
Many NFL pundits thought Wilson would have been a high draft selection in this year’s draft, but the All-SEC signal caller decided to return to Fayetteville for his senior season. That’s great news for Arkansas fans, with Wilson coming off a junior year where he threw for 3,638 yards and 24 scores against only six picks. The senior QB will try to lead the Hogs to a third-straight season with double-digit wins.
Arkansas and Ole Miss finished the fourth quarter tied at the rather ordinary score of 17-17, but seven overtimes later, the Razorbacks and Rebels were in the history books. Arkansas prevailed 58-56 when Jermaine Petty tackled Dough Zeigler two yards short of the end zone on a two-point conversion. Matt Jones came on in relief at quarterback for Arkansas and ran for two touchdowns and threw for another in the overtime periods. The game was the longest in NCAA history, until it was matched two years later when Arkansas beat Kentucky 71-63 in seven OTs.
Undefeated Arkansas beat No. 1 Texas 27-24 when quarterback Jon Brittenum scored the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. The game gave Frank Broyles two straight wins over Darryl Royal and propelled the Razorbacks to a second straight Southwest Conference championship and an undefeated regular season.
Darren McFadden ran for 206 yards and three touchdowns and threw for a fourth as the Razorbacks beat No. 1 LSU 50-48 in triple overtime at Baton Rouge. Peyton Hillis scored two of his four touchdowns in the overtime session and the Razorbacks ran for 385 yards on the day. McFadden went on to finish second behind Tim Tebow in the Heisman voting.
Entering the game as 18-point underdogs after four starters were suspended by first-year coach Lou Holtz, Arkansas blitzed No. 2 Oklahoma 31-6. Roland Sales, a replacement for suspended starter Ben Cowins, set an Orange Bowl record with 205 yards on 25 carries and the Arkansas defense stifled OU's wishbone, which had averaged 36 points per game. The win lifted Arkansas to No. 3 in the final AP poll.
Ken Hatfield returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown, one of five he returned for scores that year, and Arkansas beat rival Texas 14-13. The Razorbacks went on to beat Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl and finish undefeated. The Football Writers Association of America and the Helms Athletic Foundation, the two outlets at the time who waited after the bowls to vote their national champion, named the Razorbacks No. 1.
Will the SEC's streak of national championships end in 2012?
Spring practice is wrapping up around the nation, which means the 2012 college football season is just around the corner. Athlon’s top 25 for 2012 kicks off on May 1 and ends in early June with our pick to win the national title. The SEC has won six championships in a row, but will that streak end in 2012? The early odds favor a SEC repeat, but there are some threats looming for a seventh consecutive title.
Arkansas has selected John L. Smith to replace Bobby Petrino for 2012.
If you were surprised at the announcement Weber State’s John L. Smith would be Arkansas’ head coach for 2012, you certainly weren’t alone. Many reports over the last two weeks linked a number of names, including UAB coach Garrick McGee, former Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer or expected Arkansas to pick an assistant on staff.
South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore ranks as the top back in the SEC for 2012.
The 2012 college football season is still months away, but it's never too early to preview. Athlon continues its countdown to the upcoming season and spring previews by ranking the running backs in each of the BCS conferences. The rankings take into account last season's production, what each player is expected to do in 2012 and the surrounding personnel.
Aaron Murray looks to lead Georgia to back-to-back East titles.
The 2012 college football season is still months away, but it's never too early to preview. Athlon continues its countdown to the upcoming season and spring previews by ranking the quarterbacks in each of the BCS conferences. The rankings take into account last season's production, what each player is expected to do in 2012 and the surrounding personnel.
With Petrino no longer at Arkansas, can the Razorbacks win the SEC?
After recording 21 wins over the last two seasons, Bobby Petrino had Arkansas on the brink of contending for the SEC West title in 2012. On Tuesday evening, all of that progress came to a halt, as Petrino was fired, ending his four-year stint in Fayetteville.
The future of Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino is uncertain. Although Petrino sports an impressive 34-17 record in four seasons with the Razorbacks, he could be in danger of losing his job, after lying to athletic director Jeff Long about the details of his motorcycle wreck last week.