Fayetteville, Ark - Though the Arkansas football team doesn’t take the field against Jacksonville State until September 1st, the Razorbacks have been garnering a ton of pre-season attention.
Senior quarterback Tyler Wilson is one of five SEC quarterbacks to be listed on the Manning Award watch list. The Greenwood, Ark native led the SEC last season in total passing yards with 3,638 yards. He also threw for 24 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. Wilson is only the 2nd quarterback in Arkansas history to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a single season. Wilson was also named to the Maxwell Award watch list, given to the nation’s most outstanding football player, and was named the first team quarterback on the pre-season All-SEC coaches team.
Junior running back Knile Davis was named to the pre-season first team All-SEC list, as well as the Maxwell Award watch list. The Missouri City, Texas native was sidelined with an ankle injury all of last season, but was still projected to be a second round NFL draft pick had he decided not to return to Arkansas.
Senior wide receiver Cobi Hamilton joins Wilson and Davis on the pre-season All-SEC first team, as well as the Maxwell Award watch list. Hamilton will be looked upon to be Arkansas’ go to receiver this year with Jarius Wright, Gregg Childs, and Joe Adams all leaving for the NFL draft after last season. Hamilton finished last year with 34 receptions for 542 yards and four touchdowns. Most recently, Hamilton was also named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list, an award given to the nation’s top wide reciever.
Dennis Johnson rounds out the list of players on the pre-season All-SEC first team. Johnson was named to the team as a kick return specialist. Johnson averaged 126 per game in all purpose yards last season.
Senior tight end Chris Gragg will be counted to on to take some pressure off of Cobi Hamilton this season, as he returns as the leading Razorback receiver from a year ago with a career high 41 pass receptions. Gragg was named to the pre-season all-SEC second team, and was also named to the Mackey Award watch list early this week.
Junior offensive linemen Alvin Bailey and Travis Swanson have both started all 26 games of their Razorback careers, and their hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Bailey and Swanson were named to the Outland Trophy watch list, given to the nation’s top interior offensive lineman. Swanson was also named to the Rimington Award watch list, awarded to the nation’s top center, and was named to the pre-season All-SEC third team. Bailey was named to the pre-season All-SEC second team and was recently named to the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list, given to the college lineman of the year.
Junior linebacker Alonzo Highsmith was named to the Butkus Award watch list, an award named after Dick Butkus, and is given to the nation’s top defensive player. Highsmith was also named to the pre-season all SEC second team. He started all 13 games last season for the Razorbacks, recording 80 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 12.5 tackles for loss on the season, good enough for 10th in the SEC.
On the special teams side of the ball, both of Arkansas’ starting kickers from a year ago have been recognized. Senior punter Dylan Breeding and junior place kicker Zach Hocker have each earned pre-season honors. Breeding and Hocker were both named to the pre-season All-SEC third team. Breeding was also named to the Ray Guy Award watch list which is given to the nation’s top punter. Hocker was named to the Lou Groza Award watch list, which is given to the nation’s top place kicker.