NCAA FB

Hamilton, Gragg lead revamped Arkansas receivers

Share This Story

   
 

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP)

Cobi Hamilton looked around during Arkansas' first practice and noticed something was missing.

In this case, that something was the most productive receiving group in school history - former Razorbacks receivers Joe Adams, Greg Childs and Jarius Wright.

Finding playmakers to replace the departed trio, who accounted for 465 catches and 7,410 yards in their careers, is near the top of Arkansas' priority list during fall camp. It's a task that was made more difficult by the dismissal of former receiver Marquel Wade following his arrest for burglary in May.

Hamilton, who was often overlooked while serving as an apprentice of sorts the last three seasons, said it's a task he and the rest of the Razorbacks are up for.

''A lot of guys want to make plays and go out there and do it because they've been a hidden secret for a couple of years,'' Hamilton said. ''They've been behind great players, so everybody is excited to go out there and make plays and really just make a name for themselves.''

Arkansas led the Southeastern Conference last year in passing offense for the third straight season, finishing 11-2 and winning the Cotton Bowl over Kansas State. The passing attack was anchored by Adams, Childs and Wright, who gave quarterback Tyler Wilson plenty of options and combined for 141 catches and 2,009 yards.

All three were selected in the fourth round of April's NFL draft, leaving a gaping hole in production entering this season.

Luckily for Arkansas, it also enters the season with a host of experience at the position - most notably in Hamilton and tight end Chris Gragg, who combined for 75 catches for 1,060 yards last season. Gragg is the top returning receiver after a 41-catch effort last season, his first as the starter.

''We just have to step up and take their spots, even to another level,'' Gragg said. ''I think with the talent we have as pass catchers, both at receiver and tight end, we can be one of the best groups in the country. As long as we work hard in camp, I think we can fill their void and probably even be better.''

Wade was one of Arkansas' top options in the spring, catching six passes for 136 yards during the spring game. Even before his loss, however, the Razorbacks had begun to look at other options to help fill the receiving void.

One of those options was backup quarterback Brandon Mitchell, who was well known for his athleticism after seeing action with the Arkansas basketball team in the spring. The 6-foot-3, 232-pound junior and Wilson approached offensive coordinator Paul Petrino about splitting time between quarterback and receiver this summer, an idea Petrino embraced in an attempt to get Mitchell more playing time.

Arkansas coach John L. Smith likes Mitchell's size and said ''he's very, very capable mentally because he knows it all,'' from his time spent as a quarterback learning the playbook.

''It's very fun,'' Mitchell said. ''I get to see it from (the receivers) point of view. They're always talking sometimes about how their tired and I'm telling them to `push, push.' Now I see what they're talking about.''

In addition to Mitchell, the turnover at receiver has presented an opportunity for several other receivers who have waited their time. Juniors Javontee Herndon and Julian Horton top that list, though junior college transfer Demetrius Wilson is also expected to see plenty of action.

Horton said Adams, Childs and Wright are like his ''older brothers,'' and that he's spoken with them while preparing for the season this summer. He also said he learned how to have success in the SEC by watching them the last few seasons.

''We work harder than any other receiving corps in the country,'' Horton said. ''There won't be any dropoff. We're going to work hard and know we've got to step up.''

Arkansas finished ranked No. 5 last season, with its only losses coming to No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 LSU. To get past the Crimson Tide and Tigers in the SEC West, the Razorbacks know they must find a way to match last season's offensive output - when they led the conference in total offense (438.1 yards per game) and scoring (36.8).

''We have full confidence,'' Gragg said. ''We know the team is depending on us, the offense is especially counting on us to take over. We've been doing it for a couple of years. We know we had some guys who did a lot who are gone, but we're ready to step up.''

Tagged: Arkansas, Kansas, Cobi Hamilton, Brandon Mitchell, Tyler Wilson, Jarius Wright, Joe Adams, Greg Childs, Chris Gragg, Julian Horton

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash