Sully Says: Homegrown Hogs are key this season

Austin Allen (KATV Photo)

There were no big surprises on the Hogs' depth chart for the season opener.

My big takeaway: there were 23 homegrown Hogs on the list.

I like to think that it's extra special for these former Arkansas high school stars to put on that Razorback jersey. I know that Austin Allen agrees with me.

The Hogs' senior quarterback learned at an early age that it's special to play for the hometown Hogs. He knows how much Razorback football means to this state. Austin has talked about the responsibility that goes with being Arkansas' quarterback. I don't think the Hogs could have a better guy leading them than number eight.

Jacksonville's Kevin Richardson had all the qualities Coach Bielema looks for in a walk-on. K Rich was undersized, under-recruited and underdeveloped coming out of high school. This season, Richardson is one of the Hogs' defensive captains.

Former Greenwood star, Grant Morgan, and Johnny Gibson from Dumas are also successful walk-on stories.

Coach B has also had success with rewarding homegrown Hogs with the final scholarships. Dollarway's Josh Liddell, Hayden Henry from Pulaski Academy, Ty Clary from Fayetteville and Dylan Hayes from Little Rock Christian, were all signed late in the process. Odds are there were out of state players with equal or better measurables, but these players had the " Arkansas" edge. All four Hogs have made the coach look good.

The noseguard position is Arkansas strong: Bijhon Jackson from Camden Fairview, Star City's Austin Capps and Hayes from Little Rock Christian will rotate at that spot. These three will set the tone for this defense.

Linebacker was a major area of concern last season, having former Fayetteville star Dre Greenlaw back could be huge.You could argue that the most significant Hog outside of Austin Allen is Sosa Agim. The sophomore from Hope is expected to make a major jump this season. He's hoping to be a force on that new look 3-4 defense.

Coach B has gone all in on Arkies at the receiver spots.

Three of the four tight ends on the depth chart are former Arkansas high school stars. Cheyenne O'Grady from Fayetteville, Will Gragg played for Dumas and Jack Krauss suited up for Bentonville.

There are five homegrown wide receivers on the two deep. La' Michael Pettway from Nashville, Robinson's TJ Hammonds, Smackover's Jordan Jones, Deon Stewart from Highland and Koilan Jackson of Robinson were all highly recruited wide outs.

One of the more interesting home state recruiting stories. Following his sophomore season, Colton Jackson of Conway was offered a scholarship by Coach Bielema. At that time, Jackson was a backup offensive tackle for the Wampus Cats. Thursday, Colton will start on the offensive line for the Hogs. I don't know Jackson gets that offer if he isn't playing for an Arkansas school.

There are homegrown Hogs at just about every position on this 2017 team. Let's hope that " Arkansas " edge pushes them to do big things this season.

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