2020 Arkansas Razorbacks Fall Camp Preview: Defensive End - Dorian Gerald, Mataio Soli, Zach Williams, Julius Coates
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2020 Arkansas Camp Preview: Defensive End

Dorian Gerald is back this season after suffering a season-ending injury in last year's first game.
Dorian Gerald is back this season after suffering a season-ending injury in last year's first game. (Nick Wenger)

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Arkansas is at a historic low point. Coming off back-to-back 2-10 seasons, the Razorbacks have a new head coach after firing Chad Morris just 22 games into his disastrous tenure in Fayetteville.

They replaced him with a familiar name, but one who hasn’t been a head coach since leading a junior college team in the early 1990s and hasn’t even been a coordinator at the FBS level. Sam Pittman does have a reputation as an excellent recruiter and developer of offensive linemen, giving the Arkansas fan base at least some hope that he’ll be able to stabilize the program.

As if that wasn’t already a big enough challenge, Pittman is dealing with unprecedented circumstances during his first offseason. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, he and his almost entirely new staff lost all of spring practice, as well as a chunk of offseason conditioning.

The team reconvened in Fayetteville in June to begin working out and has been doing walk-through practices with the coaching staff on the field for a couple of weeks. Despite uncertainty swirling about the season, which is scheduled to start Sept. 26, Arkansas is still scheduled to begin fall camp next Monday.

Between now and then, HawgBeat will preview each of the Razorbacks’ position groups, breaking down the returning players and additions, providing the top storylines, and projecting a depth chart ahead of this critical stretch.

Next up are the defensive ends…

The Roster

Returning players: Dorian Gerald (r-sr.), David Porter (r-jr.), Mataio Soli (so.), Zach Williams (so.), Eric Gregory (r-fr.), Morgan Hanna (r-fr. - walk-on)

Additions: Julius Coates (r-jr. - JUCO signee), Jashaud Stewart (fr. - 2020 signee), Blayne Toll (fr. - 2020 signee)

The Starters

It required a freak injury in the first game last season, but Arkansas will essentially have two returning starters at defensive end in 2020 after originally not expecting any back.

When the 2019 season started, one of the big storylines regarding the Razorbacks’ defensive ends was that there was a clear contrast in the position room with older and younger players. There were three seniors and four heralded freshmen who seemed to be in the best position to get playing time.

Two of those seniors - Gabe Richardson and Jamario Bell - have moved on because of graduation, but Dorian Gerald is back after redshirting. He started the final two games of 2018 and last year’s opener before suffering what was described as a “strained artery.”

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