Arkansas Razorbacks getting 1 more year from T.J. Hammonds
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Arkansas getting 1 more year from Hammonds

T.J. Hammonds will return to Arkansas for a sixth season in 2021.
T.J. Hammonds will return to Arkansas for a sixth season in 2021. (Arkansas Athletics)

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A sixth Arkansas senior has announced he’ll return to school for another season.

With a post on Instagram, running back T.J. Hammonds became the third to make his decision to play for the Razorbacks again in 2021 known Monday, following wide receiver De’Vion Warren and tight end Blake Kern.

Linebacker Grant Morgan and offensive linemen Myron Cunningham and Ty Clary had made similar announcements over the previous three days.

“After talking to my family and the man up top,” Hammonds wrote, “I feel it’s best if I return for another year.”

Coming out of Joe T. Robinson in Little Rock, Hammonds was a highly touted recruit. Checking in at No. 250 in the Rivals250, he was a 5.8 four-star athlete in the Class of 2016 who had offers from Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma State and several other Power Five programs.

Instead of leaving the state, Hammonds decided to stay home and play for the Razorbacks. Bouncing back and forth between running back and wide receiver, he struggled to stay on the field under three different coaching staffs, but showcased his explosiveness when given the opportunity.

As a true freshman, Hammonds scored on a 5-yard run in his first career game against Alcorn State at War Memorial Stadium. That would prove to be his shortest touchdown in an Arkansas uniform.

The following year, he played a key role in the Razorbacks’ largest comeback in school history. He ran for 84 yards on 11 carries as they rallied from a 24-point deficit to beat Ole Miss. A week later, Hammonds was vital in Arkansas avoiding an embarrassing loss to Coastal Carolina, as he ran for 119 yards - including an 88-yard touchdown - and had a 60-yard touchdown reception.

In 2018, Hammonds took advantage of the NCAA’s four-game redshirt rule after appearing in four of the first five games of the season - during which he scored on a 64-yard reception against Colorado State. That led to speculation that he might transfer, but he stuck around and was lightly used again in 2019.

Under new head coach Sam Pittman and offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, Hammonds began 2020 at wide receiver, but struggled early on when used on reverses. With Rakeem Boyd out because of COVID-19 - and his subsequent decision to opt out - Hammonds was moved back to running back.

Despite playing only three snaps against LSU, he caught a 51-yard pass and had a 29-yard run. The next week against Missouri, he ran for 52 yards on only six carries, and then he finished with 25 yards on five carries against Alabama.

For his career, Hammonds has 544 yards and two touchdowns on only 79 carries. His career 6.9-yard average would rank second only to Felix Jones’ 7.7 in UA history if he had enough touches to qualify. He’s also caught 13 passes for 221 yards and two scores, for an average of 17.0 yards per reception.

Although he was a fifth-year senior this season, Hammonds is able to return to school for a sixth season because of a rule change by the NCAA. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, all football players have been granted an extra year of eligibility, regardless of how much they played this season.