football Edit

Arkansas loses punter to transfer portal

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George Caratan had two punts blocked in his three games with the Razorbacks.
George Caratan had two punts blocked in his three games with the Razorbacks. (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

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Punter George Caratan is the latest Arkansas player to enter the NCAA transfer portal, HawgBeat has learned.

Joining the Razorbacks as special teams coordinator Scott Fountain’s hand-picked punter, Caratan spent just one season in Fayetteville before deciding to move on.

Last year, he punted 16 times for an average of 45.4 yards, with four punts fair caught and four pinned inside the 20-yard line. He also had two punts blocked.

All of Caratan’s punts came in the first three games of the season, as he opened the 2020 campaign as Arkansas’ primary punter.

Against Auburn in the third game of the season, though, he had his second blocked punt - which was recovered for a touchdown - and, also serving as the team’s holder on kicks, he botched the hold on an extra point.

That failed extra point proved to be huge because the Razorbacks tried two-point conversions after their next two touchdowns and failed both times. They eventually lost 30-28.

Caratan never appeared in another game and appeared to be relegated to third string. Reid Bauer took over the primary punting duties with Sam Loy serving as the backup.

This spring, he battled with Bauer and Loy for the starting job, but seems to have been beaten out again. In the Red-White spring game, Caratan booted a 38-yard line drive punt and another 43-yard punt that didn’t have great hang time. Bauer and Loy each had much better attempts on their punts.

If he lands elsewhere, it will be his third school because he began his career at Michigan as a preferred walk-on. He spent two seasons with the Wolverines and never appeared in a game before entering the portal.

Because he was on scholarship with the Razorbacks, Caratan’s departure opens up another spot in Arkansas’ 85-man limit. According to HawgBeat’s unofficial scholarship distribution chart, the Razorbacks now have four open scholarships.

Although head coach Sam Pittman has indicated he’d be willing to bring in another transfer and count him toward the 2022 class, that would be just one of those spots. The other three scholarships would have to be used on walk-ons who’ve been in the program at least one year.