Diamond Hogs elect 4 captains for 2021
College Students, get a year of HawgBeat coverage for just $11.95. Request details via email from your school account (.edu) to email@example.com.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas has announced that four players have been elected as team captains for the 2021 baseball season.
Catcher Casey Opitz, center fielder Christian Franklin and pitchers Kevin Kopps and Zebulon Vermillion were chosen for the honor in a vote by their teammates.
It is the second straight year Opitz and Kopps will serve in that role, as they were also the Razorbacks’ lone two captains last season.
Both of them, as well as Vermillion, likely would not be back at Arkansas this season had it not been for last summer’s MLB Draft being shortened to five rounds and the NCAA granting eligibility relief for all players.
Opitz and Vermillion almost certainly would have been drafted in a normal year, but were able to return and remain as juniors with draft leverage, while it’s unknown if Kopps would have been back as a sixth-year junior.
Now in his third year with the Razorbacks, Franklin won’t be draft eligible until this summer and would have returned to school for this season regardless.
All four players are expected to play key roles on this year’s team, with Opitz and Franklin possible All-SEC candidates at their respective positions and the pitchers expected to be featured prominently on the pitching staff.
Vermillion was a closer for Arkansas last season, but is getting a look at starting games and could end up in the weekend rotation. Kopps could be a starter, as well, but is also capable of providing long relief innings or even closing games.
The Razorbacks will open the season with matchups against Texas Tech, Texas and TCU in the State Farm College Baseball Showdown at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The first game, against the Red Raiders, is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT on Feb. 19.