Early assessment of Arkansas Razorbacks' 2020 true freshmen - Defense
football Edit

Early assessment of Arkansas' true freshmen - Defense

Blayne Toll is back on defense after a short stint as a tight end.
Blayne Toll is back on defense after a short stint as a tight end. (Arkansas Athletics)

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Despite an offseason full of uncertainty, fall camp is in full swing at Arkansas.

The Razorbacks were in helmets only Monday and Wednesday, but took the field Friday in shoulder pads, allowing more contact at practice.

There were no media availabilities - practice viewing periods or post-practice interviews - after Friday’s practice. In the past week, though, head coach Sam Pittman has had two interviews, plus the media has talked to the coordinators - Kendal Briles and Barry Odom - before camp and players Rakeem Boyd, Bumper Pool, Mike Woods and Montaric Brown after practices.

Those conversations have given us a glimpse into how things are going in Fayetteville so far. Here is an update on Arkansas’ true freshmen on defense based on comments by their coaches and teammates…

(Click here for the update on the offensive true freshmen.)

Defensive line - Andy Boykin, Jashaud Stewart, Blayne Toll

When asked after Monday’s practice if any true freshmen were already standing out, the first group of players Pittman mentioned were the defensive linemen.

“I like the young D-linemen with Boykin, Toll and Stewart,” Pittman said. “I think they're going to be good players for us eventually, down the road.”

Among those three, Blayne Toll has had the most interesting career despite having never suited up in full pads with the Razorbacks. An early enrollee from Hazen, he signed as a defensive end.

However, with a lack of depth at tight end, he moved to the other side of the ball during the summer and was part of those virtual meetings. Once Arkansas learned that fellow 2020 signee Jaqualin McGhee wasn’t going to make it to campus, Toll moved back to defensive end.

Odom said switching back and forth like that speaks volumes about the type of person he is and how much he cares about Arkansas, as he wanted to do whatever was best for the team. The defensive coordinator also said he has some natural skills at his current position.


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