JUCO DT enters portal after 1 season with Hogs
Arkansas defensive tackle Jalen Williams has entered the transfer portal, Rivals has learned.
The junior college transfer did not appear in a single game during his lone season with the Razorbacks. He is the seventh scholarship player to either officially enter the portal or announce his intention to do so since the Outback Bowl win last Saturday and the 15th overall since November.
Rated a 5.7 three-star prospect coming out of Jones C.C. in Mississippi, Williams figured to be a major contributor on the defensive line this season.
However, a back injury severely limited what he was able to do in spring ball as an early enrollee and then he never lived up to the coaching staff’s expectations when healthy.
“I have not seem him move yet like the tape we recruited him off of,” head coach Sam Pittman told reporters during spring ball. “We recruited him to come in and we thought he could help us, and I think he can, but right now his quick twitch, we’ve got to keep working on that and his ability to run.”
Not only did he never appear in a game for the Razorbacks, but Williams didn’t make the travel roster and also didn’t dress out for a lot of home games, indicating he was very far down the depth chart.
Arkansas has also lost two other defensive tackles buried on the depth chart to the portal, as freshman Solomon Wright and redshirt freshman Andy Boykin entered it following the regular season. It will have to replace John Ridgeway (NFL Draft) and Markell Utsey (out of eligibility), as well.
Luckily for the Razorbacks, they are set to return Isaiah Nichols and Taurean Carter, who played significant snaps at defensive tackle in 2021, as well as Eric Gregory, who can play tackle and end. Marcus Miller has played a handful of snaps during his career, plus the staff is really high on freshman Cameron Ball.
According to HawgBeat’s unofficial projections, Williams’ departure drops the Razorbacks to 80 scholarships for the upcoming season. That number does not include unsigned safety commit Myles Rowser or a pair of seniors who’ve yet to announce their plans for 2022 - linebacker Bumper Pool and offensive lineman Shane Clenin.
It’s also worth noting that Arkansas still has room for five more players - from the high school/junior college ranks or portal - in the 2022 class, assuming Rowser signs. If he doesn’t, that number goes up to six.