HawgBeat - Julius Coates already proving to be massive addition to Arkansas DL
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Julius Coates already proving to be massive addition to Arkansas DL

JUCO defensive end newcomer Julius Coates.
JUCO defensive end newcomer Julius Coates. (Arkansas Athletics)

"Julius Coates, that kid is an animal."

New bookend defensive line addition Julius Coates is already receiving high praise from Sam Pittman, staff and teammates just a week into Razorback fall camp. The former JUCO athlete has only played defensive end for a couple seasons above the high school level but he's quickly moved into the Hogs' first group.

At 6-foot-7, 289 pounds, he's easily one of the most recognizable players on the field. He's put on almost 20 pounds since finishing up his JUCO season at East Mississippi Community College in Scuba, Mississippi, but he hasn't lost the athleticism and bend he's had since his tight end days.

The Razorbacks lost several veteran defensive ends in 2019 like Gabe Richardson and Jamario Bell, so despite returning a starter in Mataio Soli and contributors like Zach Williams and Eric Gregory, Coates' addition was crucial.

The Illinois native is creating a reputation amongst his teammates, especially those who have to face him in practice.

"I go against Julius just about every day at practice," said returning starting left tackle Myron Cunningham after fall camp day four. "He's very twitchy, and for how big he is, he's got a lot of speed and he's very athletic on the edge."

Coates began his junior college career at Ellsworth College in Iowa Falls but after a season at tight end with just eight catches for 62 yards, he began considering his future on the defensive side of the ball.

He transferred to EMCC and put up 30 tackles, six sacks, nine tackles for loss and two forced fumbles with two scoop and scores.

Coates picked up offers from Colorado, New Mexico, ULL and Western Kentucky during the season, and committed to Colorado in October, but as signing day got closer, the big dogs came calling. After getting offers from Oregon, Arkansas, Nebraska and more, he had to reconsider his options.

He committed to brand new head coach Sam Pittman, sight unseen, and signed early so he could enroll for the spring semester. With very little mature depth on the defensive line at Arkansas, the choice was a no-brainer for Coates.

Coates will be playing opposite senior Dorian Gerald and the two will be active all game long, flipping sides and rushing the quarterback in Barry Odom's multiple defense–trying to create pressure and chaos for opponents.

"He's huge, he's fast, he's strong, quick-twitchy," Gerald said of Coates. "He has everything."

Arkansas was 96th in the nation in 2019 in sacks but they're hoping for a lot more in 2020, led by Coates and the defensive line..