Arkansas Razorbacks defensive end Julius Coates enters NCAA transfer portal
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Key Arkansas defender enters NCAA transfer portal

Julius Coates was expected to be a key pass rusher for the Razorbacks in 2021.
Julius Coates was expected to be a key pass rusher for the Razorbacks in 2021. (Arkansas Athletics)

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FAYETTEVILLE — Julius Coates has entered the NCAA transfer portal, he announced Friday afternoon.

His decision comes just a month after the defensive end indicated he would return to the Razorbacks after missing time for non-injury reasons late in the 2020 season.

“I have officially entered the Transfer Portal!” Coates tweeted, along with a highlight reel from his lone season at Arkansas. “Thank you to The University of Arkansas for blessing me with the opportunity to represent their program!”

A junior college transfer out of East Mississippi C.C., Coates was a three-star prospect who committed to Arkansas over Nebraska, Oregon and several other programs.

At 6-foot-6, 289 pounds, he was expected to be an immediate contributor for the Razorbacks and actually started the season opener against Georgia.

That was one of three starts in seven appearances during the 2020 season for Coates, who finished with 18 tackles, including three for loss and two sacks, while also notching two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

Coates seemed to get better as the season progressed, with his best performance coming against Missouri. In addition to a 13-yard sack against the Tigers, he also had two hurries and a quarterback hit, according to Pro Football Focus. That helped him earn a solid 72.5 grade.

Unfortunately, he never got an opportunity to build off of that showing. Coates missed the Alabama game for non-injury reasons and head coach Sam Pittman announced he wouldn’t be with the team for the Texas Bowl against TCU, which was canceled because of COVID-19.

However, Coates had posted on Twitter that he planned to return to the team this season back in January.

One of the biggest areas Pittman has been vocal about addressing this offseason is pass rushing. With a 66.2 overall grade and 73.8 pass-rushing grade from PFF, Coates was the Razorbacks’ top defensive end when it came to getting after the opposing quarterback.

Like many JUCO players, he was expected by many to make a big jump in his second year at Arkansas. Instead, the Razorbacks will rely on returners Dorian Gerald, Mataio Soli, Zach Williams, Eric Gregory and several other young defensive ends.

Coates is just the fifth non-senior who has decided to leave Arkansas via the transfer portal over the last few months. Running back A’Montae Spivey did so during the season, while wide receiver Shamar Nash, cornerback Jarques McClellion and safety Myles Mason waited until the offseason.

Nash and McClellion had opted out of the 2020 season and Spivey was not getting much playing time, so their decisions were not too surprising. Coates and Mason, though, were key parts to Arkansas’ defense last season, playing 276 and 312 defensive snaps, respectively.

For a complete look at Arkansas’ projected scholarship distribution for the 2021 season, click here.