Looking back at Arkansas' transfers under Pittman, including '22 haul
Here is a closer look at the transfers Arkansas has signed this offseason, as well as those in the previous two classes under head coach Sam Pittman, who has used the portal to help him rebuild the Arkansas football program...
*brought in as a walk-on
*Jacob Bates - K - Texas State
It wasn't until the UA released jersey numbers of its early enrollees that most found out Bates had transferred back to Arkansas as a walk-on. Originally a soccer player at Central Arkansas, he decided to give football a try after two seasons with the Bears. The Razorbacks were actually his first stop, but Bates ultimately ended up at Texas State, where he was the kickoff specialist for the last two years. He booted 52 of his 92 kickoffs for touchbacks.
Although there's no question that Cam Little is Arkansas' starting placekicker, there is a void to fill on kickoffs because of the departure of touchback machine Vito Calvaruso. Little handled those duties in the Outback Bowl and did well, but the Razorbacks have also brought in Bates and preferred walk-on freshman Blake Ford to compete for the job in 2022. Bates, unlike Ford, went through spring ball.
Latavious Brini - DB - Georgia
The last scholarship transfer Arkansas signed in time to enroll early and go through spring practices, Brini comes to Fayetteville fresh off winning a national championship at Georgia. After playing sparingly his first four years with the Bulldogs, he broke into the starting lineup as a fifth-year senior and started 11 games at nickel for one of the greatest defenses in college football history. Although he was replaced late in the season, Brini notched eight pass breakups and earned an impressive 81.1 Pro Football Focus grade on 515 defensive snaps.
Rather than return to Georgia, Brini opted to pursue other opportunities for his extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA in response to the pandemic. He ultimately picked Arkansas over Texas and others. With the Razorbacks, Brini could replace Greg Brooks Jr. at nickel back or potentially play somewhere else in the secondary.
Jordan Domineck - DE - Georgia Tech
A lightly recruited low three-star prospect coming out of high school, Domineck redshirted his first year in college and gradually asserted himself as a starter for the Yellow Jackets. After earning a solid 77.8 Pro Football Focus grade as a part-time starter in 2020, he was essentially a full-time starter as a redshirt junior. He finished the year with 38 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 4 quarterback hurries, 3 forced fumbles and a 70-yard fumble return.
Wanting to pursue a degree in physical therapy, Domineck opted to transfer elsewhere for his remaining eligibility. After entering the portal, he generated quite a bit of interest, receiving more than 20 total offers, including from multiple Power Five programs. The Razorbacks were first to extend an offer and first to get an official visit, helping them land his services. He won't arrive until the summer, but once he's in Fayetteville, Domineck will likely compete for immediate playing time on the defensive line.
*Cade Fortin - QB - South Florida
The decision not to sign a high school quarterback in 2022 seemingly backfired on Arkansas when Kade Renfro went down with a torn ACL during bowl practices and Malik Hornsby entered the portal. Even when Hornsby withdrew and returned to the team, there was still a depth concern at quarterback and the Razorbacks addressed it by bringing in Fortin as a walk-on, similar to what they did with Renfro a year earlier. His addition loomed even larger when Lucas Coley entered the portal midway through spring ball.
Fortin comes to Fayetteville with four career starts - all against Power Five opponents - under his belt. He made a pair of starts as a true freshman at North Carolina in 2018 and also started the first two games of the 2021 season at South Florida. During his career, Fortin has completed 61 of 121 passes for 610 yards, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions, plus has two scores on the ground. According to Pro Football Focus, he's played 281 career snaps.
Terry Hampton - DT - Arkansas State
A low three-star recruit coming out of El Dorado, Hampton chose to stay close to home by signing with Arkansas State. He found his way on the field as a true freshman and saw his playing time increase as a sophomore before a breakthrough junior campaign in 2020. That year, he finished with 35 tackles, 6 tackles for loss and two sacks, earning a 67.8 PFF grade on 595 snaps.
Considered a potential all-conference player before last season, Hampton got off to a solid start - posting a 66.9 PFF grade on 310 snaps - before suffering a season-ending injury in the sixth game. With an extra year of eligibility, he decided to enter the portal and Arkansas quickly identified him as a major target because of its need for defensive tackles. Less than a week after announcing an offer from the Razorbacks, he committed during an official visit to Fayetteville.
Jadon Haselwood - WR - Oklahoma
The No. 1 wide receiver prospect in the 2019 class, Haselwood signed with Oklahoma over the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State and others. Over the last three seasons, he caught 62 passes for 736 yards and seven touchdowns, with six of those scores coming this season. It's also worth noting that he was severely limited by injury in 2020.
Haselwood was part of the mass exodus from Norman, Okla., following the departure of Lincoln Riley. Arkansas emerged as a potential landing spot, despite not having a long history of landing 5-star recruits, because his high school coach was current Arkansas running backs coach Jimmy Smith. The Razorbacks are hopeful he can help fill the void created by Treylon Burks entering the NFL Draft.
Landon Jackson - DE - LSU
Arkansas was firmly in the mix for Jackson when he was coming out of Pleasant Grove High in Texarkana, Texas, as he took multiple unofficial visits to Fayetteville. In the end, though, the one-time Rivals100 prospect signed with LSU. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn ACL after appearing in only five games - on special teams only - as a freshman.
With the coaching change, Jackson entered the portal and rather quickly landed at Arkansas, signing in December. Needing pass rushers to replace Tre Williams, the Razorbacks are hopeful he can live up to the potential that made him one of the highest rated recruits in his class before a severe injury hindered his senior year of high school.
Dwight McGlothern - CB - LSU
Coming out of Klein Oak High in the Houston area, McGlothern actually considered the Razorbacks and even used an official visit to come to Fayetteville. His decision ultimately came down to USC, Oregon and LSU, with the Tigers winning out with a late push. McGlothern played some as a true freshman before starting six games as a sophomore in 2021.
Like Jackson, he entered the portal after the coaching change. Following another official visit to Fayetteville, this time with the current coaching staff, McGlothern decided he'd finish his career at Arkansas, where he could help replace Montaric Brown.
Drew Sanders - LB - Alabama
One of the top overall players in the Class of 2020, Sanders likely could have gone anywhere he wanted. He eventually picked Alabama over the likes of Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, USC and many others. After playing some as a true freshman, Sanders started three of the first five games of 2021 before being sidelined by an injury.
With his backup, freshman Dallas Turner, playing well in his place, Sanders decided to enter the portal and visited Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. This time around, he picked the Razorbacks, who were looking for linebacker help to go along with the return of Bumper Pool.
Ty’Kieast Crawford - OL - Charlotte
Back when he was a four-star recruit coming out of Texas, Crawford actually committed to Arkansas, but jumped ship during the 2-10 campaign. The likes of LSU and Texas A&M were after him until grades forced him to sign with a JUCO. However, he ended up qualifying and was a late addition to Charlotte’s 2020 class. Crawford started a handful of games at right tackle as a true freshman for the 49ers before entering the portal and landing at the school he originally committed to. In his first season with the Razorbacks, he was a backup and split his time between tackle and guard.
Trent Gordon - DB - Penn State
A former four-star recruit from Texas, Gordon did not play much during his two seasons at Penn State before entering the portal. The Razorbacks brought him in and expected him to contribute in their secondary, but an injury hindered him for about half the season. He ended up playing only a handful of snaps on defense, despite being listed as the backup nickel most of the year, and has contributed on special teams since getting healthy.
*Kade Renfro - QB - Ole Miss
Renfro originally signed with Ole Miss as a 5.5 three-star pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2020. In his lone season with the Rebels, though, he was converted to wide receiver and decided to leave at the end of the year. He landed at Arkansas as a walk-on, giving him the opportunity to play for offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, who recruited him while he was in high school.
Although he looked good in limited practice viewing periods for the media, Renfro did not make the travel squad in his first season with the Razorbacks. There's a chance he'll miss at least part of the 2022 season because he suffered a torn ACL during bowl practices.
John Ridgeway - DT - Illinois State
Grades likely prevented Ridgeway from signing with an FBS program out of high school, so he landed at Illinois State just down the road from his hometown. He was very productive for three seasons before entering the portal, where he got a lot of attention. The Razorbacks beat out multiple Power Five programs for his services and he’s been a mainstay on their defensive line this year.
It may not show up in traditional statistics, but Ridgeway has been solid in the middle of Arkansas’ 3-man front and has received attention from NFL scouts, even getting an invite to the Senior Bowl. He could have returned for a "super senior" season in 2022, but has instead declared for the NFL Draft.
*Warren Thompson - WR - Florida State
Originally brought in as a walk-on like Renfro, Thompson earned a scholarship from the Razorbacks with a strong performance in fall camp. It’s not surprising considering his credentials, as he was a four-star prospect who signed with Florida State. Even though he wasn’t super productive during his time with the Seminoles, Thompson played for Briles one year and that connection helped him land at Arkansas. He struggled with drops at times, but did catch 19 passes for 304 yards and two touchdowns this year. With Treylon Burks leaving, he’ll likely be asked to step into a bigger role in 2022.
Markell Utsey - DL - Missouri
A two-star recruit coming out of Little Rock Parkview in the Class of 2016, Utsey was not recruited by his home state Razorbacks. Instead, he signed with Missouri and was a steady contributor for the Tigers before becoming a starter as a fifth-year senior in 2020. Granted an extra year of eligibility, Utsey opted to pursue other opportunities and returned home to Arkansas, which was looking for defensive line help. Bouncing back and forth between defensive tackle and defensive end, he played significant reps for the Razorbacks this year.
Tre Williams - DE - Missouri
Even after landing Ridgeway and Utsey, the Razorbacks were still looking for defensive linemen - specifically a pass rusher. They found their man in Williams, who had shown glimpses of his four-star talent during a five-year tenure at Missouri. He had actually briefly committed to Houston, but reentered the portal and Arkansas grabbed him the second time around. Much like Utsey, it probably helped that their former head coach, Barry Odom, was now the Razorbacks’ defensive coordinator.
Williams was dominant in some games, most notably against Texas A&M, and finished the season with six sacks and, according to Pro Football Focus, a team-high 36 total pressures. He did not play in the Outback Bowl, opting out a few hours after a DWI arrest.
George Caratan - P - Michigan
In his first season as Arkansas’ special teams coordinator, Scott Fountain zeroed in on Caratan, who hadn’t seen the field during his two seasons at Michigan. He won the starting job out of camp and showcased a strong leg, but had two punts blocked and botched the hold on a PAT within the first three weeks of the season. That led to him being replaced by Reid Bauer and Sam Loy, which ultimately prompted him to enter the portal again and transfer to a JUCO. He has since signed with UMass.
Jaquayln Crawford - WR - Oklahoma
Required to sit out the 2020 season because of old NCAA transfer rules, Crawford figured to be part of the wide receiver rotation this year and was listed as a second-teamer early on, but he didn’t play much and was eventually replaced by true freshman Bryce Stephens on the travel squad late in the year. He caught just 3 passes for 27 yards this season. Before coming to Arkansas, Crawford was a four-star recruit who signed with Oklahoma. He entered the portal after he failed to crack the depth chart with the Sooners and was asked to convert to defensive back.
Levi Draper - LB - Oklahoma
A former Rivals250 recruit, Draper signed with his home state Sooners in the Class of 2017. However, he mostly played only special teams during three seasons at Oklahoma. Coming to Arkansas with two years of eligibility, there was hope that he’d bolster a thin linebacker room. Unfortunately, he needed shoulder surgery that ended his 2020 campaign and those injuries eventually led to him retiring from the team this fall.
Feleipe Franks - QB - Florida
Having lost his starting job to Kyle Trask, a Heisman Trophy finalist, after suffering a severe injury during the 2019 season, Franks looked elsewhere to finish his college career. The former 6.0 four-star recruit found the perfect place in Arkansas, which had experienced unprecedented instability at quarterback the previous two years. The result was Franks shattering a 41-year-old school record for completion percentage in a single season (68.5%). He also threw for 2,017 yards and 17 touchdowns with only four interceptions in nine games.
Jerry Jacobs - CB - Arkansas State
One of the rare instances of someone transferring from the northeast corner of the state to the northwest corner, Jacobs had a productive two-year stint at Arkansas State before a torn ACL sidelined him. The Razorbacks signed him out of the portal to compete for a starting role somewhere in the secondary and he eventually landed a starting job at cornerback. Unfortunately for him, he got hurt early in the season and his backup - walk-on Hudson Clark - capitalized with a three-interception game against Ole Miss.
When it became evident that Clark would remain in the starting lineup, Jacobs opted out. Although he went undrafted, Jacobs signed with the Lions and actually started nine games as a rookie before going down with an injury.
Xavier Kelly - DT - Clemson
A top-150 prospect in the Class of 2016, Kelly signed with Clemson, but found himself buried behind multiple first-round picks on the Tigers defensive line. He played sparingly over four years before deciding to transfer out. Looking for defensive linemen, Arkansas zeroed in on him and closed out its 2020 signing class by landing him from the portal. Although he never started for the Razorbacks, he was a backup who played extensively.
A.J. Reed - K - Duke
One of the first orders of business for Fountain was finding a replacement for Connor Limpert, the most accurate field goal kicker in UA history. He found his man in Reed, who was coming off a breakout season at Duke in which he made 15 of 18 field goals and all 34 PATs. In his lone season with the Razorbacks, Reed was 7 of 11 on field goals - with a long of 48 yards - and 27 of 29 on PATs.