Transfer defensive tackle Jaxon Player from Tulsa Golden Hurricanes includes Arkansas Razorbacks in top 5
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Transfer DT includes Hogs in top 5

Tulsa DT Jaxon Player
Tulsa DT Jaxon Player (Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports)

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Tulsa transfer defensive tackle Jaxon Player included Arkansas in his top five schools released Tuesday afternoon.

The two-time All-AAC performer is also considering a quartet of Big 12 programs - Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU - for his final year of college football, as he’s taking advantage of the NCAA’s pandemic-related eligibility relief.

A native of Waco, Texas, Player was a 5.6 three-star recruit with no Power Five offers coming out of Midway High in the Class of 2018, but he’s evolved into one of the top available interior defensive linemen in the portal.

Over the last two seasons, Player has been a disruptive force in the middle of Tulsa’s defensive line. He’s racked up 86 tackles - including 23.5 for loss and 7 sacks - and 12 quarterback hurries in 22 games, earning first-team all-conference recognition last year and a second-team nod this year.

His advanced numbers are even better. According to Pro Football Focus, he’s generated 72 total pressures and made 51 total “stops” - tackles that constitute a loss for the offense - during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. That resulted in overall defensive grades of 74.0 and 87.3, respectively, while playing 500-plus snaps each year.

Listed at 6 foot, 294 pounds, Player also graded out well his first two years with the Golden Hurricane, when his position coach was current Arkansas defensive line coach Jermial Ashley. He posted a 74.8 grade on 163 snaps as a freshman in 2018 - including 20 snaps in Tulsa’s loss at Arkansas that season - and an 80.6 grade on 369 snaps as a sophomore in 2019.

The Razorbacks are likely in the market for another defensive tackle in the portal. They added a trio of defensive linemen last season, but defensive end Tre Williams and defensive end/tackle Markell Utsey were super seniors and are out of eligibility.

The third was defensive tackle John Ridgeway, who could technically return as a super senior in 2022, but all signs are currently pointing to him moving on to the NFL Draft, as he’s already accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

While it may be without those players, Arkansas does return Eric Gregory - who could play inside or outside, depending on the front - as well as backup defensive tackles Isaiah Nichols and Taurean Carter, who played a lot of snaps in 2021. The Razorbacks are also high on Cameron Ball, who redshirted this season.

So far, the Razorbacks have signed only two players from the portal this offseason, landing wide receiver Jadon Haselwood from Oklahoma and defensive end Landon Jackson from LSU. They still have room to sign up to five more this cycle.

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