Hogs' Jones shines

El Dorado News-Times - - Sports - By Nate Allen Spe­cial to News-Times

FAYET­TEVILLE With se­nior main­stay re­ceiver Jared Cor­nelius’ ail­ing back omit­ting him from the 105 Ra­zor­backs cur­rently prac­tic­ing, op­por­tu­nity knocks big­ger than ever for a wide re­ceiv­ing core that last year re­lied al­most to­tally on Cor­nelius and four since grad­u­ated se­niors from 2016.

At least, one, Smack­over’s Jor­dan Jones who ap­pren­ticed last year as a red­shirt fresh­man, ap­par­ently an­swers op­por­tu­nity’s knock.

Arkansas of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dan Enos cited Jones af­ter Sat­ur­day’s prac­tice, the third of pre­sea­son and the first with shoul­der pads with an­other half­pads prac­tice set Mon­day be­fore Tues­day’s first prac­tice NCAA al­lowed for full pads.

“Jor­dan Jones has had three days,” Enos said. “I mean, I think he's had four touch­down catches on deep balls. He's re­ally flashed and shown speed and run by guys.”

Jones has op­er­ated both first team catch­ing passes from se­nior start­ing quar­ter­back Austin Allen and the sec­ond unit al­ter­nately quar­ter­backed by sopho­more Ty Storey of Charleston and red­shirt fresh­man Cole Kel­ley.

“He's been mostly with the ones though,” Enos said. “I think that Michael (Smith, the re­ceivers coach) has been try­ing to ro­tate them around so we get good guys that know what they're do­ing and can play fast, both with the ones and the twos so the quar­ter­backs all have equal op­por­tu­nity to play with guys who can play fast. But mostly Jor­dan's been with the ones. He's flashed and made some re­ally, re­ally ex­plo­sive plays.”

Allen con­curred, not­ing Jones’ ma­tu­rity gained from red­shirt­ing.

“I saw that guy who took that next ma­tu­rity step,” Allen said Sat­ur­day. “You can come

in as a fresh­man and you're still in that high school mode where things are pretty easy for you. Then you get to the SEC and it's kind of like, 'Oh, ev­ery­one can play.' He's a guy that has all the tal­ent in the world. It's re­ally just up to him how hard he works he can be as good as he wants to be. I think he has re­ally taken that step and learned the of­fense bet­ter through the spring and sum­mer. Right now he's a guy that I'm re­ally for­ward to in the fall.”

Enos said Jones’ speed ac­cel­er­ates be­cause now he knows where he’s go­ing.

“When you play fast is when you know what to do,” Enos said. “When he breaks the hud­dle, he knows where to line up. He's out there and he's lined up quickly. We've re­ally seen his speed in the first three days, and his abil­ity to run by peo­ple and re­ally push a sec­ondary.”

It’s what they saw him from him in high school so far con­vert­ing to col­lege dur­ing the first three days of drills.

“I’ve said since Jor­dan has been here the sky is the limit for him tal­ent wise,” Enos said. “He's one of the best I've ever been around as far as just the abil­ity to run, body type, the ball skills and all that. If he can match it with his de­sire and in­tel­li­gence, which he's shown us here in three days he's on track to do, I think we've got a spe­cial player.”

Jones was not the only re­ceiver that Enos cited.

“I think Deon Ste­wart has re­ally stepped up and as­serted him­self here very early, and T.J. Ham­monds,” Enos said. “And then we've got the young guys. And the young guys, they've all had dif­fer­ent times to im­press. Jar­rod Barnes, Koilan Jack­son has been very good. Gary Cross has looked very good. So … um, we've got a bunch of guys. Jonathan Nance, I didn't men­tion. Him and Bran­don Martin. both of those guys con­tinue to come too.”

Ste­wart is a third-year sopho­more who caught two passes last sea­son.

Nance and Martin are ju­nior col­lege trans­fers who en­rolled at the UA last Jan­uary and went through spring drills.

Fresh­men Barnes of Cabot and Jack­son of Pu­laski Robin­son and Fordyce’s Cross, a trans­fer from Hutchin­son (Kansas) Com­mu­nity Col­lege, are prac­tic­ing as Ra­zor­backs for the first time this pre­sea­son.

Ham­monds, a run­ning back last sea­son, also is prac­tic­ing at run­ning back be­hind starter Devwah Wha­ley along with true fresh­men Maleek Williams and Chase Hay­den and David Williams, the grad­u­ate trans­fer from the Univer­sity of South Carolina.

Wha­ley was last year’s backup, gain­ing 600 yards be­hind Rawleigh Williams, the 1,000-yard rusher forced to give up foot­ball af­ter his sec­ond ma­jor neck in­jury.

“Devwah's re­ally stepped up,” Enos said. “You know Devwah, hav­ing that year un­der his belt and ev­ery­thing, he knows what to do. He knows the pro­tec­tions. He knows where to go. And then I think the ad­di­tion of David Williams has been very good. You see a guy that has stepped in. He's ma­ture. He's very bright. He's very good in pass pro­tec­tion. He's good catch­ing the ball. He's very pa­tient as a run­ner. And Chase and Maleek both have been re­ally good. We've been mov­ing T.J. back there and he's' a nat­u­ral back there as well and very ex­plo­sive. I re­ally, re­ally like the group. As we know, more than one of them is go­ing to play. I think we've got some good op­tions.”

The Ra­zor­backs use Sun­days as their NCAA man­dated off day dur­ing pre­sea­son drills.


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