Outside the pocket
QB rejects label, says he can run a bit
The 13th in a series profiling newcomers to the Arkansas Razorbacks football team.
FAYETTEVILLE — Daulton Hyatt wants fans of the Arkansas Razorbacks to know the label of “pocket passer” that was tagged by his name as a four-star prospect isn’t one he fully endorses.
Hyatt, a 6-4, 192-pound freshman quarterback out of Attala (Ala.) Etowah High School, was ranked the No. 9 pocket passer and the No. 150 overall prospect in the 2017 signing class by ESPN.
“Everybody has me as pro style, but I don’t think anybody really gives me credit for my running ability,” Hyatt said. “Because I can drop back and play like a pro-style quarterback, but I can also tuck it and run with any other quarterback, in my opinion.”
Not that the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville offense is going to unleash quarterback runs a la the Mississippi State offense guided by Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald, but Hyatt’s solid wheels are a bonus for the Razorbacks.
Hyatt, who enrolled in January and went through spring practices, had an interesting high school career. After being tutored by three offensive coordinators and enduring some rugged seasons at Arab High School in northeastern Alabama, Hyatt transferred 42 miles away to Etowah.
He completed 121 of 184 passes there for 2,240 yards and 25 touchdowns while rushing for 419 yards and five touchdowns. He guided the Blue Devils to a 9-3 record and the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Hyatt also made a believer out of quarterbacks coach B.J. Brooks, who introduced snaps under center in Etowah’s multifunctional attack.
“He’s a great representative for your program, and he’s always going to do the right things,” Brooks said. “He’s a superhard worker, and he’s
as tough as nails. As tough as they come.”
Brooks recalled a game last season that preceded the Blue Devils’ big rivalry game against Guntersville. Brooks said he had told Hyatt not to take any chances, to slide and run out of bounds to stay healthy for the next week’s game.
“They had a blatant horse-collar call while he was scrambling, trying to get an extra yard instead of going out of bounds,” Brooks said in what became a 35-7 victory. “A kid horse-collared him, and I just knew his whole knee was blown out. I mean, it folded up like an accordion. He was screaming, hurting.”
Brooks said the knee checked out with no structural damage Saturday, but Hyatt did not practice Monday or Tuesday.
“Wednesday and Thursday, he tried to go,” Brooks said. “Even in the game on Friday he was limping around like a three-legged dog. But we beat them. He came out, gutsy as crap.
“I remember him rolling out one time on a half-roll pass and him tucking it and getting the yards he had to and getting the first down. He’s as tough as it gets.”
The Razorbacks have a senior starter in Austin Allen as well as Ty Storey and Cole Kelley in a virtual tie for the backup job, but Hyatt said he will not look at the upcoming season as a likely redshirt year.
“I don’t approach it as just a redshirt year,” he said. “I
think I’ll come in and just try to work my hardest and push whoever’s in front of me and try to move up if I can. That’s my goal is just to work as hard as I can and try to move up the depth chart.”
Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema discussed the scouting report on Hyatt after national signing day.
“Big arm, very tall, very athletic,” Bielema said. “A really, really magnetic kid. Really special. He had an injury his senior year and never missed a snap. And he always made his teammates better.”
Offensive coordinator Dan Enos said he really likes Hyatt’s skill set.
“I think Daulton Hyatt is a guy that’s got a really big ceiling,” Enos said. “He’s got great size, he’s got good arm strength, and he can really run.”
Hyatt, whose first name came as a nod to Patrick Swayze’s character in the movie Road House, said his best 40 time has been 4.62.
Allen, who kept an eye on Hyatt during spring drills, was impressed by the freshman, who turned 19 on April 7 during the first week of spring.
“Daulton has all the physical tools in the world,” Allen
said. “He’s 6-4, can run and just has an absolute rocket of an arm.
“Once the mental part comes where he learns the playbook better and does all those things, and practices taking snaps from under center and all that, the sky’s the limit for him really.”
Hyatt, who has planned vacations for the duck hunting available in Arkansas, said he fell in love with the school and campus during his visit.
“As soon as I got on campus, I was just amazed by it,” he said. “Being able to meet with coach Enos and Coach B and walk around and see the facilities. The facilities are top notch, best I’ve seen on any of my visits. Talking with coach Enos and seeing how he develops his quarterbacks and how he does his offense, I think it was a really good fit for me.”
Hyatt, who wore No. 11 in the spring, reported at Arkansas as a skinny 178-pounder.
He gained weight after spring drills and got to 192 pounds.
“I’m not built for the whole ‘running quarterback’ thing, but I like getting to run every now and then,” Hyatt said.
Arkansas freshman quarterback Daulton Hyatt passed for 2,240 yards and 25 touchdowns last season at Etowah High School in Attala, Ala. But he said it would be wrong to brand him as a “pocket passer.” “Because I can drop back and play like a pro-style quarterback,” he said, “but I can also tuck it and run with any other quarterback, in my opinion.”
Arkansas reserve quarterback Daulton Hyatt has impressed starter Austin Allen who said, “He’s 6-4, can run and just has an absolute rocket of an arm.”