Out­side the pocket

QB re­jects la­bel, says he can run a bit

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - TOM MUR­PHY

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.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE

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.”

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/J.T. WAM­PLER

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.”

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