Analyzing Arkansas' Week 1 depth chart

Scottie Bordelon's Twitter account
Published August 28, 2023 at 11:59 a.m. - Updated: August 28, 2023 at 2:16 p.m.
FAYETTEVILLE — Between the offense and defense, there are multiple positions without a definite starter listed on Arkansas’ opening-week depth chart that was released Monday.
At some positions, like tight end, the word ‘OR’ indicates depth and a handful of players who could see the field Saturday against Western Carolina. At others, like left tackle and safety, 'OR' stands for an ongoing position battle and a bit of uncertainty.
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman explained in some detail Monday afternoon the latest with his personnel.
“They’re ‘ORs’ because, in all honesty, we really don’t know who’s going to run out with the [starters],” Pittman said. “If they’re an ‘OR,’ we know they’re going to play a lot of ball for us. But, in all honesty, we haven’t decided who’s going to run out there.
“Now, we’ve decided what positions and all that, but there’s a few of them that either by injury — are they going to be back in time for Saturday’s game? — [or] maybe it is with moving some kids.”
Perhaps the most notable ‘OR’ on the depth chart sits between safeties Jayden Johnson and Hudson Clark. Clark, the former walk-on earned All-SEC first-team recognition from USA Today after the 2022 season, and Johnson came on strong in fall camp, making up ground following a tough sophomore year.
More from WholeHogSports: Arkansas moves season opener in Little Rock to noon kickoff | Pittman talks mock game, captains, Western Carolina and more
“He has done a fantastic job from last year to now,” Pittman said of Johnson last week on his radio show.
At left tackle, an ‘OR’ is placed between Devon Manuel and Andrew Chamblee. Pittman said the Razorbacks “haven’t gotten him quite back yet full speed” in reference to Manuel, who has dealt with a couple of injuries this preseason.
Pittman added that Chamblee, who is from Maumelle, has earned the right to start if Manuel isn’t back by around midweek. If Manuel returns Monday, coaches will determine the starter based on who plays better in practice over the next few days.
Chris “Pooh” Paul and Cincinnati transfer Jaheim Thomas have an ‘OR’ between them at one of the linebacker spots. Paul suffered a slight MCL injury this preseason, but Pittman expects him — as well as Thomas and Jordan Crook — to play a healthy number of snaps in the opener.
“In all honesty, it could be Thomas and Pooh [with the first team],” Pittman said. “I just don’t know for sure who we’ll run out there first.”
Additionally, at linebacker, South Florida transfer Antonio Grier is not listed on the depth chart. He has been battling a quad injury and Pittman is unsure if he will be ready to play Saturday.
Pittman added that Grier returned to practice last Saturday and was involved in some 7-on-7 work.
Two ‘ORs’ are listed at tight end between returnees Nathan Bax and Ty Washington, and North Texas transfer Var’keyes Gumms. Freshman Luke Hasz is listed as the starter and Louisville transfer Francis Sherman is the No. 2 option.
Hasz, Pittman noted, was the most consistent in terms of running, catching and blocking in the preseason. He expects several names to get playing time.
“I think right now at least four of them will play significant minutes,” Pittman said. “Hasz, he’s probably No. 1 on that list, and then the other guys are really good players. They excel in different things.”
At one wide receiver spot, Isaiah Sategna or Jaedon Wilson are expected to start. Sategna is also listed as the top option at punt return and kickoff return.
Wilson has been battling a shoulder injury that he suffered last week. Pittman said Monday he is confident Wilson will play this weekend.
Here is a look at the Razorbacks’ Week 1 depth chart:
Offense
QB: KJ Jefferson / Jacolby Criswell
RB: Raheim Sanders / AJ Green / Rashod Dubinion / Dominique Johnson
TE: Luke Hasz / Francis Sherman / Nathan Bax OR Var’keyes Gumms OR Ty Washington
WR: Isaac TeSlaa / Davion Dozier / Dazmin James
WR: Andrew Armstrong / Tyrone Broden
WR: Isaiah Sategna OR Bryce Stephens
LT: Andrew Chamblee OR Devon Manuel
LG: Brady Latham / Josh Street
C: Beaux Limmer / Amaury Wiggins
RG: Joshua Braun / Ty’Kieast Crawford
RT: Patrick Kutas / E’Marion Harris
Defense
DE: Landon Jackson / John Morgan / Jashaud Stewart
DT: Taurean Carter / Keivie Rose
DT: Eric Gregory / Cam Ball / Anthony Booker
DE: Trajan Jeffcoat / Zach Williams
LB: Chris Paul OR Jaheim Thomas / Brooks Both
LB: Jordan Crook / Brad Spence
CB: Dwight McGlothern / LaDarrius Bishop OR Kee’yon Stewart
CB: Jaheim Singletary / Jaylon Braxton OR Kee’yon Stewart
S: Al Walcott / Malik Chavis
S: Hudson Clark OR Jayden Johnson
Nickel: Lorando Johnson / TJ Metcalf / Jaylen Lewis
Special teams
Kicker/Kickoff: Cam Little / Blake Ford
Punter: Max Fletcher / Devin Bale
Long snapper: Eli Stein / Ashton Ngo
Holder: Max Fletcher / Devin Bale
Kickoff return: Isaiah Sategna / AJ Green
Punt return: Isaiah Sategna / Bryce Stephens

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