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Arkansas football positional previews: Explosive Taylen Green is unquestioned QB starter

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Arkansas football positional previews: Explosive Taylen Green is unquestioned QB starter


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — There are 11 weekends remaining until the return of Arkansas football.

The Razorbacks open the 2024 season in Little Rock against UAPB. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) on Thursday, Aug. 29.

Arkansas is coming off a disappointing 4-8 campaign that saw offensive coordinator Dan Enos get fired midseason and the eventual departures of KJ Jefferson and Raheim ‘Rocket’ Sanders, two faces of the program.

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In response, the Hogs hired Bobby Petrino and hit the transfer portal, bringing in plenty of newcomers for what feels like an all-important season for head coach Sam Pittman.

More: Taylen Green shines as Arkansas football closes spring with Red-White Game

More: Tyrone Broden caps off sensational spring in Arkansas football’s Red-White Game

Over the next month, the Southwest Times Record will run positional previews twice a week, asking two questions and providing one bold prediction.

Here’s a look at the quarterbacks entering 2024.

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Is there a clear starter at quarterback for Arkansas football?

Pittman had fans and media members expecting a wide-open competition this spring, but in reality, the job always belonged to Taylen Green.

The Boise State transfer threw for 3,794 yards and ran for 1,022 across 26 games with the Broncos. He exclusively took reps with Arkansas’ first-team offense this spring and completed 17 of 22 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns in the annual Red-White Game. He was able to blend explosiveness with efficiency and leave a lasting impression heading into the fall.

Green was Bobby Petrino’s top target in the transfer portal, and it’s a safe bet the offense will be catered to the redshirt junior’s strengths. Look for Arkansas to be aggressive hunting big plays and trying to make the intermediate passing game as easy as possible for Green.

Who is next in line?

Pittman and Petrino will hope that Green stays healthy, lives up to expectations and limits the backup quarterbacks to mop-up duty in garbage time this season.

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Jacolby Criswell transferred back to North Carolina after spring practices, leaving the No. 2 job to redshirt freshman Malachi Singleton. The former four-star prospect impressed coaches during the spring and usurped Criswell before his eventual transfer.

Singleton will compete with true freshman KJ Jackson to become the Hogs’ next starting quarterback whenever Green leaves the program. Jackson is a dynamic athlete who was a priority recruit during Petrino’s first high school cycle.

Fall practices and any game reps could play a factor in future quarterback competitions, but both players are ideally a year away from making a major impact on the field.

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One bold prediction: Green rushes for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns

Lamar Jackson ran for 3,172 yards across his final two seasons under Petrino at Louisville. Green isn’t as dynamic a player as the former Heisman Trophy winner, but he does possess elite athleticism for a quarterback, and Petrino’s shown a willingness to turn his running quarterbacks loose.

KJ Jefferson was a terrific runner, but he never crossed the 700-yard threshold at Arkansas. The most rushing touchdowns Jefferson scored in a season were nine in 2022.

Green didn’t get to show off his abilities in the run game this spring. Pittman and Petrino saw enough on film to withhold that part of the playbook and make sure they avoided any preseason injuries to their most important player.

Come fall, the training wheels will come off, and Green will be one of the top rushers on the team.

What the coaches said this spring

“(Green) has a pro type of mentality the way he goes about his business, and he’s a good person. Let’s just start there and once you go on the field, he runs like a gazelle. He can run, run and he’s throwing the ball, he’s got some accuracy on his throws. Glad he’s on our team, but it starts with the person that he is and the work ethic that he has. Very pleased with what I’ve seen out of him.”

— Defensive coordinator Travis Williams on what it’s like to go against Taylen Green in practice.

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Projected depth chart

  • Taylen Green, redshirt junior
  • Malachi Singleton, redshirt freshman
  • KJ Jackson, freshman
  • Blake Boda, redshirt freshman
  • Austin Ledbetter, redshirt freshman



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Arkansas

Razorbacks Flip Baylor Offensive Line Commitment

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Razorbacks Flip Baylor Offensive Line Commitment


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas has flipped the commitment of Kash Courtney, a class of 2025 consensus three-star offensive lineman from Carthage High School in Carthage, Texas. Courtney originally verbally committed to Baylor in October when current offensive line coach Eric Mateos was still on staff in Waco.

Courtney announced his decision on X (formerly Twitter) and thanked Baylor coach Dave Aranda for the “support for the love shown throughout this process”

Listed at 6 foot-4, 285 pounds, Courtney started as a sophomore on Carthage’s 16-0 Texas 4A D-II state championship team, and also competed in track in high school, according to 247Sports.

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Highlights of the season can be found here.

Courtney took an official visit to Arkansas May 31 and flipped his commitment 2 weeks later. He is the second offensive line commitment in the class of 2025 along with Blake Cherry from Owasso, Okla.

The interior offensive lineman is ranked as the 97th in his class at the offensive tackle position according to 247Sports. Along with Baylor, he chose Arkansas over Duke, Houston, Louisiana Tech, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UTSA and West Virginia.

HOGS FEED:

• ESPN Gives Calipari Reason to Find Chip on His Shoulder

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• Calipari draws familiar foe in ACC-SEC Challenge

• Arkansas AD Damaged PGA, British Open Trophy While Disrespecting Golf Legend

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• Follow allHOGS on X and Facebook





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Central Arkansas Water: Main break on Spring Street in Little Rock, temporary road closure

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Central Arkansas Water: Main break on Spring Street in Little Rock, temporary road closure


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Crews with Central Arkansas Water have repairs underway after a water main break in Little Rock.

CAW said that a 16-inch water main near South Spring Street had a spontaneous break Thursday afternoon, adding that repairs are estimated to take six hours.

Due to the break, CAW is reporting southbound traffic near Frontage Road and Spring Street going south to West 12th Street is being redirected temporarily.

Repair crews are working to repair the break, the agency reported.

CAW advised that customers in the area will have discolored water due to the break and should avoid washing clothes during the discoloration.

Anyone looking for more details on the road closure can call the CAW Distribution Dispatch Center at 501-377-1239.





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Arkansas football positional previews: Can running backs rebound from 2023?

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Arkansas football positional previews: Can running backs rebound from 2023?


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — There are 11 weekends remaining until the return of Arkansas football.

The Razorbacks open the 2024 season in Little Rock against UAPB. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) on Thursday, Aug. 29.

Arkansas is coming off a disappointing 4-8 campaign that saw offensive coordinator Dan Enos get fired midseason and the eventual departures of KJ Jefferson and Raheim ‘Rocket’ Sanders, two faces of the program.

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More: Running back Ja’Quinden Jackson eager to capitalize on fresh start with Arkansas football

More: Arkansas football game time windows, kickoff vs. Texas announced by SEC

In response, the Hogs hired Bobby Petrino and hit the transfer portal, bringing in plenty of newcomers for what feels like an all-important season for head coach Sam Pittman.

Over the next month, the Southwest Times Record will run positional previews twice a week, asking two questions and providing one bold prediction. We tackled the quarterback position earlier this week.

Here’s a look at the running backs entering 2024.

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Is there a clear starter at running back for Arkansas football?

Ja’Quinden Jackson and Rashod Dubinion are the leaders in the clubhouse for the starting role. Both players worked with the first team during the spring game, but Jackson handled most of the carries and scored a pair of touchdowns.

Jackson ran for 797 yards while battling an ankle injury last year at Utah. He only had nine catches out of the backfield, but he looked to be a receiving threat and a capable pass blocker during the spring. There was a revolving door at the starter’s spot in 2023, and Pittman would like some consistency at the position this season.

Dubinion is entering his third year in the program. Everyone struggled behind the offensive line last season, but Dubinion led Arkansas running backs in all-purpose yards and had some nice moments in the passing game, including a clutch 14-yard touchdown reception on the road against Alabama.

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Jackson enters fall as the projected starter, but Dubinion will ensure competition rages throughout camp.

How long till Braylen Russell makes an impact?

The burly freshman was one of Arkansas’ top recruits in the previous cycle and impressed coaches the moment he stepped on campus. With tree trunks for legs, Russell displayed strength between the tackles and a certain athletic touch in the receiving game this spring.

Russell will be a prominent piece of the offense at some point in 2024, and it could come early in the season. Luke Hasz received similar hype coming out of his freshman preseason, and the Hogs unleashed the dynamic tight end against BYU in their first big matchup of 2023. Russell could be on a similar timeline.

One bold prediction: Hogs increase rushing output by 1,000 yards

The Hogs ran for 1,668 yards in 2023. In the year prior, Arkansas ranked eighth in the country with 3,075 yards.

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The offensive line, a new offensive coordinator and some better injury luck will all propel Arkansas to a season total closer to 2022’s output. After the top three, Arkansas has quality depth with FSU transfer Rodney Hill.

Petrino will hunt explosive plays in the passing game, but a rugged ground attack will still be the backbone of the offense under Pittman. Arkansas will run for more than 2,675 yards, which would have ranked 22nd in the country last year.

What the coaches said this spring

The running back group is going to be real competitive, I think, with R-Dub and JJ probably competing for the starter. If we were playing a game at the end of the week, they would be the ones competing for that starter. The youngster, Braylen, has done a great job. He’s big. He’s really physical. He’s got great hands. It’s all new to him, so there’s times he has a far-away look in his eyes when he doesn’t know the play or can’t picture it in his mind, but he’s got a chance to be special. 

— Offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino on the running back room toward the end of spring practice.

Projected depth chart

  • Ja’Quinden Jackson, redshirt senior
  • Rashod Dubinion, junior
  • Braylen Russell, freshman
  • Rodney Hill, redshirt sophomore
  • Tyrell Reed Jr., sophomore



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