What is the real reason for the departures?

Sorry if this has been explained but I just can not wrap my head around 48 scholarship players for the Bowl Game. It seems we have a few trickling in but far more leaving. The list just continues to grow.

So far, WR Jaquayln Crawford , DT Taylor Lewis , RB James Jointer , WR Warren Thompson , TE Erin Outley DL Randall Dennis Jr. , LS Francisco Castro , P Patrick Foley , NB Jacorrei Turner , DE Eric Thomas Jr. , QB Malik Hornsby , DE Jordan Hanna, NB Myles Slusher, WR Ketron Jackson, WR Chase Lowery, RB Javion Hunt, CB Keuan Parker , S Zach Zimos, TE Trey Knox, OL Jalen St. John, DT Isaiah Nichols , S Jalen Catalon, OC Marcus Henderson, S Simeon Blair and linebacker Jackson Woodard have officially entered their names into the transfer portal.

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A lot of those guys can’t play college football for Arkansas, let alone be paid NIL money for doing it. We need better players — a bunch of them. Attrition, whatever you call it — I’d like to think Sam is improving his roster. It’ll take a long time for that to happen but maybe he will get there.


I suspect there are a variety of reasons. Here is my guess:

  1. Assistant coaches leaving and players who are close to those coaches and see a better chance for contribution at the assistant’s new school. Knox, Woodard, etc.

  2. Sam is tough and demanding to his assistants and coaches. The “you don’t recruit well you don’t stay” attitude toward assistants has been obvious. You got to expect the same demands on players like “you don’t develop you don’t play”. If players don’t see themselves growing bigger, stronger, faster, etc. then they know to go elsewhere. Marcus Henderson could not win the starting center position for the bowl or next year. He is now prospecting for more playing time in the portal.

  3. There is a lot of “recruiting” going on in college football in big and little ways behind the scenes. At least for our former starters, there has to be some NIL money being offered that is better than they are currently getting. Jackson and Knox may be examples.

  4. There are some hints of dissension and divisiveness in the program. The strength staff cleanout implies there may have been problems there and that might mean players who bought in to the problem as well. Some of them may have been “encouraged” out the door.

I suspect that this is more “a sign of the times” than it is an indication of “problems on the hill.” JMVVVVHO


IMO pretty accurate - if it works out like last year this is an great opportunity to improve the roster at an accelerated rate

I think it’s really, really important that we won our bowl game against Kansas. Says a lot about our players, the coaches, and the quality of those remaining. It’s ending and beginning on a positive. I suspect it’ll also pay some dividends in the portal during the next two weeks.


There were 54 scholarship players available for the bowl game. I guess my question is who in that group are you torn up about leaving? I get a few of the names are guys everyone hates to see go. A lot of those names, though, are players who just weren’t going to contribute. And they want to go somewhere they can play.


The fact that you have to continually explain this is what I can’t wrap my head around.

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I have to admit I was shocked by that low number myself. We have the third most transfer portals in the country. That is not something that looks like a positive… I am fully aware that in today’s society you can go out and get much better than you lost but the amount of transfer portals was what shocked me


This, IMO, is still a lingering byproduct of the scholarship crunch starting with BB and then CM regimes…not too many but not enough scholarships…had to hand out quite a few just to get the numbers up to the minimum so they could bring in early enrollees.

I greatly appreciate their desire, effort and willingness to come but most who are leaving just do not have SEC caliber ability. It is what it is.

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So it should be 1/2 the roster, 3/4 the team? Are we sure there is a much deeper problem than the strength coach? IMO it’s something.

Sorry to bother you sir! But I do not read every word of every thread. It’s still a question for me still. And that’s coming from a guy that went to Sam’s opening presser because I thought he was a great hire.

The incident off Dickson Street a few weeks ago probably affected the portal. Timing was terrible.


For sure that cost us Slusher and gave negative recruiting material for our competition to use against for a long time.

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No sir…not directed at you specifically so I should not have used the same phrase as your post…this board and other boards have mods respond the same way to multiple threads.

As I stated on another thread…IMO only…we are still having to work through the scholarship issues from the Bielema and Morris days…we had a scholarship crunch…that is too few and had to meet the minimum scholarship numbers so early enrollees could be brought in…that meant many walk-ons and last minute scholarship offers/fillers had to be brought in…nowadays in the portal/NIL world the roster must be upgraded to SEC caliber talent…CSP has no other choice

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So it’s guys that these 2 coaches just signed guys to fill up the roster in hopes to build them up to SEC players?

Man it is tough to play in the SEC. And I had a scholly to play here in Arkansas. So I know how hard it is to play at that level. I did walk on at the UofA but just didn’t last…

It is just down and dirty. Is Sam that kind of man??

Knox followed his position coach who became the DC at a TE needy school (South Carolina). Ketron Jackson got closer to home and went to a receiver needy team (Baylor). Slusher would likely have been in the safety rotation next year, but hardly set the world on fire when he was not hurt, and probably wanted a change of scenery. St. John needed a fresh start because of the legal issue and was going to be facing a battle in the spring to start. Hornsby got his chance and failed. Warren Thompson was Mr. Inconsistent and had clearly run out of chances with the staff. Nichols was an average at best DT. Every one of those guys, IMO, has replacement level talent-in other words there’s no reason the returning guys and similar players available in the portal can’t step in and give us the same production. In Hornsby’s case we’ve already upgraded.

Catalon is a great, but fragile talent. It’s hard to say we’ve lost anything there because he has not been on the field much the last two years and the jury is really out as to whether he can play college football for a full season again. Even if he came back we really could not count on him to start or even be in the safety rotation in 2023-it would have been nice but the staff was going to have to bring in other guys regardless.

All the rest hadn’t played much and were unlikely to crack the two deep next year. Replacing those players with freshmen and portal guys has zero downside, because you are not losing anything, and good upside, because there’s an opportunity to improve the roster with each open slot.

As always, the key is can we replace the contributors who won’t be back because they are out of eligibility or went pro? Stromberg, Drew Sanders, Haselwood, Landers, Wagner, Pool (though he had been gradually taking a lesser role because of his injuries the last half of the season). I’m optimistic we can replace the OL and LBs. I am cautiously optimistic that the WR room is going to be at about the same level as 2022, and the TE room may be a little better.

The biggest question mark for me is safety and CB. We need five or six guys to play the multiple safety positions, and right now we are way short. We also need probably two more CBs. Finally, we have to be better punting the football, whether that’s Fletcher, the JC guy they are bringing in, or someone else.


Good synopsis.

Again IMO only, the latter part of Bielema he quit recruiting very hard and Morris was obviously a disaster (kids could see the highlights on ESPN) and they had trouble finding recruits willing to come to the dumpster fire…thus they had to scramble for recruits