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Andy Hodges

Has Morris managed to redshirt whopping number of highly-touted recruits?

Chad Morris has managed to juggle his roster and keep the redshirt potential for 17 players of his 25-member signing class, including 10 who are guaranteed the extra year of eligibility.

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It looks now like Chad Morris may have had a plan all along and while you may not like it or agree with it, it was something above hope.

Did he want to redshirt most of the 2019 recruiting class that had a lot of playmakers and recruits that have the potential to be difference-makers?

If that was the case, he has managed to get his plan at least to the point of at least accomplishing the goal of saving a year.

A whopping 71 percent of the 25 signees (17) are qualified for a redshirt with four games remaining. Of that number, 10 are assured of a redshirt and one of them has already entered the transfer portal.

Wide receiver T.Q. Jackson and defensive back Jalen Catalon can play in one more game and keep their redshirt. Defensive tackle Marcus Miller can play in half of the remaining games.

Eric Gregory, Beaux Limmer and Brady Latham can play in three of the remaining games.

Quarterback K.J. Jefferson leads a pack of talented high school recruits that can play in all four of the remaining games and still have four years of eligibility left.

Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek leans against a door frame during Chad Morris’ press conference after a 48-7 loss to Alabama on Saturday night. PHOTO BY CRAVEN WHITLOW | HITTHATLINE.COM

That list includes:

• Quarterback K.J. Jefferson
• Running back A’Monte Spivey
• Wide receiver Shamar Nash
• Tight end Hudson Henry
• Offensive lineman Dylan Rathcke
• Offensive lineman Chibueze Nwanna
• Defensive lineman Enoch Jackson
• Defensive lineman Taurean Carter
• Linebacker Zach Zimos
• Defensive back Malik Chavis

Only coaches who have had a plan like this with at least a nod of the head from the folks higher up the food chain even attempt something along these lines.

There have been whispers that started a few months ago that was the plan.

Did Morris tell athletics director Hunter Yurachek over a year ago that many of the holdovers from the Bret Bielema era hadn’t bought into the new way of doing things and he was going to have to clear out the riff-raff and build Arkansas football from the ground up?

Coaches so rarely attempt something like that it was kinda hard to imagine one having the fortitude to pull it off. If he didn’t have to win immediately it’s likely Morris wouldn’t have done it exactly that way.

Or was that the deal he negotiated back in December 2017?

Morris and this coaching staff hasn’t exactly acted like one that thought it was on the hot seat.

And, in case you were wondering, there are a good number of second-year coaches struggling at their positions this year.

Jeremy Pruitt seems to have finally at least broken the fall at Tennessee. Scott Frost at Nebraska is still in a downward spiral. Chip Kelly at UCLA may have the Bruins heading back around on an upward swing.

The Razorbacks have the roughest stretch of their schedule in the rear-view mirror and if Morris is going to at least show signs of progress, he’s got one-third of the season left to do it.

Only LSU in a few weeks is a game you look at and say, “no way” right now. Okay, some of you bailed on things back at the end of September, but maybe none of us knew the plan then.

We’ll find out over the final month of the season if this coaching staff has actually been able to develop the young talent. Again, we have no idea about those guys.

Morris is in the second year of a five-year contract and may have had a five-year plan all along. And, remember, when Yurachek was asked about Morris’ hiring when he got the job, he heartily and without reservation supported it.

It may not be the way a lot of fans would have done it (or wanted it done).

That’s not relevant.

It’s apparent that may have been Morris’ plan all along.

Now he’s just got to figure out a way to take advantage of pulling off a roster juggling act through the first two-thirds of the season.

 

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