Arkansas’ first season under Chad Morris in 2018 was far from ideal. The Hogs struggled to a 2-10 finish, losing all eight SEC games by an average margin of 23 points.
While it was a difficult season, there are still certain things worth remembering. Here are five memorable moments from the Hogs’ 2018 campaign:
1. Building a strong recruiting class
The 2019 Arkansas recruiting class is among the best the program has had in the era of recruiting ratings. The Razorbacks have already signed 7 247Sports composite 4-star prospects with 3 more expected to sign in February. If Arkansas lands 10 4-star signees, that would be exceptional for this program even if it were coming off a great season. So while the Hogs struggled on the field, the recruiting momentum was a promising distraction.
2. Connor Noland’s first win
The Razorbacks had just one victory over FBS team — a 23-0 triumph over Tulsa. It was obviously the defense that led the way to a win, but it also marked the first collegiate victory as a starter for freshman quarterback Connor Noland. With his ability, it could be just the first of many wins to come. He completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 124 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the victory. He’ll compete with grad transfer Sam Hicks, who played for Morris at SMU.
3. Derrick Munson and Tori
Linebacker Derrick Munson is no longer with the Razorbacks. He announced plans to continue his career at Nicholls State, an FCS program close to his family in New Orleans. While he never made a huge impact on the field, he certainly seemed to off it. Seeing his friendship with Tori, a little girl whom he first met at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, was something special. Tori even visited him at practice and Derrick made midseason requests for another meeting. This is the type of thing that makes you realize these players can have a very real positive impact outside of the game. Kudos to Munson for being that type of person.
4. Breaking in a revamped stadium
Arkansas didn’t have much luck filling Razorback Stadium in 2018. That had nothing to do with the facility itself, though. The Hogs had a new south end zone in 2018, which features a top-notch locker room and luxury boxes among other things. It’s certainly much easier on the eyes than the previous version. It’s also something that surely has given Arkansas a decent recruiting boost. All of the facilities are now up to date with the best in the country. And once the Razorbacks get back to packing the stadium, things should be considerably louder on the field with this more enclosed version.
5. The low points
It’s completely understandable Arkansas fans want to forget most of the 2018 season. However, if you keep some of the low points stored in the back of your mind, it’ll be that much sweeter if Morris does turn this thing around. So don’t totally forget about that punt return against North Texas or Rakeem Boyd tackling Jordan Jones against LSU. Those are the moments that, assuming Morris is the right fit, will give you a greater appreciation during the rise from the bottom.