Clearly, the first year of the Chad Morris era in Fayetteville did not go as well as expected. That being said, while the team’s record and stats may not show it, Arkansas did take strides on defense under first-year coordinator John Chavis.
If Arkansas is going to take a step in the right direction under Morris’s leadership in 2019, the defense will have to continue to progress and that process can’t be undertaken solely with an infusion of young talent in recruiting, the team’s veterans will have to buy in to what the coaching staff advises them to do.
One key player that has accepted that challenge this offseason is senior defensive lineman, McTelvin “Sosa” Agim. The former five-star recruit and Under Armour All-American has played extensively at defensive end during his college career but has failed to live up to his incredible recruiting hype to this point as a Razorback.
Looking ahead to the 2019 season, the Arkansas staff planned to move Agim inside in Chavis’ defensive system. While Agim didn’t have to make a return, the coaching staff clearly wanted him to play for the Razorbacks during his senior season, but only on one condition — he had to buy into the shift inside.
During a recent Razorback Club event, Morris was asked to name a player or two that have really progressed this spring. The first name that came to mind was Agim, as his head coach praised the lineman for completely buying into the shift inside after playing defensive end his entire collegiate career.
“Well, I think there are several that have stood out and had a great spring. I think Sosa, obviously, making the transition from outside to inside and being completely committed and bought in,” Morris said in a video posted to YouTube by Pig Trail Nation. “One of the messages I’ve shared with him back in January was ‘Don’t come back if you aren’t fully bought in on moving inside.’ And he understood that. He was great. He met with his family and said, ‘Coach, I’m ready,’ and it paid off. I think he had an incredible spring.”
During spring camp, the Arkansas defense routinely dominated the offense day in and day out, winning the Razorback belt after nearly every day of practice. Moving inside appears to already be paying off for Sosa based on his coach’s comments and the results from the practice field in Fayetteville. Who knows, this time next year, Agim very well could hear his name called high in the 2020 NFL Draft and if that dream becomes a reality, it likely has to do the fact he’s excelled as an interior lineman capable of wrecking offensive gameplans before they even know what has hit them.