Arkansas possessed the SEC’s best passing offense outside of the Magnolia State in 2015, finishing behind No. 1 Ole Miss and No. 2 Mississippi State for tops in the conference.

The Razorbacks closed the season with seven wins in their final nine games thanks in large part to a passing attack that earned every one of their 268.2 yards-per-game.

While much of that success can be attributed to the maturation of quarterback Brandon Allen, who came of age before our eyes halfway through his senior season, the Hogs’ success also came on the backs of one of the conference’s top pass-catching units.

Allen has since moved on — selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round of this spring’s NFL Draft — but his receivers, and then some, all return to The Hill for the 2016 campaign.

All told, the top five returning pass-catchers from the 2015 season are back, bringing with them 2,358 combined yards from last year. At an average of 181.4 yards per game, Arkansas’s top-five leading receivers collectively trail only Texas A&M’s top returning quintet (223.2 YPG) in the SEC.

With a gluttony of weapons at his dispersal, getting the ball to the Razorbacks receivers should be a top priority for offensive coordinator Dan Enos and new quarterback Austin Allen.

Here’s a look at which of Arkansas’ top pass-catchers are back and who could likely emerge as the best of head coach Bret Bielema’s bunch.


Of the 31 touchdowns that Arkansas receivers hauled in last season, 27 belonged to returning Razorbacks’ top-five returning pass-catchers. Drew Morgan was tops among them all.

The rising senior had a breakout junior year, leading the team with 843 yards. His 10 touchdowns led the SEC during the regular season, before Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell passed him with 11 scores and De’Runnya Wilson of Mississippi State tied him with 10 during their respective bowl games.

Courtesy of the scrappy Morgan, Arkansas’ top-five leading receivers return the most touchdowns through the air in 2016. Texas A&M’s top-five scored 20 touchdowns last year, followed by Alabama with 15.


Dominique Reed quietly stepped into the role as a reliable playmaker in 2015. It was the Camden, Ark., prospect who led Arkansas with 19.11 yards-per-catch. At an average of 2.3 catches-per-game, Reed made the most of his time spent with the ball. He concluded the season with 535 yards and 6 touchdowns, tied for second on the team. Reed represents a stable veteran presence for Allen. It’d be a shock to few if he experienced a big senior campaign.


Jared Cornelius was en route to a big sophomore year before a broken arm brought everything to a screeching halt midway through the season. He managed to return to the lineup, and to form after missing four contests, collecting 24 passes for 393 yards and a trio of touchdowns.

He also earned 143 yards on kickoff and punt returns. His versatility hasn’t gone unnoticed. The Paul Hornung Award — which honors players who make an impact at multiple positions and special teams — placed Cornelius on its preseason watch list. There’s no saying that Cornelius and Allen can’t build a solid rapport that last through their final two years of eligibility together.


Keon Hatcher’s broken foot suffered in Week 2 elevated the likes of Morgan, Reed and Cornelius in the passing game. And left us wondering what a one-two punch of Brandon Allen-to Hatcher might have resembled. The duo was off to a solid start before the injury against Toledo ended his campaign after 198 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Hatcher led the Razorbacks in receiving as a junior in 2014 with 558 yards and 6 touchdowns. He’ll suit up this year courtesy of a medical redshirt and appears to be healthy. If Hatcher is back to form, he easily contends for Arkansas’ top receiver role.


Alas, Austin Allen’s top pass-catcher (and the reason why you see the term “pass-catchers” repeatedly in this article) might actually be his tight end. Hunter Henry received the bulk of the attention in 2015 out of the position, and rightfully so.

Now in the NFL, Henry finished second on the team in receiving with 739 yards had the three touchdowns not scored by a returning pass-catcher.

Sprinkle had 389 yards, but his real impact came in the end zone. The rising senior caught 6 touchdowns, several in clutch overtime situations, to lead all SEC tight ends. At 6-6, 240-pounds, Sprinkle is a big target with soft hands and could be a welcome sight to bail out an inexperienced quarterback with just 19 career attempts.

Bielema’s offenses revolve heavily on a strong tight end presence. Another year under Sprinkle’s belt might not make him the Razorbacks’ top pass-catcher in 2016, but also could very well vault him into a solid draft selection in process.