Arkansas Adds Pair of Quarterbacks to Mix, Brings Total to Five

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Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) reaches for extra yards ahead of Kentucky safety Jordan Griffin (3) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas was able to sign both former and current four-star quarterbacks in the Class of 2020.

The Razorbacks added former Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks at midterm. The 6-foot-6, 238-pound Franks is enrolled. On Wednesday, Arkansas added Missouri City (Texas) Fort Bend Marshall’s Malik Hornsby, 6-2, 175.

The two will join redshirt freshman KJ Jefferson, sophomore John Stephen Jones and senior Jack Lindsey in the competition for the quarterback job. Jefferson was hurt at the end of the 2019 season while Franks’ 2019 season was cut short with an ankle injury. Sam Pittman was asked Wednesday how those two are progressing.

“KJ will be fine for spring ball, and Feleipe’s done really well,” Pittman said. “He’s moving well. I think he’s on progress. He might be a little bit ahead of progress, but we don’t feel there’ll be a problem with him playing this spring.”

Pittman liked the fact Arkansas could get a quarterback who has vast starting experience in the SEC. Franks passed for 4,593 yards and 38 touchdowns with 17 interceptions while rushing for 438 yards and eight touchdowns with the Gators. Arkansas’ returning quarterbacks have a combined two starts among the three of them. So Pittman thought it was important to get an experienced quarterback.

“Very,” Pittman said. “Big deal. Feleipe Franks has proven he can do it in this league and do it at a high level. It’s a huge deal for us. I’m not saying he’s going to win the starting spot, but it’s a big deal to get him. It will allow some of these young guys – KJ and all of them – to compete and get a little bit more time to get game ready.”

Hornsby chose the Hogs over Baylor, Purdue, Texas A&M, North Carolina and others. Hornsby passed for 2,320 yards and 29 touchdowns with only two interceptions as a senior while also rushing for 1,582 yards and 17 touchdowns.

“We were all excited about that,” Pittman said. “A guy that can stretch the field with his arm and I think he ran 10.7 in the 100-meters. That’s not quite as fast as Coach (Barry) Odom ran when he was in high school. Seriously. But that’s fast.”

Pittman credited Kendal Briles, his offensive coordinator, for landing Hornsby.

“He was the guy that we wanted you know,” Pittman said. “He’s the guy we went after. He had a great relationship with Coach Briles and Kendal did a great job of recruiting him, and has for a long time. But there’s a guy who can throw it and run it and certainly would be ideal for the type of offense that Kendal is planning on running.”

The first spring football for Pittman and his staff will start next month.

“Spring ball will start on March 16,” Pittman said. “We will go Monday, Wednesday, Friday, then we’ll go to spring break. Then, we’ll come back after spring break and have four weeks of spring ball, going Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.”

Will the spring game still be played in Little Rock?

“Well, obviously, it was scheduled at Little Rock and I don’t know exactly where that’s at right now because we don’t know if the NCAA will let us have it over there,” Pittman said. “If they will, then that’s where we’re going to play it. If they won’t, we’ll play it back here at home. We’re still waiting on that right now. In fact, we want to play our (spring) game on the 25th of April.”

The Razorbacks will have seven new scholarship players from the Class of 2020 available this spring.

Feleipe Franks, QB, 6-6, 238, Florida Transfer

Jerry Jacobs, DB, 5-11, 205, Arkansas State Transfer

Kelin Burrle, LB, 6-0, 205, Harvey Helen Cox, La.

Julius Coates, DL, 6-6, 270, East Mississippi Community College

Myles Slusher, DB, 6-0, 181, Broken Arrow, Okla.

Blayne Toll, DL, 6-5, 244, Hazen

Darin Turner, WR, 6-3, 206, Memphis Central, Tenn.

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