FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ Deke Adams is the only returning assistant coach on defense and he has a deep unit to work with this fall.

Adams talked about what he has seen from the defensive line following Friday’s practice.

“It’s been good,” Adams said. “They’ve been working. They’ve been working their behinds off. It’s a lot of competition in the room, and they know that. My philosophy is if you can make the defense better when you’re on the field, you play whether you’re a senior or a freshman. Those guys have been working their behinds off. They love each other. We have fun together. We go eat together. We hang out. It’s a really unique group and I really love the group I have right now.”

Adams has some older players on the defensive line he’s counting on along with some newcomers.

“Well, I’m hoping that it’s Taurean Carter and Cam Ball, Eric Gregory, Zach Williams,” Adams said. “All those guys that were with me last year, I’m hoping to see another step and a level up in their play this year. They’ve been practicing that way. We have some tough practices, and it’s been fun watching them all compete.”

Adams and the Hogs added four transfers on the line. They were defensive end John Morgan III and Trajan Jeffcoat along with tackles Tank Booker and Keivie Rose.

“We were trying to obviously get some more playmakers,” Adams said. “We were trying to get bigger, and I feel like we did that when we got Jeffcoat and then you got John Morgan who is a pass-rush guy but has done a great job against the run. Then you get Tank Booker and Keivie Rose. Man, those guys have just done a great job. It’s been really good. Their football knowledge is good. Keivie didn’t get with us until the end of June. So, he only had about a month with us training, but he came in great shape and has great knowledge and all that. So, it’s been really good. I’m excited about them.”

Rose and Booker will compete with such players as Carter, Ball and Gregory among others inside. Rose came from Louisiana Tech while Booker formerly played at Maryland. Adams went into more detail about the pair.

“Tank is a big kid,” Adams said. “He’s about 6’3.5. Probably 335 or somewhere in there. He moves really well. He plays with great leverage. Just the fact that he’s not being able to be thrown around as much. He’s able to hold the point really good for us. I think he’s going to be a really good addition to us.

“Keivie is the same way. I’m seeing Keivie. We saw him on film. On film he was explosive. I watched two games. I watched when they played Missouri, and I watched him when they played Clemson. Those were the two games I watched on him, and he gave them heck both games. When he got here and we got a chance to see him we were surprised. He’s bigger than we thought, and he’s done a great job at this point as well. Those guys are competing with the older guys. It’s a great rotation right now.”

Defensive end Landon Jackson, who transferred in from LSU last year, is expected to be one of the best defensive ends in the SEC this fall. He talked about what he has seen from the transfers.

“I think it’s made a big impact for our D-line,” Jackson said. “Without the transfer portal, we’d have about, at defensive end, about three ends that actually have in-game experience is all we would have if we didn’t have the portal. But because of the portal, we’ve got about six ends that have started in Power Five college football, so I think that’ll be really big, having guys who can rotate in and know what they’re about to go up against. I’m excited to see how it goes.”

Adams has nine seniors on the line and likes the depth.

“I think it’s really good,” Adams said. “We’ve got some older guys. We’ve got some plus-one-year guys in there. We’ll see how that goes, but right now we’re going to take one step at a time and one game at a time and we’re going to go out and put our best four on the field and get our rotation rolling. Hopefully we can wear some people down and play well.”

The Razorbacks signed three high school players on the defensive line, but none were midterm players. The three are Kaleb James, Quincy Rhodes Jr. and Ian Geffrard. Adams was asked if they are what he thought they were from recruiting?

“They are,” Adams said. “They’re really good players. Quincy is a good from obviously here in the state. He’s dynamic. I think he walked in here about 270, and he’s about 285 right now. Really good-looking player. Long. Can run. I think he’s going to be a great player. Ian is a big kid that when you see him you don’t think he can move the way he does, but he moves really well. Changes direction well. He’s physical. Obviously, a kid coming out of high school at that size I think you have to work on is pad level. We continue to work on that daily. Kaleb is a hard-nosed kid that plays hard. A big kid that is probably going to end up getting bigger himself. We’re excited about all three of them. I think all three of them are going to be good players.”

Geffrard is 6-foot-5, 394-pounds. Adams doesn’t rule him out playing this fall. He also talked about what the weight goal is for Geffrard going forward.

“Goals weight-wise, we’ve talked about it,” Adams said. “It’s going to be a process. This time next year, I would definitely probably love to see him around 355, 360. We talked about that. He knows that. But there’s always a place for a guy as big as he is and as quick as he is in our deal. Hopefully we’re not in that situation as much. You’re looking at goal line situations and things like that.

“But he’s doing a good job and I can’t say he won’t be part of the rotation this year. He’s doing a really good job that you never know what happens. We’re early in camp, as well. This is Day 6, I think. I don’t even know the number of practices, but we’re early in camp. We’ve still got time to get things going.”

Jackson also is impressed with the trio from high school.

“I think they’re all really athletic,” Jackson said. “I think Ian, being almost 400 pounds, he moves extremely well. I think Kaleb can move really well and I think Quincy is a phenomenal athlete. The only thing holding them back is just the learning aspect. Being that early on, they just need a little bit of time to fully get the playbook down, fully understand what they’re doing so they can move at the highest speed possible, because that’s the only thing slowing them down, just not knowing where to be at the right time and stuff like that. They just have to learn the playbook more. It all comes with time. I think they’ll be really good players for us.”

Ball is a redshirt sophomore who was very impressive last season despite not starting.

“He’s done a good job,” Adams said. “I’m always challenging those guys to be better. My mama always told me a long time ago, ‘Don’t worry about anyone else’s house until you clean your own.’ I talk to them about it all the time in our room. Don’t care about what anyone else does, it’s about us in this room right now. Every day, I’m demanding more and more.

“At the end of the day, we practice with the way Coach Pitt has it set up to where on Saturday, it’s easy for them. I demand a lot out of them, and they’ll tell you that. At the same time, we love each other, and it’s a great group. And I think Cam has done a good job up to this point, but I think he has so much more ability and potential left that we’ve got to get it all out of him.”

Arkansas will conduct a closed scrimmage on Saturday.