As someone who has been around for more than a minute, Arkansas fifth-year senior Eric Gregory has an informed take on the Razorbacks’ past and current defensive lines.

“For sure,  it’s the deepest D-Line we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Gregory said. “We have at least three groups that can play and contribute…We’re pretty deep, and we’re looking good.”

Gregory (6-4, 318) has been excited with what he has seen from transfers in Louisiana Tech’s Keivie Rose (6-3, 303), Missouri’s Trajan Jeffcoat (6-4, 281), Maryland’s Anthony “Tank” Booker (6-4, 351) and Pittsburgh’s John Morgan (6-2, 270).

They’ve joined returnees Cam Ball (6-5, 319), Taurean Carter (6-3, 295), Landon Jackson (6-7, 280), Zach Williams (6-4, 250), Jashaud Stewart (6-2, 257) ,  Nico Davillier (6-4, 273) and JJ Hollingsworth (6-3, 273).

There’s also a pair of true freshman in Ian Geffard (6-5, 394) and North Little Rock’s Quincy Rhodes (6-6, 289).

That’s 14 players that should  add solid depth at a position that will see four defensive tackles on the field at a time this season instead of three.

“It gives us an opportunity to get a break and come back in fresh,” Gregory said.  To rotate all three of those groups in, guys will be fresh when they play. It does a lot.”

Gregory, who started 8 games while playing in 13 last season, had 19 tackles in 2022 and has 77 career stops, sees this defense as one that will be good against both the pass and rush.

“I think both, really stopping the run and getting to the pass,” Gregory said. “I feel like the older guys being here have gotten better in their pass rush. New guys came here, they’re getting better reading the run and pass. I feel like both run and pass we’ll play really good this year.”

Rose agrees with that assessment.

“…To piggyback on the same thing man, I mean when I first got here my eyes were blown away,” Rose said. “I just feel like it’s going to be a really good year for us.”

Rose transferred in from Louisiana Tech after a first-team All Conference USA season when he had 24 tackles, 18 solo stops and two sacks among four tackles for lost yardage. 

 “I was just excited for a new opportunity,” Rose said. “ I knew I had left Louisiana Tech and graduated and I knew I needed a new opportunity. Especially coming into this group with the guys that were there. Really, really deep group. 

“I just felt like coming here I would add to that depth. Going against the best every day and working with these guys and the things I’m learning from them. It was really good for me coming in.”

Rose chose Arkansas over TCU, Miami and others. 

“I considered TCU and Miami, but Arkansas just stood out to me,” Rose said. “I just felt like being in the SEC was a place I needed to be, and I felt like… I just really just went off faith. It was great. The opportunity that was there, I felt was there…: I mean, this is the most depth I’ve been around since I’ve been playing college.”

The competition in practice has been at a high level per Rose.

“Everybody’s really good,” Rose said. “Like, it’s just a battle every day. But it’s a good battle, too, where everybody’s working hard just trying to make each other better but also getting the O-line better. It’s going to be a sight to see this year. I’m really excited.”

Gregory summed up what Rose brings to the mix.

“Keivie adds finesse,” Gregory said. “When he came in on 1-on-1 pass rush, he was winning right off the bat. Just seeing that actually motivated me to get better at my pass rush too. I knew I had to step my game up even more. He’s bringing the finesse and power. He’s also an older cat too, so he’s bringing knowledge in too.”

Rose said there are some big differences in his former school and his current one.

“Really just the support around the school and the atmosphere around football,” Rose said. “Coming from Lousiana Tech, it wasn’t just like — it’s so overwhelming with all of the resources that we have here. And just the smallest things I try to take advantage of, because I didn’t have them out there. It’s really been a true blessing being here.”

Gregory has played both defensive tackle and defensive end in this time at Arkansas, but is working mostly on the interior this season.

 “I’m really just focused on tackle,” Gregory said. “Like you said, we’ve got some great ends, and they don’t need me out there. Being able to play just inside has been great. I’ve learned the technique getting down and taking the double team better. It’s been amazing to play just inside.”

He heads into his fifth season with a mentality of it being his best year.

 “I’m feeling more confident,” Gregory said. “With the depth we have now there will be more pressure. I feel like it’s going to be a big season.”

Carter missed the entire 2022 season due to injury, but is expected to be an important cog this campaign.

“Just his energy,” Gregory said. “Even when he was hurt he had that energy, motivating everyone. But now this year the energy he brings is very contagious. It’s rubbing off on everybody. He makes us want to play harder just with his energy. 

“Even the hot days when it’s, man, hot and we sweating, he’s bringing the energy. Just his leadership and knowledge of the game also, he’s bringing all that.”

Arkansas defensive line Deke Adams has an experienced group to put on the field.

“The knowledge in the room is crazy,” Gregory said.  “I mean, we can all piggyback off each other and give each other insight on different things that we can work on, somebody else can work on. I mean, we’re feeding off of it pretty good.”

Rose has learned from his coaches and his new teammates.

“I’m really just glad to be in this coaching staff and around these type of coaches,” Rose said. “They’re really just encouraging, really uplifting. They make it easy to learn the playbook and learn the scheme. Like it’s really been an easy transition for me I feel like. Just learning the playbook, playing with guys. Really just getting adapted to not so much what I’m used to and getting adapted to something new.”