FAYETTEVILLE — When Jacolby Criswell came out of Morrilton High School he was recruited by several schools across the country, but chose North Carolina.

The Razorbacks offered him, but it seemed that Chad Morris and his staff only half-heartily recruited him considering Morris’ son was committed to them. After three seasons with North Carolina, Criswell opted for the transfer portal and this time he chose the Hogs. Sam Pittman talked about what he has seen from Criswell following Saturday’s scrimmage.

“Well, I think this, you look at a kid coming in, and Jacolby hadn’t played a whole lot of ball over at North Carolina,” Pittman said. “To be where he is and what he’s done, I mean, he’s thrown some stuff in practice that was like crazy good. 

“I think he’s just going to get better and better, so yes, I think part of the question would be can we beat an SEC team with him at quarterback, and the answer would be absolutely, in my opinion. So he was very, very valuable to us to bring in.”

On Saturday, Criswell was 8 of 12 for 87 yards with one touchdown and an interception on a tipped pass. KJ Jefferson also likes what he has seen from Criswell this spring.

“Of course. In the quarterback room, it’s iron sharpening iron in there,” Jefferson said. “My spot is up for grabs just like, I mean anybody…So anytime I come in, I’m ready to work, learn from each other. We all learn from each other. So we just created that environment. It’s a brotherhood and when we step out on the field we’re all competing with one another and we’re trying to be that top guy. Just bringing Jacolby in just adds fuel to the fire. He’s a great guy off the field and on the field, as well. So I want to learn some things from him, he’s taught me some things too.”

At North Carolina, Criswell only saw spot duty. In 2021, he did start against Wofford. He was 11 of 19 for 125 yards passing and rushed five times for 66 yards and one touchdown in the game. In 2022, Criswell appeared in four games, completing 2 of 6 passes for nine yards. He also rushed four times for 39 yards.

He was a four-star recruit at Morrilton High School. Passed for 5,925 yards and 58 touchdowns, while rushing for 2,568 yards and 41 touchdowns over his three-year prep career. Named Arkansas’ Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior.