FAYETTEVILLE — Redshirt junior Jaquayln Crawford is finally nearing his time to make his debut at Arkansas after transferring to Fayetteville last year from Oklahoma.
He had to sit out the 2020 season due the transfer rule, but would have been able to play against TCU in the Texas Bowl. However that game was canceled due to COVID issues at TCU.
“I mean, it was a bummer just because of how it happened,” Crawford said. “I got cleared early in the week so I got to practice with the team for a couple of practices. I was feeling good, starting to get back in that mode, you know what I’m saying, that game mode. I was excited to get out there and just showcase what I could do and bring to this offense.
“The crazy thing about it was we were all dressed and ready and we were about to leave for the airport in an about an hour. Then we had a team meeting and everything just got cancelled. It was just kind of weird how it happened, us so close to leaving for the bowl game. But I mean everything happens for a reason. I don’t look at it as a bad thing. Obviously I wish I could have gotten to play but it was out of our control.”
Crawford was a highly recruited four-star recruit out of Rockdale (Texas). He committed to the Sooners, but still kept his official visit with Arkansas. However after things didn’t work out at OU he opted to head to Fayetteville. While he never found his complete game at OU, he seems to have done so at Arkansas. He has been seen working some with the first unit catching passes from KJ Jefferson.
“It’s a great feeling,” Crawford said. “I think KJ’s a great quarterback. I think KJ is someone who can move and is very accurate throwing the ball and makes good decisions.
“Just that whole group, the offense has a lot of firepower, a lot of fast guys, a lot of receivers that can go up and get the ball. A lot of great backs. Just that whole group is amazing, and we work good together. There’s a lot of interchangeable parts. I feel like we’re deep at every spot, and KJ’s a great leader behind center.”
Now that you can look back on it what was it like to have to sit out a season?
“Coming in last year, I knew I had to sit,” Crawford said. “So, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I just used it as an opportunity to better my game and work on the things I need to improve on. Now, I waited a long time for this moment, so I’m just glad to get the opportunity to go out there and showcase my abilities. It’s a good feeling to know you’re practicing with a chance to play on Saturday’s.”
What did you work on while redshirting that you think can help you this season?
“I just tried to use last season on scout team and work on route-running, yards after catch and things like that,” Crawford said. “Just stuff that will work on Saturdays, that will happen in games. Just trying to look at every practice like a game. Going against the one and two defense every day. I think it made me a better player than just going through the motions. I tried to use every day to my advantage and work on something.”
A freshman wide receiver who also was a four-star recruit out of Texas is Ketron Jackson. Crawford loves what he has seen from Jackson.
“K-tron’s a beast man,” Crawford said. “For him to come out of high school looking like that, moving like that, it’s just a testament to how hard he works. He comes in every day and doesn’t say too much. He just goes to work, and you can see his improvement from the spring to now. He’s just growing up before our eyes, and I think he’s going to be a really good player.”
Arkansas will return to the practice fields on Tuesday evening. They open the season against Rice on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 1 p.m. in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.