FAYETTEVILLE — True freshman Luke Hasz is set to start his first game on Saturday when the Razorbacks take on Western Carolina at noon in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium.
Hasz, 6-foot-3, 242-pounds, has impressed from Day 1 in preseason and he’s listed first on the depth chart Arkansas released on Monday. Sam Pittman spoke highly of Hasz on Wednesday.
‘Every since he came in here he’s worked his tail off,” Pittman said. “He loves football. His brother does, too. I think a lot came from who raised him and coming from Bixby High School. He’s a little older, he’s strong, can really run, and he’s got wonderful hands. I mean, he can catch everything. You guys have seen him in practice. He can catch everything. But I think as a freshman you have to bring in that kind of mentality, that work mentality and physical play.
“He’s going to be a much better player in two or three years than he is right now, but he’s a fine player now, because what keeps freshmen off the field is not knowing what they’re doing or not physically able to do it or the development is not quite there as fast. But his has been ever since he’s been here. Really excited to see what he can bring to us, maybe an extra dimension that we possibly haven’t had in the past.”
Hasz chose the Hogs over such schools as Alabama, Oklahoma and many other national powers. He committed to Arkansas when Dowell Loggains was the tight end’s coach, but stayed strong with his pledge after Pittman hired Morgan Turner. Turner is pleased Hasz stayed with his commitment.
“Yeah, he just comes to work everyday and works hard, works on his route running and tries to build a better relationship with KJ (Jefferson),” Turner said. “And then he’ll compete, go up and get balls and just make plays when they’re available.”
Turner was asked if Hasz is ahead of where most freshmen are with his blocking?
“I don’t want to try to compare him to anybody there, but you can tell it means something to him,” Turner said. “That says a lot and does a lot for you. He’s aggressive with it and not afraid. He’s going to go put his face in there and does a nice job.”
Hasz won’t be the only true freshman seeing action against Western Carolina on Saturday. Pittman listed several others.
“True freshman-wise, Brad Spence comes to mind at linebacker,” Pittman said. “Alex Sanford comes to mind if you’re talking about special teams role. Spence is going to be more than that. I think he’ll play quality minutes at linebacker. Quincy Rhodes is a guy that’s going to play. Ian Geffrard is going to play. Quincy could work his way up. I think he’s really a special talent.
“In the back end, you mentioned Jaylon Braxton. TJ Metcalf would be one. Offensive line, probably not there. We talked about tight end. Running back, probably not yet even though we’re really pleased with Isaiah. Quarterback, Malachi (Singleton) has done a really good job. Wide receiver, yeah, you’re going to see both of them — (Dazmin) James and (Devion) Dozier. They’re in our top six wide receivers. You’ll see both of them.”
Rhodes is a defensive end, Geffrard interior defensive lineman, Sanford linebacker, Braxton plays cornerback and Metcalf safety. Arkansas has nine seniors on the defensive line so what does it say about Rhodes and Geffrard they are able to play?
“We, we hit,” Pittman said. “They’re both really good players. Both great kids. They know how to work. The thing with Ian, he was a biscuit away from 400 this summer, and he never missed a rep. Never missed anything. That’s hard to do, now, at that kind of size. So that tells a little bit of his makeup. But you’re 100% right. Quincy Rhodes is just, in my opinion, a special talent.”
Arkansas will take on Western Carolina on Saturday at noon in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium. The game will be available on both ESPN+ and SEC Network+.