FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman’s Razorbacks wrapped up the Class of 2022 with two additions from the transfer portal and a junior college recruit.
Arkansas has added Toledo wide receiver Matt Landers, 6-5, 200, Arkansas State defensive tackle Terry Hampton, 6-0, 293, and College of the Canyons (Calif.) defensive tackle Taylor Lewis, 6-3, 300. All three are now on campus with Lewis arriving on Tuesday. He graduated from junior college on Saturday and then headed to Fayetteville. On Tuesday, Sam Pittman was asked about the trio and his thoughts on them.
“Well, two days… but I like the kids,5” Pittman said. “They seem to fit in. Our team’s really good of welcoming. You know, I worried about the portal. I worried that, how would the old hats accept the portal guys. But if you really look at it, you have 25 portal guys coming in every year out of high school. Now, it may be a little bit different deal because you’re bringing an older guy in. You know what I mean? But, our team’s been really good accepting the guys. And so far, Matt’s done a really good job down there along with Terry. Haven’t seen much of Taylor yet, but we certainly will.”
Landers played at Georgia prior to one season at Toledo. He caught two passes for the Bulldogs in 2020 when they defeated the Razorbacks in Pittman’s first game as head coach. At Toledo in 2021, Landers pulled in 20 passes for 514 yards and five touchdowns.
Landers joins former Oklahoma wide receiver Jadon Haselwood in joining Arkansas. Gone from 2021 are Treylon Burks, De’Vion Warren and Tyson Morris. Burks was a first-round pick of the Tennessee Titans. Kenny Guiton and the Razorbacks are counting on both Haselwood and Landers to be key contributors this fall.
Hampton, who is originally from El Dorado, moves across the state to play for the Razorbacks. Hampton played in six games in 2021 while battling injuries. He had 11 tackles, five solo and 2.5 for loss. He enjoyed a better season in 2020 when playing in 11 games. Hampton had 35 tackles, six for loss and a pair of sacks.
Lewis played in six games in 2021. He had 18 tackles, seven solo, 1.5 for loss and a pass breakup. Lewis and Hampton should get plenty of long looks with the knee injury to Taurean Carter that could knock him out all of 2022. Isaiah Nichols and Cam Ball are a couple of returning players. Nichols is the most experienced interior defensive lineman on the team. Several others will get looks inside. Ball redshirted last year as a true freshman, but is someone the Hogs are very high on.
Pittman is hoping for a good summer from not only this trio of newcomers, but the entire team as the Sept. 3 opener against Cincinnati grows nearer. Pittman talked about the emphasis for this summer.
“Just getting in shape and we’re focusing on the mind,” Pittman said. “You do about whatever your mind lets you. That’s something that we’re really concentrating on that this summer. We’re working on our ball skills. I think a lot of us was letting weight room do their thing. Which they are outstanding. Then in our meetings we’re trying to teach the game more.
“Teach the game and working on our ball skills. If we have the opportunity to have the ball underneath our arm we want to make sure we keep it there and certainly if we have an opportunity to pick on or catch a pass we don’t want any drops. A five-minute period today is actually going to be about ball skills. We’re trying to teach the young guys, we think we have some talented guys that still came in we certainly have to get a look at those guys. We can see them a bit more this summer with the new rule. Instead of walking out of there and they have to do things on their own we’ve got 23 minutes a day with them. I mean, excuse me, Tuesday and Thursday. Two hours a week total.”
The Razorbacks are coming off a 9-4 season that saw them defeat Penn State 24-10 in the Outback Bowl.