FAYETTEVILLE — Maddox Lassiter is a preferred walk-on true freshman at Arkansas and he has made a very good impression on Sam Pittman as well as others.
Lassiter, 6-foot-3, 232-pounds, was a quarterback for Bo Hembree’s Warren Lumberjacks. Lassiter chose to attend Arkansas and convert to tight end. Pittman was asked on Wednesday if there’s any young players who are set to redshirt, but might see action in at least some of the four remaining games? They are allowed to play in four games and preserve their redshirt status.
“You know, I think Maddox Lassiter — we talked about him this morning — I think he’ll be a guy that at least comes in and starts playing some special teams for us,” Pittman said. “We’ve also talked about Malachi Singleton. And not only, not as a quarterback necessarily right now, but as something. Whether it be helping us on special teams or somewhere because he’s very talented. Big athlete. The rest of the guys, we would have either played them already or don’t have a lot of plans to get them involved at this time.”
As a senior at Warren, Lassiter passed for 2,221 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also rushed 142 times for 1,115 yards and 16 touchdowns. On defense, Lassiter had 161 tackles, two sacks, five quarterback hurries, a pair of forced fumbles, couple of pass breakups and two interceptions. Pittman responded positive when asked if Lassiter is someone who might earn a scholarship in time?
“A very good possibility of that,” Pittman said. “I mean, he comes from Warren, Arkansas. Bo Hembree and those guys, I mean they’re tough down there. He plays from in the state, it means something to him, and Bo was very high on him out of high school and called and asked us to look at him. We obviously did. He’s a good player. He’s tough, you know, and very, very, very physical.”
Arkansas has had great success with many former players from Warren. Jarius Wright, Treylon Burks, Chris Gragg, Greg Childs and others have enjoyed immense success with the Hogs.
As far as Florida this Saturday, it appears that Raheim “Rocket” Sanders is closing in on playing. The running back returned to practice Monday after missing the past two games. He has played in three games this season. Pittman was asked Wednesday what he has to do to be cleared to play on Saturday?
“Probably just another couple of days of consistency,” Pittman said. “Flashes that I’ve seen, I feel really good about him being able to play, but just another couple of days of consistency. Today is a big third down day for us. How is he going to protect and things of that nature. Just the whole week, of what the whole Monday through Thursday encompasses, but the first two days I feel confident that he will be able to go out there and help us.”
If Sanders plays will he be on a restricted number of plays?
“I think usually in younger kids you’re probably protecting them a little bit more,” Pittman said. “Rocket, he knows his own body, and I think we’ll just listen to him if gets to that point. We’ll let him be the guy that decides whether he needs a break or not.”
Pittman talked about how Sanders and the other running backs have adjusted to Kenny Guiton’s offense.
“I thought we were a little slow, hesitant,” Pittman said. “I thought everything was, but I thought we were as well on the quarterback exchange from the running back, so the holes that we’ve been opening up, they’ve closed pretty fast for us. We’ve got to get there faster. They’ve adjusted that, I believe. We haven’t really changed anything other than we’ve cut down and tried to figure out what we can do well and we’re going to try to do that. So there’s been positives about that. Had a really good team run period yesterday on offense. I’m attributing it to we’re running less plays and hoping we can run them better.”
Overall, Pittman feels the team has adjusted well to Guiton and is pleased with the progress in the offense this week.
“The way that they practiced would be the No. 1 thing,” Pittman said. “Practices were moving faster, were more physical. That may have something to do with a lot of other coaches as well, but you can feel it a little bit that the kids have embraced change. I’m saying a lot of that is probably because of Kenny.”
Arkansas and Florida will kickoff at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPN2.