FAYETTEVILLE — Redshirt sophomore tight end Var’keyes Gumms is making a quick adjustment to Arkansas and that is good news for Morgan Turner and the Hogs.
Gumms transferred in following the 2022 season from North Texas where he was named second-team All-America by The Athletic. Gumms played in 14 games with six starts last fall. He caught 34 passes for 458 yards and five touchdowns. Gumms said Monday he is making the most of his time with the Hogs.
“For me, I just came in ready to work, came in ready to adapt,” Gumms said. “It’s been good as in coming in during the summer time got some good work and started to learn the offense and now going into fall camp, going over the install against and still learning from here and getting better every day.”
Turner likes what he has seen from Gumms.
“He’s picking it up really well,” Turner said. “The guys, they worked really hard over the summer (in) the play-led practices and you can really see that paying off when they’re jumping in at the start of fall camp and he’s hitting the ground running. It’s no Day 1 learning.”
Turner was asked if Gumms and standout true freshman Luke Hasz have a lot of the same characteristics at tight end?
“I think they bring some of the same things,” Turner said. “They have different traits, different physical abilities. Keyes, he’s been in college a little longer, so he’s had a lot more time in the weight room. But Luke’s doing a nice job in all of that stuff, too. They’re both really working. We’re going to use both of them a lot of ways.”
As indicated by his redshirt freshman season at North Texas, Gumms can be a force in the passing game.
“Yeah I think so,” Turner said. “We’re not there with the detail and how we’re going to use guys and certain things. But he’s at the point where we’re going to trust him. I mean, he’s got good hands, gets open. So there’s a lot of things we’ll be able to do.”
Gumms feels that his numbers while good at North Texas should be even better with the Hogs.
“I feel like I can put up way more numbers than I did at North Texas,” Gumms said. “The way Coach (Dan) Enos calls the game plan and the way this offense is made around tight ends, I can see myself going for way more than that.”
When Gumms hit the transfer portal he had several schools in pursuit. It came down to Arkansas or California. He credited Sam Pittman and other factors for choosing Arkansas.
“Coach Pittman, and I had just seen the offense,” Gumms said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, this has got to be the place for tight ends. It fits tight ends well.
“What sold me on Arkansas, it was a lot. Coming out of high school I had some big offers that they pulled away from me that I plan on seeing during the season. And then again, the offense is just perfect for tight ends. It kind of fit the offense I came from in North Texas with all the two tight end sets.”
Quarterback KJ Jefferson has praised Gumms in the press conferences he was available. Gumms has likewise been impressed with Jefferson.
“Catching passes with KJ, he’s real accurate with the ball,” Gumms said. “He can see the whole field because he’s like 6-4, so he can see the whole field. Real accurate with the ball. I’m just getting in and trying to learn the offense and getting better every day.”
Gumms likes the coaching style of Turner who produced several NFL tight ends at Stanford.
“He’s more of a teacher instead of a yeller,” Gumms said. “He teaches first. He don’t do too much yelling because when he teaches it to you, you should get it by the end and you shouldn’t make the same mistake again.”
Arkansas will return to the practice fields on Tuesday morning.