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Six Razorbacks named to 2022 Senior Bowl watch list

Arkansas LB Bumper Pool was named the Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week
Arkansas LB Bumper Pool was named the Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week(Source: KATV)
Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 3:59 PM CDT
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A sextuplet of Razorbacks are on the watch list for the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl.

Arkansas defensive back Montaric Brown, offensive lineman Myron Cunningham, linebacker Grant Morgan, linebacker Bumper Pool, defensive lineman John Ridgeway and running back Trelon Smith each earned spots on the watch list, which was released Thursday morning.

The Reese’s Senior Bowl, the nation’s most prestigious college all-star game, annually serves as the first step of the NFL Draft process. This year’s game will be held February 5, 2022, in Mobile, Ala., and broadcast on the NFL Network. Practices will be live on ESPN, and the NFL Network will host a daily recap show each evening in prime time.

Brown, a redshirt senior, played and started in eight games at cornerback in 2020, logging 31 tackles (20 solo) with 2.0 tackles for loss, one interception and a forced fumble. The Ashdown, Ark., native led the Razorbacks with six pass breakups on the year.

Cunningham, a preseason All-SEC honoree, anchored Arkansas’ offensive line at left tackle last year, starting all 10 games while playing 705 snaps – the most of any Razorback. The redshirt senior from Warren, Ohio, produced four games with an 80-plus passing grade, allowed only two sacks and was flagged just four times during the 2020 campaign.

Morgan, meanwhile, is no stranger to the limelight this preseason. The redshirt senior is a candidate for the Bednarik Award, Butkus Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy as well as a preseason All-SEC selection headed into the 2021 campaign after emerging as one of the best players in all of college football last year by producing one of the greatest seasons in Arkansas history.

The Greenwood, Ark., product, who was named a Walter Camp and AFCA Second Team All-American following the 2020 campaign, posted an SEC-leading 111 total tackles, including 7.5 for loss, with 2.0 sacks. The linebacker finished tied for the nation’s lead in tackles per game (12.3) while intercepting one pass, breaking up five and registering one quarterback hurry. Originally a walk-on, Morgan joined Martrell Spaight (2014) as the only two Razorback defenders to garner both AP and Coaches All-SEC recognition in the last 10 seasons.

Pool, who was also tabbed to this year’s preseason watch list for the Butkus Award, grabbed second-team All-SEC recognition last season and was a Lott IMPACT Trophy semifinalist. The senior from Lucas, Texas, played in nine games a year ago and finished second on the team in tackles (101), including 6.5 tackles for loss. Averaging 11.2 tackles per game, Pool ranked second in the SEC and ninth nationally.

Ridgeway joined the Razorbacks this past spring as a graduate transfer from Illinois State (FCS), where he spent the first four years of his collegiate career. A first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selection last season, the Bloomington, Ill., native led the Redbirds in tackles with 22 (14 solo), including 3.0 tackles for loss, while logging one pass breakup and an interception.

Smith, a redshirt junior, produced a team-best 710 rushing yards with five touchdowns on 134 carries (5.3 avg.) out of the backfield in 2020. The Houston, Texas, native played in all 10 games with four starts, finishing with the squad’s third-most catches (22) for 159 yards and one score while tallying the second-most all-purpose yards (869) on the Razorbacks.

The tailback, who was also named to the watch list for the Doak Walker Award and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award this preseason, registered his first career 100-yard rushing game at Florida last season, gashing the Gators for 118 yards on eight carries as well as his first career rushing score. His career-long 83-yard touchdown run against Florida stands as Arkansas’ longest touchdown run against an SEC opponent since Joe Adams’ 92-yard run in 2011 against Auburn.

The Razorbacks open the season at home against former Southwest Conference rival Rice at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 4, on SEC Network+/ESPN+. Season tickets are available now and can be purchased here or by calling the Razorback Ticket Center at (479) 575-5151.