Arkansas wide receiver Marquel Wade
At the risk of sounding like "Captain Obvious," it's been a tumultuous offseason at Arkansas.
The latest incident to cause sleepless nights in Fayetteville was the arrest of three players—including wide receiver Marquel Wade—for residential burglary earlier this month.
According to Chris Bahn of ArkansasSports360.com, head coach John L. Smith told the Northwest Arkansas Razorback Club on Wednesday that the three players were not enrolled in school this summer and were not taking part in football activities.
"They’re not a part of this football team until this thing gets cleared up or they may never be a part," Smith told the club. "We’ll just have to wait and see."
If Wade isn't welcomed back to the team, it would be a big loss for Arkansas. But just how big?
Wade emerged as the heir-apparent to the wide receiver spot formerly occupied by Joe Adams this spring. He caught six passes in Arkansas' spring game for 136 yards and one touchdown.
So how does Arkansas cope without him? Rely on the running game, of course.
Knile Davis is a legitimate Heisman trophy candidate if he stays healthy. Combined with Dennis Johnson and Ronnie Wingo Jr., Arkansas has one of the deepest and most experienced backfields in the country.
Davis' return to the lineup dictates a more run-based offense anyway, and Wade's absence would only force more of an emphasis on the run—which is something that Arkansas can handle.
Plus, it's not like Arkansas is devoid of talent at receiver. Cobi Hamilton is more than capable of picking up the slack. He was recently named to Phil Steele's First-Team All-SEC team, and has big-time star potential.
Tight end Chris Gragg is an absolute monster that finds holes in the defense and is sneaky-fast in the open field.
Wade's status with the Hogs is in doubt, but if he doesn't return, it wouldn't be a huge loss. Simply put, Arkansas is loaded with offensive weapons, and offensive coordinator Paul Petrino knows how to get the most out of them.