Beth Hall/Associated Press
WR Keon Hatcher
Starter: JR Keon Hatcher
Backup: FR Jared Cornelius
Starter: RS SR Demetrius Wilson
Backup: RS SO Eric Hawkins
What was a huge concern heading into the offseason could now be a strength for the offense. Bielema watched as a number of wideouts stepped up and showed they can make big contributions in the spring.
Several receivers could play their way onto the two-deep depth chart, so this is probably the hardest position to predict. Because there are quite a few possibilities, we will leave out JoJo Robinson for now, a highly touted 4-star receiver, per 247Sports, who will arrive in the fall and has a good shot at contributing early.
The most concrete in the lineup is Keon Hatcher, who is the top returning wideout from last year. He really came on toward the end of the season, finishing with 27 catches, 346 yards and two touchdowns. He was one of, if not the most, consistent wideouts on the team this spring and had a team-leading five receptions in the Red-White Game. He will be the Razorbacks' No. 1 receiver in 2014.
Behind Hatcher, it gets more unclear.
Demetrius Wilson seems to be the safest bet to be the other starter. He looked like the best receiver on the team following spring practices last year, but he tore his ACL prior to the start of the season. Coaches held him out this spring to allow him to continue to heal. Even if he doesn't start, he will be one of the top wideouts because of his experience, playmaking ability and size.
Assuming Hatcher and Wilson start, the battle to back them up is where it gets really interesting.
You have the newcomers—Jared Cornelius and Cody Hollister—and the veterans—D'Arthur Cowan and Eric Hawkins.
Cornelius and Hollister, a JUCO transfer who will be a sophomore, both had outstanding springs. Hollister might just have the best hands of the group. He's a possession receiver who caught almost every pass thrown to him. He probably won't make the two-deep depth chart this year, but expect him to see the field quite often.
Fellow first-year Hog Cornelius displayed his playmaking ability all spring. He made acrobatic catches throughout and showed how dangerous he can be after the catch. When he has the ball in space, he uses his speed and elusiveness to turn small-to-moderate gains into first downs or big chunks of yardage.
Cowan picked the wrong time to have academic issues with a lot of guys stepping up. He can be a special player; however, it hurts that he missed out on most of the spring because of grades. He will have some catching up to do this fall, but luckily, he has experience.
The Hogs also have Hawkins, who caught a 45-yard touchdown pass in the spring game. He isn't a big guy (6'0", 180 pounds), but he has great speed and acceleration. He's another wideout who can stretch defenses with his speed. He is a good route-runner and looks ready to break through this year.
Arkansas also has sophomore Drew Morgan and redshirt freshman Damon Mitchell.
Morgan really looked impressive this spring and could be a dangerous slot option. He's a speedster and just seems to have a knack for getting separation from defenders. He recorded four catches for 39 yards in the spring game.
Mitchell, a converted quarterback, showed real promise at the wideout position. Bielema had some positive things to say about him to Trey Biddy of HawgSports.com (subscription required) after the spring game: "He said he was going to come back and try the wide receiver position. I think Saturday if you asked anybody leaving the stadium who made the biggest impression on them, he'd be one of two or three people."
There's no concrete answer for the wideouts' two-deep depth chart. That's a good thing though, because it means that a healthy competition is going on. The Razorbacks lacked playmakers at the position in 2013, but the group will be much stronger in 2014.