Arkansas has always been known as a run-first team.
This was true during the Broyles era and the Holtz era. During the Hatfield era, it seems it's all Arkansas did. Between Hatfield and Nutt, Arkansas floundered around with three coaches in six years, but even still, they weren't known for their passing attack during those years either. And Nutt spent most of his offensive resources on the run game too.
For that reason and some others, Arkansas has never really had truly great receivers. I know Marcus Monk was good and so was Derek Russell and Anthony Lucas. But overall, Arkansas has had precious few receivers taken in the upper rounds, or any round for that matter, of the NFL draft.
That may be about to change given better recruits and a higher emphasis on the passing game. I mentioned in my article on the Razorback running attack that Chris Low of ESPN's SEC Blog rates Arkansas' stable of running backs the second best in the SEC.
Well, coincidentally enough, he ranks Arkansas' receivers as third. As such, Arkansas joins Florida as the only schools with both their running backs and receiving units in the top three of the conference. That's some powerful potential.
If the offensive line does half of a job this year, Arkansas will score at will and other teams will have to worry about keeping up.
But, unlike years past, there really isn't a go-to guy that's clearly head and shoulders above the others...yet. It's more of a committee thing at this point. But here are the players:
Joe Adams—This guy is rumored to be Arkansas' answer to Julio Jones of Alabama or A.J. Green of Georgia. He is a breakout guy and had a dynamite spring and fall camp.
Gregg Childs and Chris Gragg—These two both caught clutch fourth down passes early in their careers (they were both freshmen last year). They are two of the better receivers from Petrino's first recruiting class.
London Crawford—He had a tendency to drop the ball through the early part of his career. However, Petrino's emphasis on improving the pass game helped Crawford with both route-running and holding on to the ball. Catching the game winning pass on the last play of the season against LSU last year will bode well for him as he enters his senior year.
D.J. Williams—D.J. is considered by many experts to be the best tight end in the nation. He catches, blocks, shows good sportsmanship, and is just what you want off the field in a student-athlete. The community loves him.
Ben Cleveland—Ben's had numerous injuries in his career but his ceiling is as high as D.J.'s. With him healthy, Arkansas has the best tight end tandem in the nation.