Arkansas Football: What You Need to Know About Razorbacks' Senior Leaders
After only their third 11-win season in school history, the Arkansas Razorbacks are looking to bring home a national championship for the first time since 1964.
With a new coach at the helm and a fanbase ready to explode in excitement, the Razorbacks are heading into the 2012 season as serious national championship contenders.
Although they lost three of their best receivers and two of their best defenders to graduation, the Hogs still have the depth and the experience to win a national championship.
Unfortunately for them, they play in the SEC; but as strong as the competition is in college football's toughest conference, the Razorbacks will be able to play with the best in the nation.
Let's take a look at five seniors who will help lead Arkansas back to championship glory in 2012.
After Jarius Wright, Greg Childs and Joe Adams were taken in this year's NFL draft, Cobi Hamilton will be the top wideout in Arkansas this season.
Hamilton caught a solid 34 passes for 542 yards last season and was a key contributor to the Razorbacks' success.
This season, as Tyler Wilson's premier receiver, Hamilton will have the opportunity show the nation he is one of the best in the country.
In 2011 he only had two games with at least five catches, but this year will be different. He won't put up Robert Woods-type numbers, but he has the potential to become a Biletnikoff Award-winning receiver by season's end.
At 6'3'', 236 pounds, tight end Chris Gragg will be another great target for Tyler Wilson in 2012.
During his junior season, Gragg put up respectable numbers against vicious SEC defenses, and had a season-best eight catches for 119 yards and a touchdown against Mississippi State.
This season, with the Razorbacks' top three receivers gone to the NFL, Gragg will be counted on more than ever to help carry the load.
In 2010 he only caught eight passes, and the next season he caught 41. At this rate, who knows how many catches he'll finish with by season's end.
Alonzo Highsmith Jr.
The dangerous Arkansas linebacker core will be anchored by Alonzo Highsmith Jr. in 2012.
Highsmith, who finished 2011 with 80 tackles, 4.5 sacks and an interception, was one of the most consistent defenders for the Razorbacks last season.
His best game came against Auburn when he totaled 12 tackles in Arkansas' 38-14 victory over the reigning national champions.
Highsmith will help lead a tough Arkansas defense that finished the 2011 season 33rd in the country in points against.
The all-purpose senior Dennis Johnson heads into the 2012 season as a triple threat for the Razorbacks.
During his junior year, Johnson finished with 670 rushing yards, 255 receiving yards and 461 return yards. He'll enter his senior season as Arkansas' all-time leader in total return yards and kickoff returns.
Johnson's best game last season was his 160 yards on 15 carries against Ole Miss. He also scored a touchdown in the Razorbacks' 29-24 victory over the Rebels.
As a senior, he'll help Knile Davis dominate the backfield as Arkansas looks to finally get over the hump and win the SEC championship.
With as much talent as Johnson has, his versatile skill set will continue to cause nightmares for opposing defenses.
After a tremendously successful season where he was the first Arkansas quarterback to finish All-SEC, Tyler Wilson will look to solidify his name in the Razorback record books in 2012.
It wasn't an easy task to replace Ryan Mallett, but Wilson made the job look simple as he finished his junior year with over 3,600 yards and 24 touchdowns.
In the Cotton Bowl against Kansas State, Wilson finished 20-of-31 with 216 yards and a pair of touchdowns. They weren't exactly numbers that will blow anybody away, but he finished the game with a QB rating of 144.3 and most importantly, a Razorback win.
Now, with all of the SEC light shining on him, Wilson will have the opportunity to improve his draft stock even more as he looks to lead Arkansas into the national championship discussion.