Hogs: Wise earns SEC honor; RB J. Williams has future bright; more notes
FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas' entire offensive line and defensive end Deatrich Wise netted honors Monday.
Sr RB J. WILLIAMS
The Razorbacks starting offensive line of senior center Mitch Smothers, senior guard Sebastian Tretola, sophomore guard Frank Ragnow and junior tackles Denver Kirkland and Dan Skipper are among six offensive lines considered as finalists for the Joe Moore Award.
A new award in honor of the late Joe Moore, renowned offensive line coach at Notre Dame and the University of Pittsburgh, the Joe Moore Award is voted postseason to the best offensive line in the country.
Arkansas is a finalist along with SEC West champion Alabama, Big Ten division champions Iowa and Michigan State, Pac 12 division champion Stanford and Notre Dame.
Under Arkansas coach Bret Bielema and line coach Sam Pittman, Smothers, Tretola, Ragnow, Kirkland and Skipper have started every game for the 7-5 Razorbacks and seldom rested with more than 800 plays together, according to the Razorbacks' sports information department.
Arkansas yielded the fewest sacks in the SEC, while senior quarterback Brandon Allen passed for 3,125 yards and 29 touchdowns. The bog Hogs run-blocked junior running back Alex Collins to a 1,392 yards rushing and 17 TDs with a bowl game still to play.
Wise, the fourth-year junior defensive end from Carrolton, Texas, was named the SEC Co-Defensive Lineman of the Week by the SEC Office for his performance in the Razorbacks' 28-3 SEC victory last week over Missouri. Wise registered two sacks, a forced fumble and two QB hurries, harassing Mizzou QB Drew Lock into incomplete passes.
While a Liberty Bowl invitation Jan. 2 against a Big 12 team seems most likely for Arkansas, the Razorbacks won't officially know their bowl destination until Sunday after the college playoff teams are determined.
In the meantime, Bielema and most of the staff are recruiting, but a skeleton crew will work out the Razorbacks in some fashion this week.
"We'll work them on Tuesday and Thursday," Bielema said. "It is a nice little break."
Senior running back Jonathan Williams is receiving the extra explanatory NFL attention he deserves after nearly turning pro last season only to break his foot during an August preseason scrimmage. Williams missed the entire 2015 season after he had been elected captain.
Williams has a Razorbacks redshirt season available for 2016, if he wishes, and is getting all the NFL information he needs to make a decision, presumably will be to turn pro.
Williams has accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl, which automatically makes him a professional if he plays in that January all-star game in Mobile, Ala.
"I've got to give a lot of credit to the NFL," Bielema said. "I talked to a few people and just said, ‘hey, I've got a unique scenario here. So we got the names of a couple GMs and they're going to reach out to J-Will. There's certain things they can and cannot say. I think he's at a certain point where he's pretty peaceful in what he's going to do. Unless there's some surprising news that comes our way, I think he's played his last game."
Williams, as captain, has gone to the coin toss for most home games in street clothes, wore his full uniform for the first time this season to be introduced with his fellow seniors during last Friday's Senior Day ceremonies before the Arkansas-Missouri game.
"I suggested that he put the uniform on and jog out," Bielema said. "I think that's the memory he'll want in those pictures 10, 15, 20 years from now. I'm not saying he was smiling ear to ear, but there was a big grin under his face mask when he was going to jog out on the field one more time. And then he broke down, too. But he's got a bright future, man. However it's going to pan out, I'd bet a lot of money on him."