Hogs: 3 earn scholarships; 5-star Agim practices; injury report; more notes
FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas junior punter Toby Baker comes home to Memphis with a scholarship when the Razorbacks play in the Liberty Bowl there on Jan. 2 against the Kansas State Wildcats.
Baker, a fourth-year junior walk-on from Memphis University High, sophomore walk-on defensive lineman Karl Roesler and junior walk-on linebacker Nicholas Thomas-Smith have been placed on scholarship for the spring semester, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema announced.
Bielema praised all three for their work ethic, perseverance and improvement.
Baker and Roesler have played significantly this season. Last year behind graduated punter Sam Irwin-Hill, Baker punted once, a line drive returned as far as he punted it.
This year as the regular punter, Baker averaged 41.3 yards on 42 punts with a long punt of 52 yards and placed 22 inside the 20 yard-line.
A reserve defensive end and a surprise starter in the 31-14 SEC victory at LSU as a strongside linebacker, Roesler played in every game and logged 15 tackles, including three behind the line for minus 18 yards.
HOG DL COACH RORY SEGREST
SEGREST COACHES BOTH
Rory Segrest coaches both as the defensive line and kickers coach.
"As far as Toby is concerned, we joked around." Segrest said, since Bielema presented the scholarships at Friday's team awards banquet.
"He took one rep last year and really didn't quite get the job done like we wanted to. Just what he has done over the course of the offseason to put him els in posits to have the success he has had this year.... and really Karl a lot of the same. Karl has been very consistent. He works his butt off. He gives us a lot of different things. He has been a great pass-rusher for us when we get in passing situations and that game against LSU he started at Sam. He can do some different things. Both of those guys will continue to help us."
HOPE FROM HOPE
Segrest had a new lineman to work with Saturday.
Eligible for the on-campus bowl practices, though not for the bowl game or even the bowl practices at Memphis, 5-star recruit McTelvin Agim of Hope practiced Saturday with the Razorbacks as a mid-term high school graduate who has signed a letter of financial agreement with the UA.
Agim will be UA student for the spring semester, starting in January and go through the off-season program and spring practice.
"He had a great day today, and he doesn't even know how to line up in our base defense," Segrest said. "Just to throw him in the fire today and watch him move around a little bit from a physical standpoint, he is going to bring a lot to the table. He's a big guy with a lot of athleticism and great speed. I think he is going to have a great career here at Arkansas."
Bielema said no freshman ever arrived more hyped to debut in practice.
"He was here three hours ahead of time to get taped," Bielema said. "So I know I got a guy who loves it."
Agim, Bielema said, has to be among the first, if not the first, to practice in college then play another high school game.
"He's practiced with us and he's playing the Under Armour game," Bielema said.
FROHOLDT BACK; RAMSEY MAYBE
Freshman defensive tackle Hjalte Froholdt, who missed the 28-3 regular-season finale win over Missouri with a foot injury, is healthy and practicing, Segrest said.
Academically ineligible for this 2015 season, sophomore linebacker Randy Ramsey of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is striving to regain eligibility, Bielema said.
"I told him the steps he needed to make to let those things happen and really now he is in the process of what he's done," Bielema said. "In addition to what status we are going to be at if he comes back or not. To his credit he did do some things to get back himself in favor if everything pans out. Everything that I have been told he should be back to being eligible status. So if he can't play here, he should be able to play somewhere else."
KENDRICK JACKSON STILL FULLBACK
The Razorbacks spent three days working on K-State, but after an "exceptional" Friday practice, Bielema said, used Saturday for a developmental practice with the redshirts and seldom-used reserves.
Bielema indicated late season that freshman Kendrick Jackson, recruited out of Haynesville, La., as a linebacker but pressed into service at fullback as the season began, would play some linebacker in the developmental practices.
However "he has been working fullback with us," running backs coach Jemal Singleton said. "We have needs at both position groups. But right now he is a fullback. He meets with me, and I coach him on the field. He is developing and getting better every day."
The Razorbacks are off Sunday and Monday, practice Tuesday through Thursday, off Christmas then reassemble Sunday in Fayetteville and bus to Memphis.