However, Arkansas had a down 2022 season after its 2021 campaign seemed to spark a new era for the program under Sam Pittman. The Razorbacks slumped to a 7-6 mark after a 9-4 record the year prior.
But the two potential All-SEC first teamers are excited for this year. The team chemistry is no doubt one of the reasons why.
“We feel like we’re a new team because each and every day we come out here and embrace each other as a brotherhood,” Jefferson said after the Arkansas spring game. “Everybody’s buying into the process, and we’re trusting the coaches. Then we just come together. Everybody just coming together, buying in. No one’s complaining. No one’s trying to cut corners, take the easy way. Everybody’s working, coming in on off days working, helping each other more. I’d say that’s the big thing is everybody’s helping each other more. If somebody’s struggling, before the coaches even say something, the player’s already seen in his ears coaching him up. Things like that just translate over for the future just knowing that we’re on the right path.”
Sanders added to Jefferson’s answer an addendum giving credit to the Razorbacks strength staff. He said they have made a huge difference getting the team prepared and motivated.
“It started with the strength staff,” Sanders said. “I feel like they keeping us accountable with time management. They put that on us. I feel like they came came in big, came in handy as well.”
Raheim Sanders is On3’s No. 4 running back in the country
While KJ Jefferson is set to be one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC, Rocket Sanders could be one of the best running backs in the entire country this season.
Sanders ranks fourth in On3’s preseason top-10 list of running backs. The only players he’s behind are Michigan running back Blake Corum, Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins, and Penn State running back Nick Singleton.
“Affectionately dubbed ‘Rocket,’ Sanders exploded onto the scene as a sophomore after getting decent run as a freshman in 2021,” On3’s report reads. “He doubled his carries but nearly tripled his yardage output from freshman to sophomore season, totaling 1,443 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. He also caught 28 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns, flexing his versatility.”
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