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Linebackers bolstered by late addition

By Nate Allen

This article was published August 4, 2014 at 2:59 a.m.

arkansas-linebackers-coach-randy-shannon-talks-with-reporters-following-the-arkansas-razorbacks-national-signing-day-press-conference-at-the-fred-smith-center-in-fayetteville

Arkansas linebackers coach Randy Shannon talks with reporters following the Arkansas Razorbacks' national signing day press conference at the Fred Smith Center in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — Much has been made of the summertime addition of UNLV transfer Cameron Jefferson to Arkansas’ offensive line, but the Razorbacks also quietly added a junior-college transfer linebacker months after the February signing period.

Sophomore linebacker Josh Williams, 6-2, 240, has been in Fayetteville during the summer after transferring from Dodge City (Kan.) Community College and will be among the 105 Razorbacks participating in today’s start to the August preseason practice.

Williams is the latest Floridian recruited by second-year linebackers coach Randy Shannon, the former head coach at the University of Miami.

“Josh is from Fort Lauderdale Dillard High School and came in as a full qualifier,” Shannon said.

“He is one of those kids who was 190 pounds out of high school and a year later with the weight program in junior college he’s about 230,” Shannon said of Williams, who comes in as a full academic qualifier. “He’s a great addition to us. He’s a smart young man, does lot of great things on the field that we saw in junior college. He’s a fast, quick guy and he brings depth to the team and also competition.”

First-year defensive coordinator Robb Smith said he’ll have a better idea of where Williams fits in after the first week of training camp.

“After the first week of training camp we’ll have a better idea where he fits with the other people,” Smith said.

“It’s not just about Josh but about working with the other guys,” Smith said. “His summer has been great but the big test is coming here with training camp.”

As a true freshman last season, starting middle linebacker Brooks Ellis of Fayetteville was the most impactful 2013 addition to Arkansas’ linebackers.

Shannon said he expects continue improvement from Fayetteville’s Brooks Ellis, who took over as the starting middle linebacker for the final four games last season.

“Brooks has been doing a great job maturity wise,” Shannon said. “Coming in out of high school as Arkansas’ best linebacker and now he is coming in and learning a whole new system and he has got that under his belt. He’s grown a lot, he’s competitive and he’s smart.”

Junior Otha Peters made an impact as a freshman in 2012, was set back by injuries last season but has practiced his way into the thick of it again.

“Otha did well this spring,” Shannon said. “He has cut some weight down and looks trim. He’s faster than he was last year, which is a tremendous help to us and to him.”

He’s excited about getting back into it. And we are excited for him.Senior Tiquention Coleman is one of the busiest Raz0rbacks, bouncing back and forth between safety and linebacker.

Senior second-year junior college transfer become linebacker/safety hybrid Tiquention Coleman may require cloning just to attend all the position meetings whether with Shannon or in the secondary with new defensive backfield coach Clayton Jennings.

“T.Q. has been in the secondary meetings, he has been in the linebacker meetings,” Smith said of Coleman, who is in his second season with the Razorbacks as a junior-college transfer. “He’s a guy that gives a little flexibility that provides some matchups against some spread teams. He’s not afraid to stop the run but he still has some coverage skills with the secondary guys that can help us in space.”

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