FAYETTEVILLE — Jadon Haselwood said he knows there will never be another Treylon Burks in the University of Arkansas wideout corps.
Burks, considered a potential first-round NFL Draft pick, racked up highlight-reel catches and plays the past two seasons and amassed 66 catches for 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns in 12 games last season.
But Haselwood, 6-3, 211 pounds, said he understands Arkansas fans look to him to shoulder a lot of the productions the Razorbacks will miss with Burks headed to NFL pastures.
The only 5-star wideout in Arkansas football history, Haselwood came to campus amid hoopla and expectations as a transfer from Oklahoma who was rated the No. 4 recruit in the country by Rivals in 2019. Burks’ massive stats were one of the many reasons Haselwood thing the Razorbacks.
“That was part of the reason why I came here,” Haselwood said Thursday in his first interview session with members of the Arkansas media since enrolling in January. “Of course, Treylon Burks is one of a kind and I know everyone expects me to fill his shoes. But you know, like I said, he’s one of a kind. So I’m just trying to get in where I fit in and make plays with the team.”
Haselwood’s speed, agility and catch-making ability have been on display throughout the eight spring practices for the Razorbacks. He’s had at least three one-hand catches, including a left-handed beauty on the sideline from Malik Hornsby on Tuesday.
Haselwood sailed past broken coverage and hauled in a 45-plus yard scoring pass from KJ Jefferson in Thursday’s indoor practice with the wind tasting hard outside the Walker Pavilion.
The soft-spoken Haselwood already knew Arkansas running backs coach Jimmy Smith, who was his high school head coach at Cedar Grove. Ga., in the Atlanta suburbs. He also knew third-year Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman as a one-time Georgia commit when Pittman was the Bulldogs’ offensive line coach.
Arkansas fans were none too pleased when former receiver Mike Woods transferred to Oklahoma one year ago for his senior season, but Woods gave Haselwood a plus Razorback recommendation.
“For sure, Mike Woods is one of my closest friends,” Haselwood said. “When he transferred to OU, we took him in as a brother, and it’s always going to remain the same.
“So, yeah, of course. He was one of the guys I did come to and ask how did he feel. And he told me like, ‘Yeah bro, it’d probably be a great fit for you,’ and I just went with that.”
Haselwood’s first step after entering the transfer portal was getting in touch with Smith, whose recruiting excellence has opened eyes across the SEC.
“I actually reached out to him first, because he was kind of like a role model in my life in high school,” Haselwood said. “He kind of grew me up and made me who I am today. So I just came to him for advice and he didn’t even really put that pressure on me to even look toward any other school and I just figured it out and came here.”
Haselwood compared his receiving style to DeAndre Hopkins, the Clemson product and current Arizona Cardinal.
“I can run routes and stuff like that,” he said. “I’m trying to work on getting my speed back, you know? Just … get more crisp at route running, getting more comfortable really more so with the offense. Just try to learn as much as I can.”
Haselwood’s role in the receiving corps was evident Thursday when he took the leadoff role in a series of “gauntlet drill” sprints across the Walker Pavilion turf. The receivers took a pass at one sideline, quickly turned 180 degrees in place to catch another pass, then hauled it across the 53 1/3-yard width of the field, catching three more hard-thrown passes from one side to the next before receivers coach Kenny Guiton fired a final fastball at them straight on as they exited the other sideline.
The exertions and exclamations by the receivers indicated the intensity of the drill, which is a staple at the NFL Scouting Combine, though not in the rapid succession the Razorbacks displayed.
Haselwood touted Jefferson’s ability to throw a touch pass and drop in deep balls as he displayed last season, but he preferred not to compare the Arkansas junior with others from his past.
“I can’t really compare those quarterbacks. They’re all different styles, you know, different conferences,” he said. “So you really can’t compare those, but I’d say I’ve played with some great talent and I’m excited for what’s in store for me and KJ.”
Pitman recently touted the growing length of Arkansas receivers, adding 6-2 quarterback Malik Hornsby into his assessment with a group that includes 6-3 Warren Thompson and Jaedon Wilson, 6-2 Ketron Jackson and Quincey McAdoo, and 6-4 Landon Rogers.
“I like long receivers and you look out there with [Jackson] and Warren and Haselwood and Malik when he’s out there, there’s some big, tall receivers,” Pittman said. “We went into the portal and tried to build in that aspect as well.”