Kjerstad -a 2020 Preseason All-American- got off to a resounding start for the Razorbacks this spring, batting .448 through 16 games. The All-SEC outfielder finished his career with a .967 fielding percentage. He also blasted 37 home runs, which ranks seventh all-time in school history. If Kjerstad goes in the first round of this year’s draft, he will become the school’s first since current Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi was selected seventh overall in the 2015 MLB Draft.
Bret Bielema is gone and first-year head coach Chad Morris is now the head man in charge in Little Rock. Morris spent three seasons at SMU, amassing a 14-22 overall record and an 8-16 record in the American Athletic Conference. Things won’t get any easier in the SEC but Morris will have some pieces to work with. Offensively, senior left guard Hjalte Froholdt (6’5, 315) and sophomore running back Chase Hayden (5’10, 200) will be tasked with making plays in the running game. Froholdt has started 25 straight games at guard after transitioning from the defensive line. Hayden finished the 2017 season with 326 yards and four touchdowns on 61 carries before suffering a leg fracture in October. Defensively, the linebackers are the position group of strength. Junior linebacker De’Jon Harris and senior linebacker Dre Greenlaw (6’0, 227) have the talent to transition to new defensive coordinator John Chavis’ 4-3 defense after playing in the 3-4 in 2017. Chavis comes from Texas A&M after spending five years at LSU. The new defensive coordinator is used to coaching in the SEC and his units consistently produce NFL draft picks. In a season which could include its bumps and bruises, expect the Razorbacks defense to adapt quicker than its offense.
Troy’s player to watch
Game of the season
Former Missouri wide receiver J’Mon Moore sat down with DraftNasty to talk about bouncing back, route running and what makes him such a dangerous receiver after the catch. The 6-foot-3, 207-pound Moore averaged 15.7 yards per reception with 21 touchdowns during his career. He eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in each of his last two seasons on campus.
DN: Your straight-stem (as a route runner) and not having a lot of wasted movement is very important. What have you worked on to improve that?
Moore: Just one of the things that I always work on when I think about route running is trying to play as low as possible. Because I know I’m a tall, long guy. I think about the best way to get to my depth without giving away anything and then kind of switching it up at the top of the route.
DN: When you catch the football, you run angry after the catch. Who did you kind of grow up and pattern that after?
Moore: Growing up, I played a little bit of running back. I played in the streets of Houston and we used to do sideline-kill. Once you get in that grass, I didn’t like getting tackled. I used to just run mad. Usually when I get the ball, I kind of run with a type of aggression because I don’t like to be tackled. So, I kinda think that aggression just came from me growing up. It started at a young age.
DN: Back-to-back seasons with 1,000 yards. You played with a quarterback (Drew Lock) who set an SEC record for touchdown passes. You were the No. 1 receiver but Emanuel Hall this year also showcased his speed. Former triple jump guy. Who’s the fastest out of you and Emanuel Hall?
Moore: I give it to E-Man (Hall). E-Man’s a track guy. Let him have that one.
DN: But it seems like you’re a 4.4-guy?
Moore: Yes sir, I’ve got some speed to. But Emanuel is elite speed. That’s him. He’s got that straight-line speed. I got the straight-line speed but I got that lateral too, side-to-side. I can get a little shifty. I’ve got some good body control.
DN: Absolutely. Who was the toughest corner you’d say you went against?
Moore: Toughest corner. I want to give a shot out to that Florida corner. He’s young, can’t remember his name (CJ Henderson). He’s going to be good. The best corner that I saw…um, I like Lammons.
DN: South Carolina (Chris Lammons).
Moore: I like him. He was a pretty good cat. He did his thing. That was kind of one of my bad games, but I liked his style.
DN: If you were to say that there was a game that the scouts come up and say, ‘This is a game that I want you to watch’, and maybe if they ask you why, what game would that be?
Moore: Game that I want somebody to watch. Uh, I wanna say…Florida was a good game. But, I’ll tell them to turn on the Arkansas game, even though I had a lot of drops that game. That was the game I had the most drops. Even though I dropped the ball like that, I was still able to be focused. I didn’t let those drops get to me. I just moved forward from them, I stayed in the game.
DN: And you’re referring to that back-shoulder catch at the end of the game.
Moore: Yes sir. I was just able to put those drops to the side and not let them build on me and mess up my whole flow of the game. So, I think I did good with the adversity during the Arkansas game.
DN: What’s your best route? The deep stops on the outside, you do those pretty well.
Moore: I’m like a double-move guy. Really, I like any double move. I like slant, sluggo (slant-and-go), I like post-corners, corner-posts, whatever. I like double moves. I like those kind of routes.
DN: Well, you’re going to get an opportunity this week man (Senior Bowl). Want to wish you the best.
Moore: Yes sir.
–DraftNasty staff reports, 2018 Senior Bowl