Newly hired secondary and defensive coach Dominique Bowman says the cornerback room is very competitive.
Four players compete for the two starting positions and contribute to the Razorbacks’ pass coverage. Last season the Hogs finished in the middle of the pack in the country for passing defense despite having one of the worst pass rushes in the conference.
The Razorbacks’ secondary lost players, multi-year starter Montaric Brown going to the NFL, and Greg Brooks Jr — who was expected to be one of the projected starters — transferred to LSU earlier this year. However, Sam Pittman and Bowman are confident in the current group.
“You have Hud and certainly have Malik Chavis. Those two guys are running most of the time out there with the 1s,” Pittman said. “Dwight McGlothern, and then you got Day Day (Bishop). Those guys are right there, and who knows what’s going to happen in the next 21 days.”
The Hogs still bring back a group that can create opportunities in the secondary. However, we will likely see four players rotating in the starting roles.
1. Hudson Clark, junior
Missouri receiver D’ionte ‘Boo’ Smith (31) is tackled by Arkansas cornerback Hudson Clark (17) for a loss during the second half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Clark has been one of the top players in the Razorbacks’ fall camp. An interception during a two-minute drill set the tone for the defensive backs. Joining the Hogs as a walk-on in 2020, he earned a scholarship after a three-interception performance against Ole Miss. Expect Hudson to be a favorite in the locker room and with the fans this season.
2. LaDarrius Bishop, senior
Nov 23, 2019; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. (6) carries the ball past Arkansas Razorbacks defensive back LaDarrius Bishop (24) during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Bishop is the most experienced cornerback in the group, with 13 starts and 34 games played in his career. Bishop has been running with the second unit, mainly due to him fighting off injuries during spring camp. A long with the most experience, he also may be the fastest of the group.
3. Malik Chavis, junior
FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS – NOVEMBER 06: Malik Chavis #4 of the Arkansas Razorbacks tackles Makai Polk #10 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the second half at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on November 06, 2021 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Bulldogs 31-28. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Chavis has experience at safety, but Bowman wants the junior defensive back at cornerback this season, and so far, Chavis has answered the call. Most of his snaps during fall camp have been with the first team opposite Clark.
4. Dwight McGlothern, junior
Jan 1, 2022; Tampa, FL, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks defensive back Joe Foucha (7) and defensive back Montaric Brown (21) celebrate after an interception during the second half against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the 2022 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
No available photos for McGlothern yet, since he is transferring from LSU. McGlothern has 6 starts under his belt from last season. As a four-star recruit out of Houston, McGlothern was close to committing to Arkansas in 2019. Bowman and the rest of the coaching staff is happy to have another corner on the depth chart with SEC experience.
5. Keuan Parker, redshirt freshman
Arkansas defensive back Keuan Parker (16) against Rice during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods).
Parker, a Tulsa product, has massive upside. But with the bodies in front of him, he may only see the field sporadically this year.
6. Khari Johnson, junior
Oct 23, 2021; Little Rock, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks defensive back Khari Johnson (19) attempts to block a field goal by Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions kicker Zack Piwniczka (61) during the fourth quarter at War Memorial Stadium. Arkansas won 45-3. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Johnson made his mark on special teams last year and saw several snaps on defense, too. He’s established out there, anyway, and could see more action in 2022.
Nickel No. 1 - Myles Slusher
Nov 26, 2021; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Missouri Tigers running back Tyler Badie (1) is tackled by Arkansas Razorbacks defensive back Myles Slusher (2) during the first quarter at Donald W. Reynolds Razorbacks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
With seven starts and 50 tackles last year, Slusher has plenty of experience for the Razorbacks as the expected starting nickel. He is a playmaker, too, having picked off two passes last year to go along with this three tackles for-loss.
Nickel No. 2 - Trent Gordon, senior
Oct 23, 2021; Little Rock, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks defensive back Trent Gordon (18) takes photos with fans after the game against the Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions at War Memorial Stadium. Arkansas won 45-3. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Gordon, a transfer from Penn State, saw action in eight games for the Hogs last year in his first year at Arkansas. That should grow if he holds on to the top back-up spot at nickel.