Who is listed as Arkansas’ key departure according to On3?

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The rise of quarterback KJ Jefferson is what has propelled Arkansas football to higher expectations heading into the 2022 season.

Jefferson completed 67% of his passes for 2,676 yards last season. His return has Razorbacks fans and the national media alike believing that Arkansas has a high chance of dethroning Alabama for the top spot in the SEC West.

While Jefferson has the talent to become one of the league’s best quarterbacks this fall, he can credit most of last season’s success to his No. 1 target, treylon burks.

Burks reeled in 1,104 yards last season, and was on the receiving end of 11 of Jefferson’s 21 touchdown passes last season. Burks has moved on to the NFL after being selected 18th overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2022 NFL Draft, leaving a huge spot to fill on offense.

On3 recently ranked listed the key departure for each program in the SEC West, whether it be due to the transfer portal or NFL Draft. For Arkansas, the selection is clearly Burks. On3 says that it will be hard to replicate the production that Burks handled in 2021, but believes that one playmaker will step up to fill that role.

Burks was the go-to playmaker for the Razorbacks, with Arkansas OC kendal briles force-feeding the ball to the 6-2, 225-pound wideout with bubble-screens, quick slants and pop passes. Burks graded out as the No. 1 receiver in the SEC, per Pro Football Focus, and 607 of his 1,110 yards came after the catch. Burks was also extremely sure-handed, dropping just three balls all season despite a heavy workload. The Hogs are hoping former 5-star Oklahoma transfer Jadon Haselwoodcan play a similar role but those are some major shoes to fill in 2022.

Who else joins Burks as one of the SEC West’s key departures? Here’s a look at On3’s picks:

Alabama- OT Evan Neal

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

What On3 says:

The former 5-star product out of IMG Academy developed from a hot-shot recruit into a fixture on Alabama’s offensive line and a Top 10 NFL Draft pick. Neal started at three different positions for the Tide, including serving as Bryce Young’s left tackle in 2021. Considering Alabama’s offensive line is one of its more pressing questions this fall (see: Having to poach an OT from Vanderbilt), having Neal still around would’ve certainly assuaged some of those concerns.

Auburn- QB Bo Nix

Jake Crandall/ The Montgomery Advertiser

What On3 says:

This was a tough decision because former AU cornerback Roger McCreary was an All-SEC player (league-high 14 pass breakups) and linebacker Zakoby McClain was the heartbeat of the Tigers’ defense. But Nix was still Auburn’s most important player last season, and the fact the former legacy quarterback opted to leave The Plains rather than stick around for Year 2 of the Bryan Harsin regime means something. Despite Nix’s inconsistencies (particularly completion percentage), he’s still a better option than either TJ Finley or Zach Calzada. The Tigers were 6-3 when Nix got hurt in the loss to Mississippi State. They then lost four straight, with Finley unable to lead the offense to more than 22 points in a single game. Nix is now at Oregon, while Auburn remains unsettled at the QB position.

LSU- LB Damone Clark

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

What On3 says:

Wearing the special No. 18 for the Tigers, Clark led the SEC in tackles with 137 stops (fourth-most nationally). He had eight games with at least 10+ tackles. While Derek Stingley Jr. was a Top 5 pick, Clark was the leader of the Tigers’ defense. LSU has some young talent at linebacker ready to step up (Greg Penn III, 5-star freshman Harold Perkins), but it may take more than one guy to replicate Clark’s output. Depth is a real concern for the Tigers, too, as Clark wasn’t just productive but always available.

Mississippi State- OL Charles Cross

AP Photo/John Locher

What On3 says:

The former 5-star recruit graded out as the best pure pass blocking tackle in the NFL Draft in April — a particularly important attribute for Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense to operate at its best. Cross was a two-year starter for the Bulldogs, and for a team that returns more production than program in the SEC, their void at left tackle is a giant flashing red light. Mississippi State is hoping JUCO transfer Percy Lewis is up to the task of protecting Will Rogers’ blindside.

Ole Miss- QB Matt Corrall

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

What On3 says:

Lane Kiffin nabbed former blue-chip quarterback prospect Jaxson Dart from the transfer portal, but the USC transfer didn’t win the starting job outright in spring practice. But regardless of whether it’s Dart or Luke Altmyer, neither are Matt Corral. The California native led the Rebels to their first 10-win regular season in school history last season. He was an RPO-wizard, perfectly suited for Kiffin’s quick-strike scheme. In the last two seasons, Corral was the only quarterback in America with at least 3,300 passing yards and 500 rushing yards. He cut down on his turnovers in 2021 (just four picks), something Dart struggled to avoid throughout spring practice.

Texas A&M- OL Kenyon Green

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

What On3 says:

The Aggies must replace their 1st Round tackle who was a two-time All-American and started every game of his college career. Green was mostly a left tackle last season, but his versatility allowed Texas A&M to slide him all over the line (only lineman in America with at least 80 snaps at four different spots) to get other quality lineman involved. Entering the fall, the Aggies don’t have a definitive replacement for Green, with several underclassmen competing for a starting job at either left tackle (maybe freshman Trey Zuhn?) Or guard (sophomore Aki Ogunbiyi or freshman Kam Dewberry).

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