Three Razorbacks on USA Softball’s National Player of Year watch list

With two weeks still remaining before the official start of the college softball season, a trio of Arkansas players are already receiving some heavy accolades for the upcoming campaign.

Seniors Nia Carter and Rylin Hedgecock, along with sophomore Reagan Johnson have all three been named to USA Softball’s Preseason Top 50 Collegiate Player of the Year watch list, which was released on Wednesday.

Carter, a 5-foot-1 speedy outfielder, recently transferred in from Iowa, where she garnered many accolades for the Hawkeyes, including NFCA First-Team All-Midwest Region, First-Team All-Big Ten and Softball America Third-Team All-America recognition. Her 101 base hits ranked second, nationally, as she became only the second player in Big Ten history to eclipse 100 hits in a single season.

Playing right field, the California native led Iowa with a .479 batting average, while racking up 30 RBIs, 10 doubles, eight stolen bases and two triples.

Hedgecock, a 5-foot-9 utility player, returns for her fifth season with the Razorbacks, after earning NFCA First-Team All-America and All-SEC honors a year ago. The Georgia native hit .335 and led Arkansas with 21 home runs, 62 RBIs, 127 total bases, a .459 on-base percentage, and a .774 slugging percentage. She was fifth nationally in home runs, and turned in three multi-home run games, including a three-home run performance at No. 20 Kentucky.

Johnson, a 5-foot-4 outfielder, is back for her second campaign with the Hogs. The Texas native made the most of her freshman season, earning NFCA First-Team All-South Region and Second-Team All-SEC honors. She led the team with a .378 batting average, 79 hits, 47 runs scored, 18 stolen bases and four triples, and was named a Top 10 Finalist for the TUCCI/NFCA National Freshman of the Year award.

She ranked second in the SEC and eighth in the country in hits, while also shining in centerfield with a .968 fielding percentage, including 86 putouts and four assists on 93 total chances.

Arkansas opens the season against Marshall at the Paradise Classic in Boca Raton, Fla., on Feb. 8. The Razorbacks then begin their home slate at Bogle Park against Illinois State on Feb. 22.

Story originally appeared on Razorbacks Wire