OXFORD • Ole Miss isn’t the only SEC team to add talented young receivers to its roster this season.
Arkansas will have two true freshmen in its starting lineup when it visits Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday night.
The Rebels and Razorbacks are a combined 2-10 since Ole Miss defeated Arkansas 37-33 in Little Rock last October.
That game was Year 1 for Arkansas coach Chad Morris, who is steering the Hogs away from their traditional power running approach to offense.
Two Arkansas quarterbacks combined to pass for 191 yards in a 20-13 season-opening win over Portland State last week. Even so, Treylon Burks and Trey Knox found ways to shine.
Burks, 6-foot-3, 223 pounds, had three catches for 52 yards. Knox, 6-5, 205, had only one catch, but it was a 38-yarder, the team’s longest gain of the day.
Both have gained preseason freshman All-America mention from different media outlets.
“It feels great just to get out there and get the experience,” Knox said. “It shows what we have coming in the future … to get our feet wet and know that we have a couple more years of playing in the SEC.”
Knox is looking forward to his first SEC road trip.
“I’m very excited. I got those jitters out. I think I’m just ready to go in there and play.”
Burks was rated No. 82 on ESPN’s top 300 list last year. Knox was rated No. 274 on the list. Both were four-star prospects.
The newcomers aren’t the Razorbacks’ only weapons in the pass game.
Senior tight end Cheyenne O’Grady had 30 catches, six for touchdowns last year. All came in the last eight games of the season.
O’Grady had three catches for 41 yards and a touchdown against the Rebels. He missed last week’s game with an injury but will play this weekend.
Ole Miss cornerback Keidron Smith believes the Rebels’ secondary is up for the challenge.
At 6-2, Smith is the Rebels’ tallest corner. That’s been a blessing and a curse, he says, but he was strong against the Memphis short passing game, tying for the team lead with seven tackles. Six of them were solos as Smith, a sophomore, was often tasked with fighting off a block on the edge to make a play.
“With my length, (opponents) continue to look at me as a slow guy. I just want to be out there and be able to stay with those quick receivers, those that have the ability to get loose and stuff like that. I can tell a difference,” he said.