Arkansas freshmen are coming for playing time in 2017

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas football released a schedule graphic last week with the tagline “Fall is Coming” scripted across the center. The graphic also displayed the faces of the Razorbacks’ 15 seniors on the 2017 roster. It was an idea derived from the popular HBO series Game of Thrones.

It’s true, another Arkansas football season is just 19 days away. But as the fall season approaches, something else is coming to Fayetteville — an impressive group of freshmen. And they’re coming for playing time.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema has taken notice. Friday night, following a team meeting, he delivered a message to several older players on the verge of being passed up by the youngsters.

“I just said, ‘Listen, this is a different time now. Some of these freshmen … we’ve been able to recruit better athletes. Guys that can run, guys that can play, and I’m not going to sit them. If you’re a guy that’s been in the program year two, year three, year four and you haven’t done it yet, there’s somebody on your heels.’ “

Running back Chase Hayden has made the strongest case among the freshmen pushing for playing time. He was outstanding in his first career scrimmage Aug. 5. He rushed for 115 yards on 16 carries with a 74-yard touchdown working mostly against the first-team defense.

Full stats were unable to be kept because the media only saw the second half of the second scrimmage this Saturday, but Hayden looked impressive again. He had a 12-yard run where he showed off his abilities to make defenders miss and run through contact. A source told SEC Country he was even better in the first half of the scrimmage than the portion that was open to the media.

Hayden is billed as a make-you-miss back who relies on quickness and ability. He has that, and much more. He’s not afraid to run between the tackles and…

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