De’Vion Warren has the talent, is ready to do more than return kicks for Arkansas

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SEC Country reporter Eric W. Bolin will candidly answer your Arkansas Razorbacks sports queries each weekday in our Mailbag Question of the Day. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to @SECCountryHogs or by email to Eric at

Question of the Day: Thursday, February 15, 2018

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Great question. Warren is one of the biggest intrigues on the roster for me. He’s also a name I don’t hear talked about much in fan circles. More often it’s TJ Hammonds, Devwah Whaley, Brandon Martin. Admittedly, Martin is my pick for Arkansas’ breakout player at wide receiver. Warren, though, holds my most interest.

At first blush, he’s buried on the Razorbacks depth chart out wide. Arkansas returns literally every wide receiver who caught a pass last year. Warren, among that group, is tied for eighth. Deon Stewart, Jordan Jones and Jonathan Nance are all back and all caught more than 20 passes last year. Throw in Jared Cornelius, who played every game but one after injury, as the team’s most experienced pass catcher and the aforementioned Martin, and the question is where exactly Warren may fit.

It doesn’t mean he shouldn’t. Honestly, from an electricity perspective, he may be tops at the position (I’ll hear arguments for Jordan Jones, the speed demon, too). His build holds him back a bit. Warren is just 5-foot-10, 181 pounds. It isn’t that he’s too small to play the position, it’s that Arkansas already has one slight wideout in Stewart (5-foot-8, 160) and Jonathan Nance isn’t exactly a hulk (6-foot, 180). Those two had 33 and 37 catches last year, top two on the team.

Warren will see the field, no doubt about it. He was excellent as a kick returner last year. Not just good, but excellent. It’s been year after year of Arkansas doing absolutely nothing in the return game under Bret Bielema, and then Warren energized the spot last year. Whether he can crack the rotation from scrimmage is another story.

The new coaching staff, including wide receivers coach Justin Stepp, will give him every opportunity. New staffs do that; they generally work from clean slates with players. Warren doesn’t need a clean slate, because he didn’t do anything wrong last year. But he could use one to show, from scratch, where he fits in the pecking order.

With spring practice not having begun yet, don’t hold me to this pick, but mark me down, right now, as Warren going for 29 yards per kick return with at least one touchdown, but only getting six or seven catches this year. Given his talent, though, don’t be shocked if he blows those expectations out of the water.

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