Razorback football head coach Chad Morris announced Monday that redshirt freshman quarterback John Stephen Jones will make his first career start Saturday against Western Kentucky.
Jones has appeared in the past two games against Alabama and Mississippi State, completing 10 of 16 passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns.
When asked about the decision to start Jones, Morris alluded to his performance the past two weeks.
“When he has stepped on the field the past two weeks, the moment has not been too big for him,” Morris said. “I think he did a great job of providing grit and toughness, and I think he will play really well.”
Freshman KJ Jefferson was listed as the backup to Jones.
Offensive coordinator Joe Craddock said Jefferson will get in the game early against the Hilltoppers.
“We would like to get him in earlier than last week and kind of see who’s moving the ball the best and who gives us the best chance to win,” Craddock said.
Jefferson appeared in his first collegiate game last Saturday against Mississippi State, where he led a four-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in his first rushing touchdown as a Razorback.
Neither Ben Hicks nor Nick Starkel was listed on this week’s depth chart. The two have a combined record of 2-7 as the starting quarterbacks this season, along with a combined nine touchdowns compared to 12 interceptions.
The Hogs’ star tight end and leading receiver Cheyenne O’Grady did not play in Saturday’s game against Mississippi State, and Morris announced Monday that O’Grady is no longer a part of the team.
“We met Sunday evening, and we both agreed that it was best that he step away,” Morris said.
Grayson Gunter will start as tight end for Arkansas on Saturday, according to the depth chart released Monday. Chase Harrell and freshman Hudson Henry are the second and third strings, respectively.
The Razorbacks will face Western Kentucky in Fayetteville for an 11 a.m. kickoff on the SEC Network.