Posted: 10:01 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014
By Graham Reaves
Special teams are oftentimes overlooked because they are just kickers after all. Arkansas has had its fair share of good return men and over the last two seasons said goodbye to two of the best kickers in school history.
Kicker Zach Hocker- Hocker was the model of consistency every program begs for, especially one enduring two coaching changes. He holds the record for most field goals made in a Razorback uniform and school records for points in a season (118) and career (354), field goal percentage, PATs made and attempts and made field goals (61).
Hocker was a weapon that will be missed going forward as he tries out for NFL teams. One site has him as the third-best kicker coming out of school this season.
Punter Dylan Breeding- Breeding does not have the star power some of the other punters of this era had (ahem... Jacob Skinner, the most famous Arkansas punter), but that does not take away from his skill. The SEC coaches and media voted him twice second-team all-conference team after he ranked seventh and sixth in gross average during his junior and senior seasons, respectively.
Punt Returner Joe Adams- The Little Rock native was named a consensus All-American and First-team All-SEC during the 2011 season and left college ball as one of the top kick returners in the country. He ended his career with five punt return touchdowns, including four his senior year. This is back when football was fun in The Natural State. So much so that Adams toys with Tennessee defenders.
"Houdini's in the house, wearing number three!" Followed by Adams' signature post-score ball placement in the endzone.
And then the score that help set up a Cotton Bowl win.
Kick Returner(s) Dennis Johnson, Felix Jones- This is one of the more dominating positions on the team. On one side is Dennis Johnson, who ranks second in SEC history in terms of number of kickoffs returned for touchdowns.
Injuries plagued Johnson's time on The Hill. He was named to the All-SEC Freshman team and used special teams to help make a name for himself. He ran a 4.7-40-yard-dash and made it hard to bring him down on his way to setting an Arkansas record for most kickoff return yards in a season.
Listen to the praise for Johnson by Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge after taking this kick against South Carolina to the house.
If an opposing kicker decided not to kick to Johnson, Felix Jones, who stands atop the list for most kickoff return touchdowns in the SEC. He had at least one return touchdown every year he played and averaged nearly 30 yards per return.
Here are all four of his returns compiled into 2:30 of special teams goodness.