With Feleipe Franks gone, Arkansas football will be looking for his replacement. Who should win the job, KJ Jefferson or Malik Hornsby?
Feleipe Franks was just what the doctor ordered for Arkansas in 2020. The Florida grad transfer led the Razorbacks to a 3-7 record and they were a few plays away from a 5-5 finish.
Unlike in years past under Chad Morris and at the end of the Bret Bielema tenure, Arkansas actually had a pulse in 2020. They actually played with heart and it seemed like the culture changed immediately under Sam Pittman and a lot of that can be attributed to bringing in a leader like Franks to run the show. He got his fresh start in Fayetteville and looked like a new quarterback.
Replacing him won’t be easy for Pittman but he has two talented quarterbacks waiting in the wings.
One is KJ Jefferson who actually filled in for Franks a couple of times last season and he finished with 295 yards and three touchdowns but he completed less than 50 percent of his passes for a second straight season. He also rushed for two touchdowns, showing he can make things happen with his legs.
Malik Hornsby, a redshirt freshman, is the other. He was one of the top commits in Arkansas’ 2020 class. He was even listed as a top-100 recruit in the country by 247Sports. The 6-2, 183-pound dual-threat has all the tools to be a star and he got to learn the ropes under Franks and Jefferson. This seems like the perfect opportunity for him to shine.
So who should start?
As someone who has watched Michigan State football his entire life, I see a guy like Jefferson and he reminds me a little of Rocky Lombardi. He is a solid leader and has the experience but may not be the best option to start. For those who aren’t familiar, Rocky started the season for Michigan State in 2020 and the same struggles he had his entire career as a backup (accuracy) led to his demise. He was replaced by the more talented option (Payton Thorne) who probably should have been the starter from the get-go.
For Arkansas heading into 2021, that’s a very similar situation. Jefferson has a career completion rate of 47 percent and Hornsby is considered by most to be the future of the program.
To me, the answer of who should be starter is easy.
Arkansas might take the safe route and start Jefferson to begin the year, but I believe that ultimately Hornsby takes over and leads the team. But being a great teammate, Jefferson will be there to cheer Hornsby on throughout the process.