NCAA Football

Razorback report: Stromberg accepts All-Star invite, bowl projections

Razorback report: Stromberg accepts All-Star invite, bowl projections

FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas center Ricky Stromberg has accepted an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game, according to the All-Star Game’s social media account.

Stromberg announced Tuesday that he is forgoing his super senior season with the Razorbacks to focus on preparing for the NFL draft. He will not play in the Razorbacks’ bowl games.

Stromberg, a Tulsa native, started 44 of a possible 47 games over four seasons as the anchor of Arkansas’ offensive front.

The 6-4, 313-pounder, who has started 25 consecutive games, considered early entry in the 2022 NFL Draft but decided to return for his senior season.

Stromberg’s 81.6 offensive rating, according to Pro Football Focus, is the highest among all SEC centers and ranks fourth in the FBS.

Stromberg will join Arkansas wide receiver Jaydon Hasselwood in the East-West Game, scheduled for Feb. 2 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Hazelwood, Jr., declared early for the draft on Monday night.

Stromberg was one of 12 Razorbacks eligible to participate in the super-senior season based on the NCAA’s authorization of an additional season due to the 2020 COVID-19 season.

Projections of the cup

The Razorbacks predictions took a decided turn south this week, with several outlets picking Arkansas to bowl at Texas.

The Athletic predicts the Razorbacks will play Texas Tech of the Big 12 in the Texas Bowl in Houston, which is scheduled for Dec. 28 at 8 p.m.

The Liberty Bowl followed the Razorbacks more personally than the Texas Bowl, but both postseason games are in the SEC’s “Pool of Six” along with the Las Vegas Bowl, Music City Bowl, Gator Bowl and ReliaQuest Bowl (formerly the Outback Bowl). also predicts a Texas Bowl appearance for the Razorbacks, but against Oklahoma State. The Razorbacks and Cowboys will begin a pair of two-game series in 2024 with a game at Oklahoma State on Sept. 7. also reports that Arkansas is headed to the Texas Bowl to face Oklahoma. The Hogs and Sooners, who will be SEC rivals until 2025, have met in bowl games three times since the last regular season game in 1926. Oklahoma is 2-1 in bowl games, including a 10-3 victory in the Cotton Bowl during the 2001 season. predicts the Razorbacks will face Baylor of the Big 12 in the Liberty Bowl, which is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 28 in Memphis.

Baker’s dozen

Coach Sam Pittman said Wednesday night that he expects the Razorbacks to have about 13 practices before a bowl game, unless it’s the Las Vegas Bowl, which is scheduled for Dec. 17.

Speaking on “Sam Pittman Live,” Pittman said the Razorbacks will begin bowl practice on Dec. 9 and will work to recruit visitors with practices over the next couple of weekends.

Pittman said he talked to candidates for the strength and conditioning position every night this week. One of them was former Arkansas quarterback Kiera Small, now an assistant strength and conditioning coach at the University of Michigan, who was interviewed Monday.

Alumni Hog

Seven Razorbacks received degrees Wednesday, although only six of them attended the graduation ceremony.

Coach Sam Pittman wore the suit during his weekly radio show and told host Chuck Barrett that he and his wife, Jamie, went to the ceremony and took pictures with all the graduates.

He also noted that all graduates have one year left before selection.

The graduates included safety Jalen Catalon and defensive end Taurean Carter, high school teammates from Mansfield, Texas, punter Reid Bauer, defensive back Hudson Clark, defensive back Eric Gregory, deep snapper John Earline and offensive tackle Luke Jones, who was ill and could not attend the ceremony.

Catalon, Carter, Clark and Erlein are all redshirt juniors.

Little was honored

Razorback Cam Little was named to the SEC Community Service Team on Wednesday.

The sophomore from Moore, Okla., has donated money for every field goal he made in each of his two seasons to the Down Syndrome Center of Northwest Arkansas.

Donating $20 per field goal this year, Little made 12 of 15 kicks to raise $240. Donating $10 for every field goal as a freshman, Little made 20 of the $24 for $200, bringing his two-year total to $440.

Little also participated in the organization’s annual awareness fundraiser, helping spur an unnamed local company to contribute $25,000 to a live broadcast of Good Morning America for Down syndrome in Northwest Arkansas on Little’s behalf.

The SEC designates a public team member for each of the 21 league-sponsored sports.

Castro to the portal

Arkansas tight end Francisco Castro announced Wednesday that he will enter the transfer window next week.

Castro, a redshirt freshman from Miami, has been the backup to Eli Stein and John Ehrlein this season.

He has three seasons of eligibility remaining.

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