Running back was already going to be the biggest strength of the Arkansas football team. The unit became even deeper over the weekend.
Javyean Dyer-Jones, a senior at Little Rock Christian, will join the team in 2022 as a preferred walk-on. The 5-foot-9, 195-pounder picked Arkansas over likely scholarships from Arkansas State and Louisiana Tech.
He joins a stacked Arkansas backfield that returns three players who each ran for more than 500 yards last year, plus speedster AJ Green who ran for more than 225.
Dyer-Jones ran for 1,756 yards and 20 touchdowns in helping LRC to the Class 5A state semifinals in the fall.
These are the players he will join at running back, in order of likely depth chart entering September.
Dominique Johnson, junior
FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS – SEPTEMBER 18: Dominique Johnson #20 of the Arkansas Razorbacks runs the ball in the first half of a game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
[autotag]Dominique Johnson[/autotag] didn’t become a starter until about the two-third mark of 2022, but he still finished fourth on the team in yards rushing, less than 100 yards behind leader, quarterback KJ Jefferson.
2021: 97 carries for 575 yards, 7 touchdowns; 7 receptions for 71 yards, 1 touchdown
Rocket Sanders, sophomore
Sep 11, 2021; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks running back Raheim Sanders (5) celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second half against the Texas Longhorns at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas won 40-21. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
It isn’t fair to call Johnson the No. 1 and [autotag]Rocket Sanders[/autotag] the No. 2. They’re more like 1A and 1B. Sanders was third on thAe team in yards rushing and is the best pass-catcher in the unit by a long shot as a former wide receiver.
2021: 114 carries for 578 yards, 5 touchdowns; 11 receptions for 109, 1 touchdown
AJ Green, sophomore
Oct 2, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks running back AJ Green (0) is tackled by Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Derion Kendrick (11) during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
[autotag]AJ Green[/autotag] is the unit’s speed merchant. He will likely get more carries in his second season despite being third in the depth chart.
2021: 47 carries for 227 yards, 1 touchdown; 7 receptions for 84 yards, 1 touchdown
Javion Hunt, redshirt freshman
Sep 18, 2021; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks running back Javion Hunt (21) rushes against the Georgia Southern Eagles during the fourth quarter at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas won 45-10. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
[autotag]Javion Hunt[/autotag] kept his freshman status after playing just one game last year. He will challenged for the fourth spot by three freshmen listed below, but his experience with a year in the system should help.
2021: 4 carries for 19 yards
Rashod Dubinion, freshman
Jul 22, 2021; Hoover, Alabama, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Sam Pittman speaks to the media during SEC Media Days at Hyatt Regency Birmingham. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
Freshman [autotag]Rashod Dubinion[/autotag] is a 5-foot-10, 189-pound back from Georgia in his first year of college ball. It’s impossible in the spring to determine a difference between he and the next player listed as they are both in for practice with the Hogs.
For now, he’s a bit ahead of the game. He has received more looks this spring because Johnson has been out rehabilitating an injury.
“I’ve been impressed with Dubinion,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said. “I think he’s a good football player and I think he can turn into an excellent football player.”
James Joitner, freshman
[autotag]James Jointer[/autotag] is an Arkansas preps product out of Parkview High School. At 6-foot-0 and 217 pounds, he brings a different element than Dubinion.
“James coming as a back, and I’m a big back as well, the key thing with him is me telling him to finish runs,” Sanders said. “This goes for all the running backs, but especially him, finish runs because he’s a big running back. Always staying low.”
Javyean Dyer-Jones, freshman
Dyer-Jones will round out the running back room. He isn’t likely to vulture many carries as a walk-on in his first year, but he’s also learning from arguably the best corps in the SEC and could have a bright future.