HawgBeat – Pooh Paul remains loyal to Arkansas
In the midst of all the craziness of the transfer portal season heating up and many players choosing to leave their current school, one Arkansas Razorback had a message for Hog fans.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Chris “Pooh” Paul Jr. sent out a tweet on Tuesday to remind the Razorback faithful that he is fully committed to try and finish what he’s started in Fayetteville.
“I was recruited here for 1 reason and 1 reason only…and that was to help bring a natty to Arkansas,” Paul said in his tweet.
A native of Cordele, Georgia, Paul earned his first career start in Arkansas’ 29-27 loss to Missouri last Friday. He filled in for Bumper Pool, who’s season came to an end with hip surgery.
Paul is a name that head coach Sam Pittman has given plenty of praise to over the past two seasons. He’s played his role behind a strong crop of linebackers over the past two seasons, but he is the future at that position for Arkansas.
“Pooh, when we recruited him we thought he was gonna be a real good linebacker and he’s turned out to be that,” Pittman said on Nov. 21. “I think he’s going to be an exceptional linebacker over the years for us. He’s got everything. He’s fast, physical, smart. And he’s playing that way now.”
During the 12 regular season games, Paul racked up 50 total tackles, eight tackles for loss, four sacks and one forced fumble.
According to Pro Football Focus, Paul played 334 snaps across those 12 games, and he ranked second on the team with an 83.5 pass rush grade. His 74.3 tackle grade was good for second among Arkansas players who played at least 200 snaps.
“Pooh’s done a great job, especially affecting the passer,” linebacker Drew Sanders said on Nov. 22. “He’s just extremely explosive and it’s hard to block that. He just gets around the blocker and just being able to attack the quarterback like that. He’s done a great job.”
Paul has sat behind names like Grant Morgan, Hayden Henry, Pool and Sanders. Going into Arkansas’ bowl game and next season, he will likely be leaned on much more heavily.
“Like I was telling my dad the other day, sitting behind those guys is what really helped me have a lot of success this year,” Paul said. “Just watching guys like Drew come over and how they play the game and continuing watching Bump and falling under his wing and things like that. It just really helped me out this year to become the best player I can be.”
Arkansas currently awaits the decision of what bowl bid it will receive. The Hogs are commonly projected to go to the Liberty Bowl, Texas Bowl, Music City Bowl or Las Vegas Bowl.