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Arkansas TE Will Gragg expected to transfer

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Get ready for a wave of transfer news coming around college football in the coming weeks. As spring practices come to a close, some players will use the time to reflect on their positions within their current programs and some will choose to pursue other options. Arkansas tight end Will Gragg will reportedly be one of them.

According to a report from Hawgs 247, Gragg has made the decision to leave Arkansas and explore other options as a graduate transfer. As a graduate transfer, Gragg will be eligible to play with another FBS program this fall, should that be where he lands. Gragg will take with him two years of eligibility, making him a lucrative tight end option on the transfer market.

Gragg appeared in 10 games for the Razorbacks in 2017, with five receptions for 61 yards. It was his only season on the field. Gragg sat out the 2015 season as a redshirt and did not take a snap on the field in 2016.

It is not reported or known where Gragg may continue his college career, but the former four-star recruit could bring some good potential to any program in need of some depth at the tight end position.

Arkansas, Arkansas State football stadiums exempt from concealed handgun law

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As expected, some sense of sanity has prevailed.

In mid-March of last year, the state of Arkansas legislature passed a law (House Bill 1249) that would allow concealed-carry handguns on publicly-owned property, which would include college sporting events. A day later, and after realizing, amidst considerable controversy, the potential for alcohol-fueled fans to attend an SEC football game armed, the state’s Senate voted to amend the law to exclude college sporting events; the amended version of the bill was supported by both the SEC (Arkansas) and the Sun Belt (Arkansas State).

Tuesday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported, the Arkansas State Police approved plans to exempt those two university’s football stadiums from the new law.

From the Democrat-Gazette‘s report:

Eight schools have had plans approved by Arkansas State Police that allow their sports facilities to be exempted from the law enacted last year allowing concealed handgun licensees to carry at college campuses and other locations if they undergo additional training. Nearly 1,000 people have received the enhanced licenses since training began earlier this year.

Prompted by complaints from the Southeastern Conference and other groups, Arkansas lawmakers voted to exempt college sporting events if the schools have a security plan approved by state police.

Study says War Memorial Stadium needs millions in upgrades to remain in use for Arkansas games in Little Rock

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Just like an old house, older stadiums require tons of money to keep them up to date. Those in the state of Arkansas are very aware of that when it comes to War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports that a study commissioned by the state has found that roughly $17 million worth of repairs, maintenance work and improvements are needed at War Memorial if the 70 year old venue wants to remain in operation. The timeline for such changes were listed as anywhere from three years for “critical” issues to five years for other items, which come as part of a whopping $160,000 study from Conventions Sport & Leisure International LLC.

The millions of dollars of work required is notable because the Fayetteville-based Razorbacks have annually played a game at the stadium in Little Rock dating back to 1948. The team will not only host their first spring game under new coach Chad Morris at the venue but will also play Ole Miss in Little Rock during the upcoming season. That contest is the last scheduled game for Arkansas at War Memorial however as the contract to hold games there is expiring in 2018.

It remains to be seen what the next steps are for UA football, the state and the venue are. Even prior to this most recent study being commissioned, the Razorbacks were looking to have as much as $10 million worth of work done at the stadium to meet their own requirements and those of the SEC in general for conference play.

“Discussions are continuing” Kevin Trainor, associate athletics director at Arkansas, said in an emailed statement to the paper.

Could this be the last we see of the Razorbacks in Little Rock? Given the history between the city, stadium and team it would seem doubtful but somebody’s got to pay for renovations and it may be a while before anybody ponies up the cash needed to get the venerable old building up to date.

Arkansas completes 2019 non-conference schedule with game vs. Western Kentucky

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The 2018 season is still six (long) months away, but Arkansas has done some finishing work on a future slate.

Arkansas announced Tuesday that it has reached a scheduling agreement for a one-off football game against Western Kentucky in 2019.  The game is scheduled to be played in Fayetteville on Nov. 9 of that year, and completes the Razorbacks’ schedule for that season.

The announcement also included a future home-and-home men’s basketball series between the universities.

“We are always looking for compelling matchups in our football and men’s basketball schedules, and adding the Arkansas Razorbacks is a very exciting addition for both programs,” WKU athletic director Todd Stewart said in a statement. “The proximity of Arkansas to Bowling Green will also enable our fans to travel to Fayetteville and experience unique men’s basketball and football environments.”

The 2019 game will mark the first-ever between the two football program.

In addition to Western Kentucky, Arkansas’ 2019 non-conference schedule will consist of home games against FCS Portland State (Sept. 1), Colorado State (Sept. 14) and San Jose State (Sept. 21).

SEC rolls out four-day media day schedule

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The SEC may be packing up their media day extravaganza and moving from Alabama to Atlanta, but this year’s media day schedule shows the SEC will still carefully roll out plenty of storylines over the course of a four-day love fest for the conference.

The SEC is setting up shop at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, which feels like a great landing spot for the new media day fun for the SEC. The conference has established Atlanta as a destination point for the end of the regular season and the city just played host to the first College Football Playoff national championship game between two teams from the same conference, the SEC (Alabama and Georgia). So why not kickstart a new football season with the media in Atlanta too?

New Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher will be the headline act for the first of the four media days for the SEC. Fisher will make his SEC Media Days debut as head coach of the Aggies on Monday, July 16. Other coaches speaking that day will be LSU’s Ed Orgeron and Kentucky’s Mark Stoops. Day 2 will be an interesting one with Georgia’s Kirby Smart in the spotlight coming off the SEC championship last fall and new Florida head coach Dan Mullen addresses the media for the first time as the Gators coach, although the former Mississippi State head coach is no stranger to the SEC media day circuit by now. Day 2 will also be the first SEC Media Day introduction for new Arkansas head coach Chad Morris and second-year Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke (Luke took over as head coach in Oxford after SEC Media Days last summer following the removal of Hugh Freeze not long after media days).

But when is Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaking, you ask? Day 3 (Wed., July 18 for those keeping track). Saban headlines the third day of the media day event for the SEC. Two other coaches speaking that day will be new head coaches in the SEC with former Saban assistant Jeremy Pruitt representing Tennessee and Joe Moorhead of Mississippi State stepping to the SEC podium for the first time. Missouri’s Barry Odom is also scheduled on day three. Day 4 will feature Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, South Carolina’s Will Muschamp, and Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason.

Player representatives for each school in addition to any other speakers will be announced at a later time.