Over this past weekend, it was a busy day for the Arkansas Razorbacks football team as all players and coaches provided preseason input about the highly anticipated up coming season at their annual Media Day in Fayetteville, Saturday, August 5.
Over this past weekend, it was a busy day for the Arkansas Razorbacks football team as all players and coaches provided preseason input about the highly anticipated up coming season at their annual Media Day in Fayetteville, Saturday, August 5. The event kicked off an late morning scrimmage inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium where the Hogs' offensive and defensive teams collided that involved the 105 player roster.
Amongst the teams' star players of starting quarterback Austin Allen, linebacker Dre Greenlaw, defensive back Ryan Pulley, center Frank Ragnow and running back Devwah Whaley, Hope's McTelvin "Sosa" Agim sparked his way on the gridiron to be one of the sole leaders on the defense. Agim, entering his sophomore season with Hogs on the defensive line continues to bring the same impact to collegiate level as once did during his successful years as a unstoppable force for the Hope Bobcats.
After the conclusion of the Hogs scrimmage, Media Day begun with a 30-minute press conference from Arkansas Razorback football head coach Bret Bielema. He shared thoughts and facts about his teams' production during week two of fall camp. As Bielema praised the impact of both sides of the football, he expressed the work ethic all his players have shown to be a better team for the upcoming 2017 season. He's proud of everybody's character of being discipline and their support of one another to have a strong chemistry and bond.
"I think we're making a lot of progress as a team. We've kept names out of headlines for wrong reasons and just got a lot of guys who are unsung heroes and no big stars who really work hard. No one is bigger than our program," Coach Bielema said during the press conference.
Since Agim's early enrollment at the UA in January for the 2016 spring semester from graduating at Hope High School December 2015, he knew it would be to his advantage to grasp into Bielema's system early to make the impact being one of the highest rated recruits in Arkansas football history.
"He's [Coach Bret Bielema] a business man and is all about handling business. Coach Bielema believed in me from the beginning and felt it was important to enroll early to get a heads start," Agim said.
As the scrimmage kept a no-contact on quarterback's Allen, Ty Storey and Cole Kelly, Agim powered through the offensive line into QB pocket territory that would have counted for a few sacks. Agim accounted three tackles involving on several take downs on the Hogs offensive drives on the ground during Saturday's scrimmage.
Senior captain and starting quarterback Allen is ready for another big season. Allen completing 19 of 22 for 304 yards passing during the scrimmage against his Hogs defense. He knows what to expect this year with a lot of nerves last season, but will just let things ride for 2017. Allen feels Agim will be major for the defense and has the potential to grow a one of the top defensive forces in the country.
"Sosa just can play football. He does things that Wow you. He's a special football talent and has a lot of great things coming ahead of him," Allen said of Agim.
For Agim's freshman season as a Hog, he totaled 27 tackles, 5.5 behind the line for minus 27 yards including 2.5 quarterback sacks, and two quarterback hurries forcing incomplete passes. He performed in all 13 scheduled games last season with four starts on the defense and was named to the coaches SEC All-Freshman Team in 2016.
Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads looks for consistency in the new 3-4 defense from the Hogs. Agim is expected to have more flexibility from his ability and be ready to take charge in leading the Arkansas defense.
"I just want to the role as a leader. Coach preaches to lead and I take hold of that to improve my game," Agim said.
"Biggest thing I learned is just do your job and play your game. I like the new change in our defense. I feel we can do more in this defense. Coach Rhoads is a good teacher and takes the time
During the spring, Agim got to adapt to learning the new defense and feel his way through the 3-4 scheme and be effective. He said, "I feel like it's been great for me and better for the team. We've grown well. Going to the 3-4 I feel the team has gotten more comfortable," Agim said.
Agim has been very comfortable being coached by his defensive line coach John Scott Jr., who was hired during the winter and spent two previous seasons coaching the D-line in the NFL as a assistant coach for the New York Jets.
Coach Scott Jr. brings a coaching style with a teaching approach from adapting as a coach in the NFL to the collegiate level. He just wants to keep it simple and Scott Jr. says the guys are doing a great job working into the defense of what he's expecting them to do.
"It's been good so far. Things will be different this year working in this new scheme [3-4 defense]. I'm excited about it. There are some things we're cleaning up but looking to have consistency," Scott Jr. said. "I'm excited to see the guys grow. Sometimes don't have the patience, but it's a process. Just want to the guys to keep working and been fun to see the young guys learn and grow," he said.
Coach Scott Jr. believes Agim has shown a lot of progress and truly will be one of the major factors and difference makers on the Arkansas defense this season.
"Sosa showing leadership on the field and playing with a sense of urgency. I can see difference in all the guys and they're playing with more confidence," Scott Jr. replied.
Agim is very passionate about the relationship he has with his defensive line coach of coach Scott Jr. He's able to relate well with Agim and believes the defense can be more effective through the entire season.
Agim respects coach Scott Jr. very much. He thinks Scott Jr. is a great man on and off the field. He's a wonderful coach and can go to him to talk about anything, Agim said of his D-line coach.
Throughout Agim's time as a Razorback, he has develop close relationships with his teammates, which was one of the biggest and important reasons Arkansas became the prime choice of over 20 top D-I schools in the country that offered for recruitment. He always felt Arkansas was a family oriented environment with a strong background of a support system.
Senior defensive lineman-nose guard Bijhon Jackson of El Dorado admires the toughness and passion Agim brings to the Arkansas defense. Jackson is one of many veteran's on the team and believes the Hogs can make a huge statement with Agim's presense to lead the defense in the 3-4.
"Sosa is super passionate and just a natural playmaker. He came in starting the last few games of season and will be real big for us this year. Our defense got to make a huge step in the 3-4, but we're making a lot of progress. We just got to be dominant each game," Jackson said.
Agim with Jackson will be starters on the defense and coach Bielema looks for them both to take command and be the most effective out the 3-4. "I think Bijhon and Sosa - they’re our guys," Bielema said.
A few teammates Agim had the pleasure to face in high school from Nashville of La'Michael Pettway and Kirby Adcock, who both say Sosa brings something special to the Hogs.
Pettway, a third-year sophomore receiver will expect to be one of quarterback Allen's big targets this season. During the scrimmage, Pettway caught five passes for 165 yards. from QB Allen. He looks for the Hogs to be solid and Agim to be huge for the defense.
"Sosa's a hard worker. I knew he would be something special," Pettway said of Agim. "I'm learning growth, maturity and consistency. We're looking to win a SEC championship and the guys are stepping up to hopefully have a big year," Pettway said.
Adcock, a 6' 5" 288 lb freshman offensive lineman enrolled in January to start practicing in the spring. He played two season against Agim in high school during their Hope vs. Nashville rivalry battles in 2014-15 seasons. Adcock feels Agim has been a big help as a teammate thus far and knows he'll be big for the Hogs.
"Sosa looked after me when I got here. We've had some classes together and he's just a tremendous athlete, a good leader on the field for the defense," Adcock said. He hopes to make the traveling team with the Hogs to win a SEC championship and feels they can do it, Adcock replied.
Another big native from Arkansas Austin Capps, who is apart of the recruiting class of 2016 with Agim . Capps from Star City is also a sophomore defensive lineman with Agim. Last season, Capps totaled 12 tackles, including 1.5 for loss and one-half sack for his freshman season. He's built a good friendship with Agim looks to have more playing time with his teammate on defense.
Agim keeps a steady focus of a hard work ethic to progress ability wise as well as academically. He said he finished the freshman year with a 3.3 gpa and this summer 4.0 gpg with 12 credits. As he completed one of the most historic high school football careers at Hope High School, Agim aims for the same effect as a Arkansas Razorback.
"My goal is to be legendary and be one of the greatest, hopefully be in the Hogs Hall of Fame," Agim said.
He believes the Hogs can make a lot of noise this season and wants to do whatever it takes in helping the process be accomplishable. He feels the same for his former high school alma mater at Hope. His former Hope Bobcats had one of the most toughest and disappointing year's on the gridiron last season He believes they'll make a big transition if just listen to their coaches and trust Hope football head coach Jay Turley's program.
"They [Hope Bobcats] should use last season as momentum, listen to coach Turley and use him in a positive way. Coach Turley and the coaches are there to help. If they just buy into the program they'll be successful," Agim said.
Now have made the transition from a star high school football player to the nationally D-I collegiate level, Agim loves being a Hog and the fans is what makes it all special to give him the enthusiasm to perform and be the aggressive beast and enforcer on the field.
Agim is one of eight Razorbacks to earn preseason honors for 2017. He is named to the Athlon Sports ALl-SEC third team, Lindy's Sports All-SEC third team and Phil Steele All-SEC fourth team.