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Bumper Pool set to return to Arkansas for 2022 season

by Michael Hanich | January 7, 2022 at 4:55 p.m.

The off-season is tough for all college football teams as their players graduate, depart for the NFL Draft or enter their name into the NCAA Transfer Portal.

The Arkansas Razorbacks are one team that is saying goodbye to many of their star players as they depart for the 2022 NFL Draft or the NCAA Transfer Portal. Arkansas already saw their star wide receiver Treylon Burks skipped the Outback Bowl matchup to prepare for the 2022 NFL Draft and they later lost six defensive starters to the Draft or Transfer Portal since their 24-10 win over Penn State in the bowl game.

On Friday, star outside linebacker Bumper Pool announced on the Extra Points Podcast that he would return to Arkansas for one final season. Pool joins offensive tackle Dalton Wagner and safety Jalen Catalon as the latest Razorbacks to forgo their opportunity for the NFL Draft or the NCAA Transfer Portal to play one more season at Arkansas.

Pool has been the heart and soul of the Razorbacks defense for the past two seasons. For the past three seasons as a starter, Pool has been one of the most consistent and productive players on the field for the Hogs. Since joining the football program in 2018, Pool has accumulated 349 total tackles, 137 solo tackles, 23 tackles for loss, one sack, 16 pass deflections and one fumble recovery.

This season, Pool accounted for 125 total tackles, 45 solo tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and two pass breakups. He was highly constructive for a Razorbacks defense that is ranked 39th in the nation in points allowed per game (22.9) and 54th in total yards allowed per game (355.8). His veteran leadership and experience on and off the field helped catapult Arkansas beyond another year of rebuilding in their second year with head coach Sam Pittman. The Razorbacks finished with their best record since 2011 this year with an overall record of 11-2.

Pool is defender that will chase after a ball carrier throughout the field to make a play or slow down the opposing offense. His efficiency is in reading the ball carrier and going to make the tackle or contribute the tackle. He is reliable in zone coverage schemes against running backs, tight ends and bigger-bodied wide receivers.

Pool's 125 total tackles in the 2021 season was third in the SEC and ninth in the nation overall. His 80 assisted tackles was number one this season in the SEC. Finally, his 212 assisted tackles is the most all-time in the SEC since assisted tackles were accredited in 2005.

Pool was named as a second-team All-SEC selection by the coaches and Associated Press this season for his stellar play throughout the year. He was also named to the 2020 All-SEC selection by the coaches in the conference. Pool is only 59 total tackles away from breaking the program's all-time school record in career total tackles of 408, set by Tony Bua.

Pool has been a huge part of building the respectable and aggressive image of Arkansas football that Pittman has stabilized in his two years at the university. Pool's attitude and devotion to Arkansas football indicated that he would be returning for one final year. He will continue to be the heart and soul of not only the defense, but the entire team.

Now that Arkansas has gotten their first taste of success, players like Pool will look to add onto their ability to climb higher in the ranks of college football. Pool is not the only player feeling they can create something great with the Razorback football program.

Pool's announcement that he will be returning to Arkansas came just a few hours before starting cornerback LaDarrius Bishop's announced that he too would stay with the team. Bishop made the announcement on Friday afternoon.

Arkansas is looking to get back into the top three level of the SEC West next season, but they potentially could shoot even higher with the number of high-caliber and experienced players returning for the 2022 season.

Print Headline: Bumper Pool set to return to Arkansas for 2022 season

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