Sophomore QB likes UA offense

Posted: October 29, 2017 at 2:56 a.m.

Arkansas offensive coordinator Dan Enos (left) and coach Bret Bielema on the sideline as the Razorbacks take on TCU Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, during the game at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

The Arkansas Razorbacks likely will receive a visit next spring from TJ Finley, one of the nation's top sophomore quarterbacks.

"I like Arkansas because it's up north and it's not far away from home," Finley said. "As a quarterback, you like to spread it out and throw it, and these past years Arkansas has had pocket-passing quarterbacks that can deliver the ball accurately."

Finley, 6-7, 218 pounds of Ponchatoula (La.), has nine scholarship offers from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, LSU, Auburn, Ole Miss, Alabama and others. LSU extended an offer the summer after Finley's eighth-grade year.

He's impressed by the support Hogs' fans give the team.

"The school is very supportive of the football team," Finley said. "There's just something about Arkansas that I just like."

In the eight games prior to Friday's game, Finley had nearly 1,700 yards passing with 13 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Finley said his father also is fond of the Razorbacks.

"As a kid, my father used to always push me, and we would always watch football a lot and his favorite team to watch was Arkansas because he knew that would be the offense for me in the future," Finley said.

Finley likes the Hogs' pro-style offense and believes it's hard to stop when clicking on all cylinders.

"The thing that attracts me to Arkansas is how they spread the ball around, and it's an equal balance between running the ball and passing the ball," he said.

He equates the Razorbacks' offense's ability to adapt to a game of chess.

"It's like playing chess, if the defense does this we'll run the ball and if the defense does this we'll beat them over the top," Finley said. "If they play cover one, we'll hit the middle of the field and take the outside. With the pro-style offense there's so many options it gives Arkansas."

CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming rates Finley a four-star-plus prospect.

"He's one of the top three sophomores in Louisiana," Lemming said. "He's a big-time talent and a terrific all-around athlete."

Finley hasn't visited schools this fall, but he has plans to visit several in the spring, including Arkansas.

"Then I'm going to focus more on visiting college this spring," he said. "I'll make some visits this spring and summer and go to some camps to make sure my name stays on the map."

He gets his arm strength from his father, who was a promising baseball prospect in high school before injuring his knees playing basketball.

"He got hurt playing basketball and tore the patellar tendon in one knee his junior season and another his senior year," Finley said. "It just ruined his whole career. He actually went to Nebraska to play baseball. It just went downhill from there. It was cold up there and he didn't like it."

Finley, who has a 3.8 grade-point average, talked about his role as a signal caller before the snap of the ball.

"The job of the quarterback is basically to facilitate the offense and the ball movement even with the running game," he said. "You have to set your protection, you have to make sure the running back knows what he's doing, and ... I think the most important key factor in what a quarterback has to have is a good brain to be able to think quickly and be able to attack the weakness of the defense.

"I think I do great at checking at the line, and if I see a different coverage and know our routes are going to work, I'll change the play."

Email Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports on 10/29/2017