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Arkansas' Team Leader: KJ Jefferson Has Taken Charge on Both Sides of Ball

Even "super seniors" Ty Clary and Grant Morgan have become fans of quarterback's leadership of entire team

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral may be the leader now, but he was out-played last week.

Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson had bigger numbers.

And sixth-year seniors Grant Morgan and Ty Clary noticed.

"He’s my Heisman vote," Morgan said Tuesday about Jefferson. "I don’t care what anyone else thinks."

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Against the Rebels last week, Jefferson was 25-of-35 passing for 326 yards and three touchdowns. He added 85 yards and three more touchdowns on the ground.

His 411 yards of total offense were the most by a Hog since Brandon Allen against Mississippi State in 2015.

He is the only SEC quarterback with over 1,200 passing yards and 300 rushing yards.

And Corral is getting the attention.

"When you go neck-and-neck with one of the Heisman favorites and not even mentioned in the top 20 of voting then I don’t even understand what it is," Morgan said. "If we were a top-five team right now and KJ had the exact same stats he would be a Heisman candidate."

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Two of the leaders in the preseason Heisman pecking order were Corral and Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler, who was benched before Oklahoma overcame a huge deficit against Texas last week in a win.

Jefferson didn't win last week, which is critical for the watered-down Heisman voting process these days.

"If we win that game, people on a national level would take more notice of that performance," sixth-year senior offensive lineman Ty Clary said. "He played one heck of a game."

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At the midway point of this season, Jefferson has some big stats but the Razorbacks are 4-2 with two straight losses against Georgia and Ole Miss.

It's that 37-0 loss to the Bulldogs two weeks ago that hurts his chances more than the 52-51 loss to the Rebels.

"If you jump over two people from the 4-yard line to score a touchdown you should be a Heisman candidate if you ask me," Morgan said.

He was talking about Jefferson's touchdown. Coach Sam Pittman took credit for teaching him that. He was, obviously, kidding. Bless Sam's heart but he couldn't have done that from a trampoline.

None of what he's done is news to his teammates.

"Is that the best of KJ?" Morgan said Tuesday. "I don’t think it is. That’s the KJ we already know. That’s the version of KJ I’ve always been preaching about, saying ‘look, KJ has matured. KJ has been so much better this season.’

"KJ has done a really good job of understanding his role and doing exactly what he can to help this football team."

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Now that role is going to be huge.

The Hogs host Auburn on Saturday, an unranked 4-0 team that also lost big to top-ranked Georgia, but is the only SEC team to have scored on the Bulldogs.

Kickoff for the game is 11 a.m. and will be televised on CBS.

It's a game the Hogs have to figure out a way to win ... in a lot of areas.


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