Arkansas Team News

Amid special teams turmoil, Arkansas adds walk-on kicker Blake Mazza

Blake Mazza

Does Arkansas finally have a solution to its special teams issues? A combination kicker/punter is on his way to Fayetteville for this fall after Blake Mazza announced that he would play for the Razorbacks.

Mazza posted his decision on Twitter on Tuesday.

Yes, that’s a kicker for this season – even though it’s two and a half months after National Signing Day. Mazza is heading to the Razorbacks as a walk-on.

Mazza, from Plano (Texas) High, also had interest from Army. 247Sports reports that Mazza was recruited to Fayetteville by Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads.

Mazza seems to have plenty of leg – Kohl’s Kicking Camps, which hold national events for prep kickers, reports that he made a 65-yard field goal at one camp.

Arkansas needs reliability in special teams. Last season, the Razorbacks shuffled between Cole Hedlund and Adam McFain at kicker. Hedlund returns for 2017, but his occasional struggles – including a 22-yard miss against TCU – mean Arkansas would love to have another option.

Meanwhile, Arkansas punter Blake Johnson’s rocky career in Fayetteville – the sophomore had a public intoxication arrest in 2015 and dropped behind quarterback Austin Allen on the depth chart at one point last year – took another turn last week. Coach Bret Bielema said Johnson was in “extreme timeout” following an off-field incident.

With “extreme timeouts” for the incumbent and no other pure punters on the roster, Arkansas fans shouldn’t be shocked if they see Mazza on the field this fall.

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