FAYETTEVILLE — Add four more former walk-ons to the list of Arkansas players who have earned athletic scholarships.
Linebacker Austin Jones, running back Patrick Arinze, linebacker Price Holmes and tight end Alex Voelzke were put on scholarship by Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, according to several social media posts from players Sunday night. It included Arinze, who said via Twitter he was simply trying to "get people to look at my highlight tape" two years ago.
"... Now I'm on scholarship in the SEC," Arinze added on his Twitter page.
Arinze, who played at Grossmont (Calif.) Junior College, become a valuable member of the backfield after joining the program in the spring. He is backing up senior Kiero Small at fullback, but also has proven capable of being a ball carrier. Jones — who walked on at Arkansas in 2010 after leaving the Air Force Academy — has emerged as the front-runner to win the starting job at middle linebacker in his fourth season with the program. Holmes and Voelzke also have become important reserves.
The four give Arkansas six former walk-ons who have been put on scholarship since Bielema's arrival.
Long snapper Alan D'Appollonio and tight end Mitchell Loewen were awarded scholarships last spring.
Bielema has said several times establishing a walk-on program at Arkansas is an important goal. Bielema walked on at Iowa as a college player.
"I think just in the state of Arkansas there’s probably a lot of players that I think are three good things: They’re usually undersized, under-recruited and under-developed," Bielema said on Aug. 5. "To me, that’s a great formula for our walk ons. So it’s something we want to build not just in Arkansas, but because of all our bordering states and the rules that exist there, we’re really trying to increase the value of our walk-on program"
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau