FAYETTEVILLE — The Arkansas defense got good news last winter when defensive end Trey Flowers announced he’d return to the Razorbacks for his senior season.

FAYETTEVILLE — The Arkansas defense got good news last winter when defensive end Trey Flowers announced he’d return to the Razorbacks for his senior season.


The Razorbacks may not have the same good fortune this year.


Defensive tackle Darius Philon is expected to forego his final two seasons at Arkansas to enter the 2015 NFL Draft, according to a Twitter post from Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports. Philon, a redshirt sophomore, has been weighing his options after collecting 46 tackles, 11 1/2 tackles for losses and 4 1/2 sacks in 2014. His departure could not be confirmed by the Arkansas News Bureau late Monday.


"Darius has an incredible future in front of him," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said last week after visiting with Philon about his draft prospects. "When he is going to take advantage of that opportunity in the NFL is going to be in his hands."


Philon — who earned second-team All-SEC honors last month — is draft eligible because he has completed three seasons at Arkansas, redshirting in 2012. The two-year starter played a big role in helping Arkansas complete an impressive turnaround under first-year defensive coordinator Robb Smith last season. The Razorbacks had back-to-back shutouts against LSU and Ole Miss, allowed 28 points in their final four games and finished 10th in the NCAA in scoring and total defense.


The Razorbacks visited with Philon in his hometown of Mobile, Ala., earlier this month to discuss his options for 2015. Bielema was hoping Philon would return for his junior season and serve as the anchor for Arkansas’ defensive line. Bielema also viewed Philon as a potential leader for a unit trying to replace influential veterans like Flowers, linebacker Martrell Spaight and safety Alan Turner.


"I hope it will be Darius Philon," Bielema said. "I think he grew a lot this year and can put himself in the right position if he comes back. He’s that guy."


Two other Razorbacks who considered an early entry into the 2015 NFL Draft — running back Jonathan Williams and wide receiver Keon Hatcher — have decided to return to Arkansas. Underclassmen have until Thursday to enter the NFL Draft.


— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau