Arkansas might be losing three NFL wide receivers in 2012, but that blow will be softened by the return of running back Knile Davis.
The junior announced his intention to return to Arkansas in a release through the school Tuesday.
“I have made the decision to return to the University of Arkansas for the 2012 season as I am determined to help this program accomplish the goals we have set in place," Davis said. "My injury was unfortunate, but I feel I have worked extremely hard for the opportunity to lead the Razorbacks on the field."
Davis was supposed to be one of the top backs not just in the SEC but in the nation. With his combination of strength and speed, he figured to be one of the most complete backs in the league and probably would have been a top running back prospect in the 2012 NFL draft.
However, Davis suffered a season-ending ankle injury during fall camp. With Davis out of the lineup, Arkansas failed to create a consistent rushing game for the first part of the season. Dennis Johnson ended up being the Razorbacks' lead back, but he was never the runner that Davis was.
In 2010, Davis rushed for 1,322 yards, the most by a running back in the SEC and the fourth-highest single-season total in Arkansas history, and 13 rushing touchdowns. The most impressive thing about Davis in 2010 was probably how well he played in the second half of the season.
In his final seven games, Davis rushed for more than 150 yards four times and averaged 146.8 yards a game in the process.
Without Davis, Arkansas ranked 80th nationally in rushing, averaging 137.4 yards a game.
Having Davis back not only gives Arkansas an elite rusher in its backfield but it will help to make this offense even more balanced. Quarterback Tyler Wilson won't have the three proven, veteran wide receivers he was accustomed to using last season at his disposal, so feeding Davis the ball will help take the pressure off of the passing game.
Also, don't expect Davis to be very rusty in 2012. He might not have suited up for the 2011 season, but that doesn't mean he wasn't working out. There was even chatter about Davis possibly playing at the end of the season. Keeping him away from the field late was probably the best decision coach Bobby Petrino could have made concerning Davis.
He should be more than ready for his senior season in Fayetteville.
"I can’t wait for another season with them and my teammates in 2012," Davis said.