FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas third-year sophomore defensive tackle Darius Philon posted on Instagram Tuesday that he is foregoing his final Razorbacks season to declare for this spring’s NFL draft, and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney formally resigned from coach Bret Bielema’s Razorbacks staff and will become the offensive coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh.
Bielema issued statements through the UA Sports Information Department about both Philon and Chaney Tuesday night.
“We are disappointed that Darius will no longer be part of our football program but very excited about the opportunities ahead of him,” Bielema said. “It was a privilege to get to know Darius and his family over the past two years. He is a very young and blessed athlete and we wish him nothing but success in life’s path he has chosen.”
Regarding Chaney, his offensive coordinator for both Razorbacks seasons, second-year coach Bielema was quoted: “Jim Chaney has resigned from our staff and I want to thank Jim for his two seasons at the University of Arkansas. We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”
Already searching for a linebackers coach since Randy Shannon left to become co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach at Florida, said his search for a new offensive coordinator has begun.
“We have started the process to take a bigger and brighter step forward in our program,” Bielema said. “As a head coach, I have witnessed many positive events that happen with modified transition. We will find the correct fit for our returning players and coaches eager for the 2015 campaign. Once again, I am not surprised by coaches pursuing the chance to be a part of something here at Arkansas that has never been done.”
It has been reported since Sunday that Chaney was leaving the Razorbacks for Pittsburgh.
Philon, senior-to-be running back Jonathan Williams and senior-to-be receiver Keon Hatcher went through the NCAA-allowed exploratory NFL draft process.
Williams and Hatcher returned to the UA and are enrolled for spring semester classes.
Philon of Mobile, Ala. — a two-year letterman for Bielema after redshirting as a freshman under John L. Smith in 2012 — made 46 tackles in 2014, including 11 behind the line for minus-115 yards with 4.5 quarterback sacks. He also recovered three fumbles and forced a fumble.