June 13, 2012 at 4:47 PM CDT - Updated June 27 at 7:29 AM
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (ArkansasRazorbacks.com) - The University of Arkansas unveiled new uniforms for the 2012 season Wednesday featuring Nike Pro Combat System of Dress technology combined with a unique cutting-edge design inspiration that harkens back to the Razorbacks rich tradition and history.
The fully integrated uniform system incorporates the latest in performance innovation and design while paying tribute to the school's mascot and identity. The team took a clean modern approach, keeping a cardinal uniform and helmet as well as a white version of both bringing back a helmet color the Razorbacks have worn in the past. Additionally, Arkansas introduced a fierce new anthracite (gray) color as an alternate.
"We wanted to make sure our student-athletes had the latest in technology when it comes to uniforms," said Arkansas Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long. "Our cardinal and white is the basic look and we have introduced other combinations we think add something to the table with our fan base and branding. We are never going to go away from our staple of cardinal and white because that is what is important to us, but at the same time we've provided some exciting options as well. Overall, we've been conservative in what we've done with our uniform and feel we've made it cutting-edge with respect to the past and the tradition that are uniquely Arkansas. I think we have a clean, sharp uniform our fans are going to like and I know our student-athletes love. It's going to be great to run into Donald W. Reynolds Stadium and on to Broyles Field in them in the fall."
For more than a century, the Arkansas football uniform has had a number of variations in which the Razorbacks have won one national title, 13 conference titles and made 39 bowl appearances. Fifty All-Americans and 244 All-Conference selections have also worn the Razorback uniform. With a nationally ranked squad set to take the field with one of the most anticipated home schedules in history the 2012 football team will bring a new look to a tradition-rich program.
"The student-athletes are truly excited about our new uniforms and fired up to wear them," said Arkansas football head coach John L. Smith. "Nike has tried to incorporate the old traditions while giving the uniform a modern look. Our student-athletes believe if you look good you play good and hopefully that's the case. Nike has a reputation for being on the cutting edge as far as enhancing a player's performance and these uniforms are lighter, tighter and cooler and that will help us perform better. Recruits out there want to hear the name Nike and see the swoosh and they are looking at the combinations of uniforms a school is capable of having."
While the Razorback's new uniform delivers superior lightweight performance and optimal protection, it tells a story through the new design which was the culmination of a one-year process. During that time, Nike representatives visited Arkansas to study the tradition of the Razorbacks in order to incorporate many of the elements that make the university unique. On their visit, representatives toured campus and collected input from department members and student-athletes. Arkansas worked closely with Nike during the process to bring elements of the school's rich Razorback heritage into a distinguished, clean and modern uniform design by emphasizing the strong iconic Razorback features. The shoulders are accented with jagged metallic Razorback lines, which reflect the hairline along the mascot's back, thus creating a wider look across the pads. The "RAZORBACK" slogan has been placed on the front of the home jersey, which also features new number fonts and logo typeface designed to look like the sharp edge of a razor, while "ARKANSAS" is shown on the away and alternate versions. Additionally the numbers, as well as the helmets, feature an aggressive faded finish. The "RING THE BELL" rally cry is also stitched into the inside neckline as a reminder to the student-athletes to perform their best in order to achieve team goals.
"We ring the bell when we achieve our best both individually and as a team on the field," said Arkansas senior quarterback Tyler Wilson. "By putting it on our jersey we know it will be time to perform. I like the new feel and there is excitement inside the locker room now that everyone has seen them. They give us a different look in this new era for Arkansas football."
Earlier this month, members of the 2012 football signing class arrived on campus and commented on how uniforms impacted their decision in their recruiting process.
"I think the way you look is a factor for everyone in recruiting," said freshman defensive end JaMichael Winston. "When you are choosing which schools to visit, you picture yourself playing for them and if you can't see yourself in that uniform you might not be as interested in seeing what else the school has to offer."
In addition to the new design, this integrated uniform system provides enhanced durability and innovation from the inside out. Additional padding without the bulk offers optimal low-profile impact protection specifically throughout the crucial "hit zone" around the hip area.
The uniform system design also emphasizes improved thermoregulation, including the Nike Pro Combat base layer, which is constructed with fabric selected for its ability to help keep the body cool and wick away sweat - making the uniform, and player, lighter and dryer. The jerseys are made of four-way stretch nylon that sheds moisture. Flywire technology in the collar eliminates two layers of fabric for improved breathability, providing a more stable anchor to keep the jersey in place.
Replica jerseys will be available in retail stores, including Hog Heaven located at Bud Walton Arena in July.
Additional Comments on Nike Uniforms: "The whole freshman class is excited about the new uniforms. I remember watching my dad play and how much I looked forward to getting to wear nice uniforms like the ones he had with the Falcons, so personally that's a huge positive for me." - Ray Buchanan, Jr., Freshman, CB
"I like the new Arkansas football jerseys. I think it is a great look and a great fit and I'm anxious to play and perform in them. As players, we want to look good when we are out there, and these jerseys look good. The fit is great too, and the tightness will help us while we are playing." - Knile Davis, Junior, RB
"I was asked to move forward with a different look and to push the envelope. The material we are utilizing in these uniforms is really more high performance based. It really stays lighter and dryer on the student-athletes for a longer time. It wicks moisture away and keeps them cooler so they don't dehydrate as quickly. The performance element of the uniforms is so much better than what we've had in the past. The new material will help the players as it is tighter and will fit the players better. This is the SEC and this is Arkansas and we didn't want to lose that in the design. Nike does a great job with their research and knowing where we need to go. We know what the players want and what we've done in the past so we put together all three areas and this is the culmination of those elements. - Chuck Hall, University of Arkansas Head Football Equipment Manager
"I like to look good, so when I was being recruited the uniforms definitely had something to do with my interest in a school. These new uniforms definitely look good, and I can't wait to wear them." - Keon Hatcher, Freshman, WR
"These uniforms will draw the eyes of a lot of recruits when they see them on Saturdays in big-time games. We have a great schedule this year, so we will get a chance to showcase these throughout the season. The whole team is looking forward to going out and performing in these uniforms." - Cobi Hamilton, Sr., WR