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Arkansas transfer JD Domineck embracing new opportunity with CU Buffs

Arkansas defensive lineman Jordan Domineck, left. tries to get past South Carolina offensive lineman Jaylen Nichols on Sept. 10 in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Arkansas defensive lineman Jordan Domineck, left. tries to get past South Carolina offensive lineman Jaylen Nichols on Sept. 10 in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

In early December, Jordan “JD” Domineck announced on social media that he would remain at Arkansas for his final year of college football eligibility.

Then, the Razorbacks’ defensive coordinator, Barry Odom, took the head coaching job at UNLV. Domineck still thought he’d return to Fayetteville, Ark., but he said, “One thing led to another and I just felt God telling me, ‘Look, you need to enter the portal for your last year.’”

On Jan. 2, five days after he helped the Razorbacks win a triple-overtime thriller against Kansas in the Liberty Bowl, Domineck entered the transfer portal. Three weeks later, he’s on the Colorado campus and beginning a new journey.

Like so many other transfers that have picked CU this winter, Domineck is eager to play for new head coach Deion Sanders and his staff.

“I know that with Coach Prime we’re gonna come in and it’s gonna be different,” Domineck told BuffZone. “He’s not into any games. He’s out here to really put his players in the best possible position to win and he wants to win now. So I really want to buy into that culture and that program and just come out here and just play like I know we can play.”

A sixth-year senior, Domineck is a 6-foot-3, 251-pound edge rusher who had a stellar season for Arkansas. He wasn’t a starter, but he played in all 13 games and posted 34 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. Only three players in the SEC had more sacks.

Prior to his one year at Arkansas, he played four seasons (2018-21) at Georgia Tech, seeing action in 31 games, with 15 starts, recording 101 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks.

Domineck comes to CU loaded with confidence and the ability to boost what was a dismal pass rush last year.

“Personally, I have a lot of confidence in myself and what I can do,” he said. “I feel like if I can’t go out there and truly be the person that (CU coaches) look at and they call on, then what am I doing?  That’s how I really want to be able to carry myself.

“I just want to have (my confidence) grow even more as long as I’m developing both physically, mentally, emotionally; everything.”

That’s why he is eager for a new challenge – even if it’s one he didn’t expect.

“Honestly when I first entered the portal I didn’t know where I wanted to go,” he said.

It wasn’t long before the CU staff contacted him, however. Sanders and a large chunk of the CU staff came from Jackson State and they recruited Domineck a year ago.

“They almost flipped me from Arkansas my first time in the portal,” Domineck said. “Their impact just stuck with me. I realize how truly friendly and how everybody just is really keen on relationships, but also come in to work.

“I never thought in a million years, though, they were going to reach back out to me and bring me in, but I’m happy they did.”

Domineck’s recruitment to CU was quick. He took an official visit to Boulder the weekend of Jan. 13. He committed on Jan. 15, went back to Fayetteville for less than 24 hours to pack up and was back in Boulder early last week to get everything in line for his enrollment. And, by last Friday, he was at the CU Events Center for his first Buffs’ basketball game as a fan.

“Honestly, it feels like I never left (after the official visit),” he said. “Oh, yeah, it’s been crazy.”

Ultimately, the decision came down to wanting to play for Sanders and the Buffs.

Domineck’s father, James, played football against Sanders while in high school and college. James played at Florida, one of the rivals for Sanders’ Florida State Seminoles.

The family is now rooting for JD as he plays for Sanders, and JD can’t wait to see how it all comes together at CU.

“It’s time to hit the ground running,” Domineck said. “I have one year to make it make it big if I want to make it to the NFL and with this coaching staff and the way these people are out here, this is a no-nonsense place, I’ll tell you that. It’s a no nonsense place and everybody has to be ready for what happens.”