Tyler Wilson and Arkansas Football's 20 All-Time Greatest Players
Despite all of the off-the-field issues the Arkansas Razorbacks are dealing with heading into the 2012 college football season, the number of players returning this year gives them a shot at the national championship.
Returning quarterback Tyler Wilson will be heavily responsible for the team’s success. He emerged as one of the better quarterbacks in the country last season, and will be looking to lead Arkansas to another successful season.
Although Wilson has only started one full season in his career, could he have already solidified himself as a top player in Razorback history?
As we inch closer to the regular season kicking off, here are the top 20 Arkansas players of all time, including the current star quarterback and were he currently ranks.
20. Jim Benton
Jim Benton helped lead Arkansas to its first Southwest Conference championship in 1936. He finished his career with 83 receptions for 1,303 yards and 12 touchdowns. His career receiving yards is still 12th all time in Arkansas history, despite playing more than 80 years ago. In 1937, Benton led the NCAA in receptions and was an All-American.
He has since been named to the Arkansas Razorbacks All-Century Team, Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor.
19. Wear Schoonover
Wear Schoonover was the first Arkansas athlete to hold letters in four sports: football, basketball, baseball and track. He was also the first Southwest Conference player to be named an All-American. He played the "end" position back in the late 1920s and helped Arkansas accomplish a 7-2 record in the 1929 season.
Schoonover is a pioneer in Arkansas football and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1967.
18. Tyler Wilson
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Tyler Wilson played extremely well in his first season as a starter in 2011. He completed 62 percent of his passes for over 3,600 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also became the first quarterback in school history to be named first-team All-SEC.
He currently ranks fourth in touchdown passes, sixth in career completions and became the 10th player in school history to surpass 4,000 passing yards.
He has accomplished quite a bit, but he still has only played one full season. If he can fulfill expectations, this is the year that Wilson can really take his game to another level and move into the top 10 of all-time Razorbacks.
A BCS bowl game, and maybe an SEC title and Heisman nomination, would surely get the job done, and take his status to another level.
17. Wayne Martin
Wayne Martin was as tough as they come on the defensive line, giving the Razorbacks four solid years from 1985 to 1989. He finished his career with 37 tackles for loss, third in school history, and his 25.5 sacks still tops the school's record book.
Martin was later drafted by the New Orleans Saints and racked up 82.5 sacks, second all-time in Saints history.
16. Lance Alworth
Lance Alworth played halfback for the Razorbacks from 1959-1961, and was the first Razorback to win letters in three different sports in one year. As a football player, Alworth was an All-American in 1961, playing all three sides of the ball. He was voted as the most outstanding amateur athlete in the state of Arkansas, and went on to have a fantastic season in the AFL.
Alworth was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984.
15. Ryan Mallett
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Ryan Mallett gave Arkansas two very productive seasons after leaving Michigan. In 2010, he led the Razorbacks to a 10-2 record and the school's first BCS bowl appearance. He earned second-team All-SEC in both years. It also didn't take him long to become the Razorbacks all-time leader in passing touchdowns (62) and passing yards (7,493).
Mallett finished seventh in the Heisman voting in 2010 and was a finalist for the Manning Award in 2009 and 2010.
14. Clyde Scott
Clyde Scott was a football and track star for Arkansas during the mid-1940s. A speedy player who played the halfback position, he was a three-time Southwest Conference player and in 1948 earned All-American honors.
Scott was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
13. Wayne Harris
Wayne Harris played both sides of the ball for the Razorbacks from 1958-1960. He was a two-time first-team All-Conference player and set the Arkansas single-season tackle record in 1960 with a ridiculous 174. He was a terrific football player known for his nasty hits on defense that earned him the nickname Thumper.
Harris is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
12. Chuck Dicus
Before Chuck Dicus became president of the Razorback Foundation, he was a pretty good receiver from 1968 to 1970. He was a All-Southwest Conference player in each year he played, and earned first-team All-America honors in 1969 and 1970. He finished his career as the most productive wide receiver in Arkansas history with 118 receptions for 1,854 yards.
He is a member of the Razorback Hall of Honor and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
11. Ken Hamlin
Ken Hamlin was a hard hitting safety back for Arkansas in the early 2000s. He was only the second defensive back to lead the school in tackles, and was the first freshman to do so. He was named to the coaches' freshman All-SEC team, and in his sophomore season was named first-team All-SEC.
Hamlin was nominated for the Jim Thorpe Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy in 2002. He became the first Razorback to finish with 100 plus tackles in three different seasons, finishing his career with 381 career tackles.
10. Loyd Phillips
Loyd Phillips was a defensive tackle in the mid-1960s and was a first team All-America in 1965 and 1966. He helped lead the Razorbacks to an undefeated season and national championship in 1964, along with winning the Outland Trophy his senior season.
The Razorbacks finished with a 29-3 record with Phillips on the team, and he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
9. Brandon Burlsworth
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Brandon Burlsworth entered Arkansas as a walk-on, but worked his tail off to become an All-American and two-time All-SEC member. He also became the first Razorback to earn a master's degree before playing the last game of his career. On the field, he started a total of 34 games and helped Arkansas finish with a 9-3 record in 1998.
Burlsworth was the definition of toughness and a true testament to what hard work can do.
8. Jonathan Luigs
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Jonathan Luigs was a versatile player along the offensive line, and played nearly every position on the line in 2004 to help generate one of the best running games in the league. He finished his career as a three-time first-team All-SEC member, winning the Rimington Trophy and Jacobs Trophy in 2007.
He started a total of 49 games throughout his career and was one of the more consistent offensive linemen the Razorbacks have ever had.
7. Dick Bumpas
Before becoming a great defensive line coach and defensive coordinator, Dick Bumpas was a terrific defensive player for Arkansas in the 1970s. He was named the defensive player of the year in 1970 along with being a first-team All-American.
Bumpas was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
6. Billy Ray Smith
Billy Ray Smith was a two-time All-American defensive end, in 1981 and 1982. Throughout his career, he racked up 229 total tackles and 63 tackles for loss, which is an Arkansas record to this day.
Smith is a member of the Arkansas All-Century Team and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
5. Felix Jones
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Felix Jones was one of the more explosive players Arkansas ever had. Although he shared carries with another fantastic running back in Darren McFadden, Jones still managed to produce 5,099 all-purpose yards, the second most in school history. He was a first-team All-SEC player in 2007, and a consensus All-American.
He finished his career with 2,954 rushing yards and 27 total touchdowns. If the Arkansas backfield wasn't as loaded as it was when Jones was on the roster, his numbers would have been a lot more impressive than they already are.
4. Shawn Andrews
Shawn Andrews is by far the best offensive lineman to ever suit up in an Arkansas uniform. He started as a freshman back in 2001 and hasn't looked back sense. He quickly became a two-time consensus All-American, won the Jacob's Award twice, the Parker Award, and was a finalist for the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award.
Andrews played in a total of 35 games and only allowed a total of two sacks.
3. Steve Atwater
Steve Atwater was a quarterback coming out of high school but ended up playing the safety position for Arkansas. It was a great switch. He became an All-American twice and All-Southwest Conference three times. He also still holds the current school record for career interceptions with 14.
Atwater was taken in the first round of the 1989 NFL draft and went on to become a three-time All-Pro and win two Super Bowl rings.
2. Dan Hampton
Dan Hampton was a defensive tackle in the late 1970s, and a big reason for the Razorbacks success in 1977 when they won 11 games, including upsetting the Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl. He was an All-American player, who earned the Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1978. Hampton was constantly generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks and finished his career with 237 tackles and six fumble recoveries.
He is a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor, Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and the Arkansas All-Century team.
1. Darren McFadden
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We can really go on all day about Darren McFadden's accomplishments during his time at Arkansas. Simply put, he was by far the best player to play for the Razorbacks and one of the more exciting players to watch during his time here. He holds nearly every school rushing record, including most rushing yards in a season, most rushing yards in a career, most 100-yard rushing games and most touches in a season.
McFadden was a two-time All-American, won the Doak Walker Award twice, Jim Brown Trophy, Walter Camp Award and finished second in the Heisman voting in 2006.
It may be a while before we see another player as special as McFadden was.