Arkansas Football: 25 Most Beloved Figures in Program History

James Brown@@chasingballgameSenior Analyst IApril 12, 2011

Arkansas Football: 25 Most Beloved Figures in Program History

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    FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 02:  Tailback Darren McFadden #5 of the Arkansas Razorbacks turns around to retrieve his helmet after hitting his head on the roof of the hog's mouth while running onto the field for a game against the University of Southern C
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Arkansas football has a long, rich history of great individuals that have suited up for the school. The program has been graced with many individuals that brought excitement and pride to the football field.

    These players repented a proud program with grace and style, making them some of the most beloved figures in Arkansas history.

    In no particular order, here are 25 of the most beloved figures in program history.

Frank Broyles

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    Broyles is the man that put Arkansas football and then the University of Arkansas athletics on the map.  He is responsible for improving football, basketball, baseball and track and field, successfully launching them into the national spotlight. 

    Broyles used a no-nonsense approach when dealing with his coaches and demanded respect from everyone within the program. He had a National Award named in his honor that was awarded to the best assistant coach of the year.

Paul Eells

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    Paul Eells, the voice of the Razorbacks from 1978 till 2006, was killed in an automobile accident on his way to Little Rock from Fayetville.

    If a true Hog fan couldn’t make it to the game, they would turn off the TV broadcast audio and turn up the home stereo to listen to Paul explain what was really going on. 

     Eells was a well-respected individual that never had an ill word said about him.

Bobby Petrino

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Head coach Bobby Petrino of the Arkansas Razorbacks reacts in the first half against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Petrino is the current head coach who came to the Razorbacks under a cloud of scrutiny as he bailed on the Atlanta Falcons. In his short time with the Razorbacks he has been remarkable, bringing the Razorbacks to their first BCS bowl. There is no question that the future looks bright with Petrino at the helm.

    To make sure he doesn’t get away, the Razorbacks have locked down Petrino with a contract extension.

Dan Hampton

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    CHICAGO - OCTOBER 2:  Defensive tackle Dan Hampton #99 of the Chicago Bears looks on as he stands on the field during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field on October 2, 1988 in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bears won 24-3.  (Photo by Jonathan Dan
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Dan Hampton is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

    Hampton was unstoppable with Arkansas and brought that same intensity to the Buddy Ryan-led defense in Chicago where he won a Super Bowl. 

Jerry Jones

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    ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 22:  Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on November 22, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Perhaps one of the most controversial people on the list, Jerry Jones is a Razorback, through and through. The owner of the Dallas Cowboys is a proud alum that still supports his alma mater and always keeps an eye out for the Razorbacks in the draft.

     Love him or hate him, Jones is one of the most interesting people in the history of the program.

Lance Alworth

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    The man is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and that is all you need to know.  The man’s nickname is Bambi and he is a mixture of toughness and grace.

    Alworth turned down a chance to play with the New York Yankees to play for his beloved Hogs.

Brandon Burlsworth

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    1 Jan 1999:  Brandon Burlsworth #77 of the Arkansas Razorbacks talks to an official during the Florida Citrus Bowl Game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The Wolverines defeated the Razorbacks 45-31. Mandatory Credit:
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Burlsworth was a big offensive lineman with NFL talent that went from walk-on to All-American. Unfortunately, just days after being drafted to the NFL, Burlsworth lost his life in a car accident.

    There is now an annual Brandon Burlsworth award, honoring walk-on players who have played excellent football.

    Burlsworth has a foundation in his name that supports the physical and spiritual needs of children, and in particular, those children that have limited opportunities. He is just one of two razorback players to have their numbers retired.

Darren McFadden

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 23:  Darren McFadden #5 of the Arkansas Razorbacks runs for a touchdown against the Louisiana State University Tigers to score a touchdown at Tiger Stadium November 23, 2007 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Razorbacks defeated the
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    McFadden was one of the most dangerous running backs in the country that sliced and diced opposing defenses.   

    The talent of McFadden allowed the coaching staff to implement the wildcat and the term "Run DMC" meant something special to Arkansas fans.

    D-Mac virtually holds all of the prominent records at Arkansas still to this day and will always be remembered as one of the best to suit up for the Hogs.

Steve Atwater

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    SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 12:  Safety Steve Atwater #27 of the Denver Broncos runs on the field during a pre season game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on August 12, 1994 in San Francisco, California.  The 49ers won 20-3.  (Photo by Geor
    George Rose/Getty Images

    Atwater was named All-SWC three times and All-American twice.  He finished his career at Arkansas as the school’s leader in interceptions at 14.  Sadly, it is the one he dropped that is remembered by college football fans. 

    If someone wants to see how the position of safety is played, watch the Arkansas at Hawaii game in which the Hawaii QB Ken Niumatalolo (current coach at Navy) had to be pulled simply because of Atwater.

Joe Ferguson

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    Ferguson was the 1971 SWC Player of the Year, highlighted by completing 31 passes in one game.  After years in the NFL he came back to Arkansas to coach quarterbacks, mentoring a young Clint Stoerner in the style of play that brought the possibility of “Hope and Change” to hog fans everywhere.

Ken Hatfield

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    Hatfield was a player on the national championship team and currently has the highest winning percentage of any Razorback head coach at .760 overall, and .783 in conference play. 

    His legacy changed the football program and set the standard for others to follow.

D.J. Williams

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  D.J. Williams #45 of the Arkansas Razorbacks reacts to what he thought was a touchdown but he was down by contact in the first half against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    D.J. Williams is the perfect mix of athletic talent and a class act off the field. Williams was the recipient of the Mackey Award and the Disney Spirit Award. 

    Williams was a hard worker on the field who did not seek the spot light. His contribution on and off the field will be tough for others to match in the future.

Peyton Hillis

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    The tough bruising back for the Cleveland Browns got his start with the Razorbacks. Hillis collected 2,624 all-purpose yards and 23 touchdowns as a three-year starter at Arkansas where he set school records for running backs with 118 career catches, 1,195 yards receiving and 11 TD receptions.

George “Pat” Summerall

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    SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 13: ESPN Anchorman Pat Summerall looks on during a game with the Dallas Cowboys against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on November 13, 1994 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won 21-14. (Photo by George Rose/Gett
    George Rose/Getty Images

    While there are few around that remember watching Pat play as a Razorback, there are very few hog fans who don’t revel in the fact that the smoothest voice in play-by-play belongs to one of our own.

Billy Ray Smith Jr.

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    Billy Ray was a chip off the old block that followed in his father’s footsteps.

    Bill Ray was a two time All-American, earned 299 career tackles and holds the Hogs record for most career tackles for loss with 62. 

    The 1982 team captain has been named to the Arkansas All-Decade team and the Arkansas All-Century team. The Hogs are proud to declare that he is a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, the Razorback Hall of Honor and the College Football Hall of Fame.

Ken Hamlin

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    ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 09:  Safety Ken Hamlin #26 of the Dallas Cowboys during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at Cowboys Stadium on January 9, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Hamlin, as known as the Hammer, was a hard hitting player that followed the mold of Steve Atwater.  Hamlin finished his three-year career at Arkansas with 381 tackles and was named to multiple All-American teams.

Jacob Skinner

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 25:  Jacob Skinner #14 of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks celebrates during the game with the Louisiana State University Tigers on November 25, 2005 at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The Tigers won 19-17.  (Phot
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    It is rare that a punter would make the list, but Skinner makes the cut. 

    Not only is he near the leader in every punting category the school has, there was the “pre-punt ritual” that was plastered all over ESPN and even became a student ritual before every punt.

Clint Stoerner

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    14 Nov 1998:  Quarterback Clint Stoerner #14 of the Arkansas Razorbacks runs with the ball during a game against the Tennessee Volunteers at the Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Volunteers defeated the Razorbacks 28-24. Mandatory Credit: Tom H
    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    Stoener will forever be known outside Arkansas for the fumble in Knoxville.  In state, he is known as the guy who came back and beat them the next year.  Probably the last time you will see a goal post carried down Dickson Street.

Boo Williams

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    NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 12:  Tight end Boo Williams #82 of the New Orleans Saints runs the ball past linebacker  Tracy White #59 of the Seattle Seahawks during the preseason game on August 12, 2005 at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Seahawks wo
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Boo Williams sounds so much better than Eddie Lee Williams, and so it became the second most common chant for the hogs during Williams' years in Fayetteville. 

    At first announcers didn’t understand why everyone “Booed” when Williams got the ball, but it didn’t take them or the NFL to realize his talent.

Quinn Grovey

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    2 Jan 1989:  Quinn Grovey of the Arkansas Razorbacks throws the ball during a game against the California at Los Angeles Bruins at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas.  California at Los Angeles won the game 17-3. Mandatory Credit: Joe Patronite  /Allsport
    Joe Patronite/Getty Images

    Quinn Grovey is probably one of the best option quarterbacks in the later half of the 20th century.

    His skill is one of the main reasons that Hatfield’s winning percentage is so high. 

    To understand what a threat this man was, all you need to do is watch his first series against the Hurricanes when they played in Miami.  The ball was snapped, Miami’s defense ran to the short side of the field, while Grovey handed the ball off to Foster who took it up the middle for a huge gain.

Barry Lunney Jr.

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    If Arkansas football had royalty, it would be the Lunney’s. 

    During the dark years of Danny Ford, even though the team won the Western Division Championship, if something special was going to happen, Lunney and Hill had to be involved. Although J.J. Meadors was involved once or twice, Barry Lunney was a special player.

Steve Little

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    Steve Little is arguably the best kicker Arkansas has ever had. 

    Unfortunately, Little had a miserable NFL career and was later seriously hurt in a car accident, leading to his death at the young age of 43.

    What ever happened to the “Steve Little helmet” car that used to run all over the field before games?

Ron Calcagni

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    Calcagni had the best winning percentage of any quarterback in school history.

    He led the team to a win against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl and a victory over the Georgia Bulldogs in the Cotton Bowl. Tied UCLA in the Fiesta Bowl. 

Madre Hill

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    2 Dec 1995:  Running back Madre Hill of the Arkansas Razorbacks looks for an opening during a playoff game against the Florida Gators at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.  Florida won the game 34-3. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Stockman  /Allsport
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Hill is a monster running back from Malvern that could have put up the numbers that Darren McFadden did and Knile Davis will. 

    However, after suffering a knee injury during the first half of the SEC Championship game, he was allowed to return to the game and destroy what was left.  He endured and had success, but nothing compared to what should have been.

Ryan Mallett

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks looks to pass against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Matthew
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Mallett was a perfect fit for Petrino’s offense and put up astronomical numbers at his time in Arkansas. His style and his bravado was perfect to lead the Razorbacks to a big BCS game in his final season.

    These are not the only beloved players in Arkansas history and others will soon follow as the years go by.

    Matt Regaw is a B/R Featured Columnist and the founder of, your one-stop shop for sports articles, previews and predictions. Feel free to contact Matt at


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