Statewide celebrity. National acclaim.
Arkansas Razorback quarterbacks know these well. It looks like the next one in line will, too, as starter Brandon Allen completed 15 of 22 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns in Arkansas’ season-opening 34-14 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Allen has taken the reins from departed star Tyler Wilson, who was waived Sunday by the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and yesterday landed on the team’s practice squad. Former Hog star Ryan Mallett, meanwhile, could be a Tom Brady injury away from calling the shots for the New England Patriots.
While Mallett and Wilson have remained very much in the spotlight, most other former Razorback quarterbacks join the rest of us in our normal, every-day worlds. They work in our offices, sit next to us at restaurants and frequent our favorite golf courses.
They typically don’t end up in far-flung locales. As you’ll see in the following article originally published in Arkansas Life magazine, after leaving the pocket, the most accomplished Arkansas QBs rarely stray far from home:
Directed Otis Douglas’ split-T offense and helped Arkansas beat No. 4 Texas and No. 18 Texas A&M. Finished career as second-best runner in UA history and was ninth in Heisman Trophy balloting as a senior.
After College: Played in the NFL 1954-64 before a career as a coach. Spent a decade as an assistant with the New Orleans Saints. Died in 1998 from a heart attack.
Years Lettered: 1954-55, 1957
Led Arkansas to a No. 4 national ranking in 1954, its highest ever until then. Masterpiece came against No. 15 Rice, when he completed nine of 13 passes for 119 yards, returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown and punted six times for a 43-yard average.
After College: Worked with Union Bank in Little Rock, then moved to Pine Bluff in 1963 to join Simmons Bank. Retired as vice president in 1999, but still works for Simmons on ad hoc basis.
Current Residence: Pine Bluff
Note: While I’ve used the term “quarterback” to describe McHan and Walker’s position, a more accurate term would be single wing tailback, says Razorbacks historian Jim Rasco. In an e-mail, Rasco added:
The Razorbacks ran the “Tennessee -Balanced Line – Single Wing” under Coach Bowden Wyatt in 1953 and 1954 (and the January 1, 1955 Cotton Bowl, of course). So Arkansas didn’t have quarterbacks in 1953 & 1954.
In 1953, Lamar McHan came in second in the nation in total offense as the single wing tailback. He was voted second-team All-America in the Players Poll conducted by the Chicago Tribune. (He had been an All-SWC quarterback as a sophomore in 1951 – second team all conference quarterback in 1952 before playing tailback his senior season.)
In 1954, Sophomore George Walker was the single wing tailback and led the Hogs to the SWC crown and a berth in the Cotton Bowl. (His back-up tailback was Buddy Bob Benson –who was the long-time coach at Ouachita.)
Wyatt left for his alma mater Tennessee shortly after the Cotton Bowl – so Arkansas returned to the “T” formation and Walker moved to quarterback for the 1955 season.