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The Best Arkansas Razorbacks Ever (Tacklers Edition) The Best Arkansas Razorbacks Ever (Tacklers Edition)
By Evin Demirel  Arkansas junior De’Jon Harris has racked up the highest tackles total in back-to-back seasons among all Razorback players since Sam Olajubutu... The Best Arkansas Razorbacks Ever (Tacklers Edition)

By Evin Demirel 

Arkansas junior De’Jon Harris has racked up the highest tackles total in back-to-back seasons among all Razorback players since Sam Olajubutu a dozen years ago. Both linebackers rank among the best Razorback tacklers of the SEC era.

Here’s a ranking of Hogs when it comes to highest total tackle seasons since 1992:

10. Ken Hamlin

Tackles: 104

Year: 2000

Buckle up. You’re about to see a lot more of this all-time Razorback free safety great in the rankings ahead.  This year, Hamlin became the first freshman to lead the team in tackles. Jerry Franklin would follow in his footsteps eight years later.

9. Three-way tie between Mark Smith (in 1995), Sam Olajubutu (in 2006) and De’Jon Harris (in 2017)

Tackles: 115

8. Tony Bua 

Tackles: 117

Year: 2001

Like Hamlin, get ready to see a lot more of this superb, hard-hitting linebacker ahead.

7. Three-way tie between Sam Olajubutu (in 2005), Matt Hewitt (in 2007) and De’Jon Harris (in 2018)

Tackles: 118

6. Two-way tie between Ken Hamlin (in 2001) and Tony Bua (in 2003)

Tackles: 126

You just know Razorback fans read those names and get a little misty-eyed thinking about those hard, hard-hitting days.

5. Martrell Spaight

Year: 2014

Tackles: 128

[Since 2005, Martrell Spaight is one of two Razorbacks to lead the SEC in tackles]

4. Tony Bua 

Year: 2002

Tackles: 126

Man, Bua and Ken Hamlin sure made a mean one-two punch amount the best Razorback tacklers ever. For someone who ended up the Razorbacks’ ALL-TIME LEADER in tackles, you’d have thought he led his team in tackles one season. But check the list below. Amazingly, he didn’t lead the team in tackles in a single season.

3. Caleb Miller

Year: 2003

Tackles: 133

In the SEC era, the best Arkansas Razorback defenses were in the 1998 and 1999. Those teams finished third and fourth in the SEC in points allowed, respectively. In the following years, the program drifted back to the middle of the conference pack defensively, but it wasn’t for lack of effort from the likes of Miller, Bua, Hamlin and Jermaine Petty.

Don’t let the below picture from Caleb Miller’s abandoned Twitter profile fool you.

Back in the day, he was a bad, bad man…

Caleb Miller

2. Jermaine Petty

Year: 2001

Tackles: 150

Did Petty get 150 or 140 tackles this season? Some sources say 140, while this official Razorback stat sheet says 150. Whatever the total was, it was impressive — especially when that total included 15 tackles for loss. Petty became the rare Razorback defensive player in the SEC era to earn All-American honors.

And who can forget Petty’s game-sealing tackle here?


1. Ken Hamlin

Year: 2002

Tackles: 159

What a career. In three years, Hamlin set the all-time Razorback career tackles record. Granted, Bua took it for himself the next season, but Bua had four years to work with.


You may be wondering: What about the old-school SWC Razorback greats? The Steve Atwaters, “Thumper” Harrises and Ronnie Cavenesses of the world? Oh, that Best Of Arkansas Sports post is coming. And when it comes you, dear reader, you don’t want to miss it!

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Top Razorback Tacklers Year By Year (SEC Era) 

Year Name Position Total Tackles Solo Tackles Assisted Tackles
2018 De’Jon Harris LB 118 62 56
2017 De’Jon Harris LB 115 66 49
2016 Brooks Ellis LB 83 38 45
2015 Brooks Ellis LB 102 45 57
2014 Martrell Spaight LB 128 63 65
2013 Alan Turner Jr. S 97 37 60
2012 Ross Rasner S 92 49 43
2011 Jerry Franklin LB 101 46 55
2010 Jerry Franklin LB 100 48 52
2009 Jerry Franklin LB 94 51 43
2008 Jerry Franklin LB 87 54 33
2007 Matt Hewitt SS 118 63 55
2006 Sam Olajubutu LB 115 70 45
2005 Sam Olajubutu LB 118 69 49
2004 Vickiel Vaughn FS 66 47 19
2003 Caleb Miller LB 133 84 49
2002 Ken Hamlin FS 159 97 62
2001 Jermaine Petty LB 140 80 60
2000 Ken Hamlin FS 104 57 47
1999 Kenoy Kennedy FS 98 58 40
1998 Kenoy Kennedy FS 95 66 29
1997 Melvin Bradley NG 71 44 27
1996 Melvin Bradley NG 89 51 38
1995 Mark Smith LB 115 60 55
1994 Mark Smith LB 79 35 44
1993 Darwin Ireland LB 93 37 56
1992 Kevin Kempf LB 102 51 51

 


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