State of the Hogs: Top Five

The assignment was to pick the all-time best quarterbacks at Arkansas. There were some really good options.

There's been a little section in the Sunday sports section of the Morning News for the last few years after Arkansas football games. It's called "Gimme Five."

Basically, it's a quick hitter type notes column. I like those sort of things.

It's a fun read and a good idea from Chip Souza, the Morning News sports editor. There are few rules on what it takes to be part of "Gimme Five," but they can be five short stories, or five notes, five different quotes.

Those putting it together in the press box after the game get a lot of freedom.

Five is a good number. It's what we have on most of our hands. We talk about needing five minutes. It's a number that pops out of our mind more times than not.

Maybe that's why Alex Abrams, the Razorback beat writer for the Morning News, asked for the top five Razorback quarterbacks of all time for a nice layout on the paper's football preview set for Sunday. I was part of the panel of "oldtimers" asked to pick the QBs.

It wasn't an easy task, although I've seen most of them play. I could come up with about 10 that should be considered. I won't scoop Alex' story.

You'll have to wait until Sunday to see what his panel -- and it's a great panel -- voted as the top five QBs in UA history. I'll give you mine, and why. Billy Moore was my number one. I had two simple reasons: Billy Moore (1960-62) is the only UA quarterback since World War II to make All-America and no one was tougher. Moore was just as good on defense as offense.

The rest: Quinn Grovey (two Cotton Bowls), Bill Montgomery (28 victories), Fred Marshall (national championship) and Clint Stoerner (best of the SEC era).

I wouldn't argue against Joe Ferguson (best pro, best arm), Matt Jones (pure excitement), Brad Taylor (flexbone wiz), Jon Brittenum (first to surpass 1,000 passing yards in back-to-back years) and Kevin Scanlon (SWC most valuable player, UA record holder for completion percentage in a season at .662). Heck, they wrote a song about Brittenum, the Quarterbackin' Man.

Grovey was the most fun to watch. And, some might say he was as tough as Moore. He did some things with his feet that would take your breath away and how he made himself into a competent passer was amazing.

Some of the ways a quarterback is judged has as much to do with what they had around them as their own ability. Marshall's national championship probably had more to do with the defense pitching five straight shutouts to close the regular season than what he did under center. But he's the only QB with a national crown.

I've participated on other similar polls of late and not just concerning the QBs. Pat Jones, radio talk show host in Tulsa, asked me to pick the top five best all-time Razorbacks, regardless of position.

I tend to gravitate towards defensive tackles, or tackles period. If you are good there, the team is going to be solid. I started with Loyd Phillips, Dan Hampton, Wayne Martin and Henry Ford. I'd throw in Shawn Andrews since he would have been a great defensive tackle.

Add Darren McFadden to that group and I'd be set.

Some would argue for Lance Alworth, perhaps the Razorback with the most successful pro career.

Alworth was a difference maker, just like McFadden, but he played in a college era before his skill was best utilized. Alworth was a receiver playing tailback. But he did a lot of other things to help his team win: punt, return kicks and catch the ball.

I know, I gave you seven names. Pat, UA grad and Little Rock native, pointed that out on live radio. The number was five and I went over. I even threw in Moore as a great leader/player, running my list of greatest five to eight. He didn't argue. We even thought about adding Wayne Harris, a linebacker, on the list.

There are all kinds of "best five lists" you can do. There is room for argument with all of my picks.

Best receivers: Anthony Lucas, Chuck Dicus, Marcus Monk, Mike Reppond, Peyton Hillis.

Best linebackers: Wayne Harris, Cliff Powell, Dennis Winston, Caleb Miller, Ronnie Caveness.

Best defensive backs: Steve Atwater, Ken Hamlin, Greg Lasker, Kenoy Kennedy, Billy Moore.

Best kicker/punter: Ish Ordonez, Todd Wright, Kendall Trainor, Steve Little, Pete Raether.

Best backs: McFadden, Felix Jones, Barry Foster, Ben Cowins and Alworth.

Best offensive linemen: Andrews, Leotis Harris, Freddie Childress, Jonathan Luigs, Bud Brooks.

How about top five players on the 2009 team: Ryan Mallett, Michael Smith, D. J. Williams, Adrian Davis, Malcolm Sheppard. The player on the verge of cracking that top five is Jake Bequette.

There are other lists, too. Can't get to all of them. They might cover coaches (head and assistants). How about top five radio calls? My favorite five Razorback moments? I feel another column about to happen, maybe five!


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