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The Top 5 Quarterbacks in Arkansas History

Arkansas Quarterbacks
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While Arkansas football has fallen on hard times over the last decade, the program has still boasted some impressive signal-callers in its illustrious history. From gunslingers to QB's who could run through linebackers, here's a list of the top 5 QB's to ever walk the field in Fayetteville.

5. Fred Marshall (1962-64)

Marshall's statistics are certainly nothing flashy, but he has forever cemented his place in Razorback lore for his part in the program's only football national championship to date. Marshall commandeered the 1964 Razorbacks while accounting for 1,094 yards of total offense.

Eighty of those yards came on a drive that forever immortalized Marshall and his teammates, as Marshall led the Arkansas offense on a fourth-quarter march that beat Nebraska in that year's Cotton Bowl, sealing the title. Marshall's numbers won't appear in many record books anymore, but until another Razorback signal caller brings home the hardware, he'll have a special place in the hearts of every Arkansas fan.

4. Matt Jones (2001-04)

Jones burst onto the scene for Arkansas in 2001, replacing starter Zac Clark in one of the greatest games in college football history. Arkansas defeated Ole Miss 58-56 in seven overtimes, forever immortalizing Jones as a legend in the state of Arkansas. Named the starter in 2002, Jones won 9 games in each of the next two seasons before a disappointing 5-win campaign unceremoniously ended his time in Fayetteville.

Arkansas Quarterbacks
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Jones' professional football career didn't pan out as he had hoped, as substance abuse arrests ended his solid stint with the Jaguars as a wide receiver, but his electric runs and dazzling downfield passes made him one of the most exciting players in Arkansas history. Jones also had a short stint on the Arkansas basketball team, even throwing down a dunk in a Southeastern Conference contest against Auburn.

3. Tyler Wilson (2008-12)

The catalyst behind Arkansas' 11 win season in 2011, Wilson took on the seemingly impossible task of replacing Ryan Mallett with as much grace as one could hope for. After a magical run in 2011, it seemed then Wilson was primed to take Arkansas to the promised land—that is, until an unfortunate motorcycle ride sent the program into a spiral it has never fully recovered from.

Arkansas Quarterbacks
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While Arkansas' 2012 season was a flop as a whole, Wilson was a bright spot for a team entrenched in darkness, hurling 21 touchdowns and throwing for 3,387 yards.

2. KJ Jefferson (2019-23)

Jefferson's collegiate career still has one more chapter left, but it'll be played at UCF rather than Arkansas. Nonetheless, Jefferson spent five seasons in Fayetteville and started in three of them, and was a key factor in the resurrection of a program that hit its lowest point after the firing of Chad Morris. As a first year starter in 2021, Jefferson threw 21 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions en route to a 9-4 season for second-year head coach Sam Pittman.

Arkansas Quarterbacks
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Jefferson also terrified linebackers and safeties when he started to scramble, and created yardage out of many broken plays behind a horrendous offensive line in 2023, even garnering rare praise from Alabama coach Nick Saban. While Jefferson's final season at Arkansas only produced a 4-8 record, Jefferson was far from the biggest problem with the team, and without his efforts, Pittman is likely unemployed heading into 2024. Jefferson also broke several records during his 2023 campaign, ensuring his legacy in Fayetteville will stand the test of time. While Jefferson didn't deliver Arkansas a championship, he was able to help bring the Hogs back into the national spotlight, and that is an admirable accomplishment in its own right.

1. Ryan Mallett (2009-10)

Mallett's untimely passing in June 2023 only made Arkansas fans reminisce more about the glory days of Arkansas football, when Mallett and then coach Bobby Petrino led one of the best offenses in college football. In 2009, Mallett broke the school record for passing yards in a single season before breaking his own record in 2010. In that famed 2010 season, Mallett led Arkansas to a 10-win season and a matchup with No. 6 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.

Arkansas Quarterbacks
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Despite throwing for 277 yards, Mallett and the Razorbacks lost a 31-26 decision to the Buckeyes. Mallett went on to play in the NFL for six seasons, mainly as a backup. He later coached at Mountain Home High School in Mountain Home before his unfortunate passing.

Arkansas Quarterback Legacy

These five quarterbacks have all left winning legacies at the University of Arkansas. From Marshall's national championship to Jefferson bringing Arkansas back into the national spotlight, all five men listed have all made exceptional contributions to the school, football program and state. Razorback fans hope that Taylen Green could impress enough in 2024 to find his way onto the list.


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