It's a favorite conversation starter for sports fans everywhere: who is the greatest player/coach/pitcher/center/quarterback? With Darren McFadden about to embark on a potentially historic season, it feels like an appropriate time to start that debate for the Hogs.
Let's throw out all stats, facts and figures, and comparisons of eras and go with gut feelings here. Simply put, who is the greatest Razorback of them all (looking purely at their college production)?
I'll start by saying that D-Mac has already staked a pretty good claim as the best football player ever to play at Arkansas. With all due respect to past legends such as Lance Alworth, Billy Ray Smith, Joe Ferguson, Steve Atwater and many others, no one has had the individual impact or national recognition as McFadden.
As far as I know (which isn’t very far), no football Razorback had previously won a major national award, and McFadden has already won the Doak Walker. No Razorback has ever seriously been in the conversation for the Heisman, and McFadden was the runner-up after his sophomore season and figures to be the thick of it again this year.
After that it gets trickier. Sidney Moncrief put the basketball program on the map. Corliss Williamson was a dominant national player and led the Hogs to their only major sport national title. Mike Conley won multiple track championships and was a general athletic freak of nature. It’s hard to assess where D-Mac fits in this crowd without some broader perspective, but the simple fact that he’s already in the conversation after just two years is pretty amazing.
So who gets your vote? For me, I have a personal bias for Corliss but D-Mac could very well shoot to the top of this list after this season. In the meantime, McFadden will only be a Razorback for 13 more games, so let’s appreciate and enjoy history in the making while he’s here.