Hamlin and Hill Hall of Honor inductions remind Arkansas football of better times

Eric Bolin

With your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points. There is no place like it on the Web.

The mid-to-late 1990s and early 2000s weren’t the halcyon days of the Arkansas football program. In fact, they were rather like a roller-coaster ride.

But when the two headliners of the 2017 Hall of Honor class were on the field for those teams, boy, did you notice.

Running back Madre Hill and safety Ken Hamlin were among nine players announced Thursday to be inducted into Arkansas’ Hall of Honor this September. Hill played for the Razorbacks from 1994-98. Hamlin was in Fayetteville from 2000-02. Although both played three seasons each, they remain fan favorites.

Especially Hill, the Malvern, Ark., native who was something of a child prodigy. His days in youth football saw the local organizing body institute the “Madre Hill Rule.” If Hill scored three touchdowns and his team had a 14-point lead, he was no longer allowed to score for the rest of the game.

Needless to say, in the late 1980s that made him something of a talent. And in those days — the pre-social media days — Hill on the local TV news channel and in newspapers made for a widespread story. So, of course, by the time he made his way to The Hill, he was well known.

Unfortunately, he tore the ACL in both knees before he left Arkansas. Hill missed the end of the 1995 season and all of the 1996 and 1997 seasons. When he returned for a final go in 1998, he ran for 669 yards and 7 touchdowns in Houston Nutt’s first season as coach. It was good enough for Hill to drafted and spend a season in the NFL.

Hamlin’s path was more direct. He was moderately touted coming out of Memphis, but his impact was immediate upon arrival to Arkansas. Hamlin led the team in tackles as a freshman and The Sporting News named him an all-American.

Hamlin spent two more years at Arkansas, knocking receivers around and picking off passes. When his junior season started, everyone and their mother figured it was Hamlin’s last. And, sure enough, it was. He was taken early in the second round of the NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks.

Other inductees include:

  • Troy Eklund, baseball
  • Jack O’Keefe, men’s golf
  • Melvin Lister, track and field
  • Amy Wright, women’s basketball
  • Chin Bee Khoo, women’s golf
  • Louis Campbell, football
  • Bo Busby, football

Hall of Honor weekend is Sept. 7-9 in Fayetteville. You can find more information, including how to buy tickets, here.

Diamond Hogs can taste hosting regional

Who cares how they come as long as they come.

The Arkansas baseball team gave up the lead in the bottom of the ninth Thursday against Texas A&M but won 6-4 in the 10th off Chad Spanberger’s two-run homer.

arkansas-chad spanberger-lsu
Arkansas first baseman Chad Spanberger went yard for the game-winner Thursday. (Courtesy Arkansas Athletics)

The Razorbacks can now finish no worse than fifth in the SEC. If that were to happen, they would play the No. 12 seed on Tuesday in the SEC Tournament. However, Arkansas can crack the top 4 of the conference standings with one more win and one more Mississippi State loss.

A top-4 finish would mean the Razorbacks get a first-round bye. They wouldn’t play until Wednesday next week in Hoover, Ala. All they have to do to get it is earn one more win than Mississippi State this weekend. Currently, it’s 1-0, as the Bulldogs lost to LSU on Thursday night.

Blaine Knight will go for Arkansas in Game 2 on Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 and the game can be seen on SEC Network+.

The New England Razorbacks

Former Arkansas defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. met with the New England media for the first time Thursday since being drafted by the Patriots.

The Pats have a habit of doing that. Picking up former Razorbacks, that is.

Trey Flowers is well known by Patriots fans after an excellent season in which he led the team in sacks. Ryan Mallett, before that, was labeled as a high-potential backup to Tom Brady. Jake Bequette spent time there back in 2012. And A.J. Derby turned himself into an NFL player with the Patriots, too.

Wise was asked why he thinks New England keeps taking these Arkansas guys. NESN has the story.

“The terminology is kind of similar, and just how they run their whole program. From the top to the bottom, [they] show everybody respect. I don’t care if it’s a CEO, a GM, a head coach or a janitor or cafeteria lady. [They] show everybody respect. That’s what Arkansas taught me, and that’s exactly what I’m learning here, as well.”

Yee-haw! Today in Arkansas

We’ve all been there. Dating a psycho. Men and women both.

Here’s one for you. Who takes a mugshot like this after what she’s (allegedly) done?

Run. Don’t walk.

Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.