Ryan Mallett: The Life And Legacy Of An Arkansas Legend

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04: Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks looks to pass against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04: Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks looks to pass against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Former Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback, Ryan Mallett passed away at the age of 35 on June 27th in Destin, Florida.

Mallett reportedly passed away due to a drowning accident after he was reportedly stuck at a sandbar, trying to get back to land. The national weather service reportedly released a statement, saying there were rip currents in the area, and that could be a potential cause of his death.

Mallett is best remembered as a seven-year NFL veteran with the New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, and Houston Texans. He is also remembered as a legend in Fayetteville as the starting quarterback for the Razorbacks for several seasons. However, at the time of his death, he was the head football coach at Whitehall high school in Arkansas. He had just gotten a job at Whitehall in 2022 and was likely preparing to coach the upcoming high school football season in a few months.

When he graduated from Texas high school in Texarkana, Texas, he was ranked as the second-best quarterback in his graduating class and the fourth-best overall player in the class as well. He was the recipient of the Gatorade Player Of The Year award in the state of Texas for 2006. He participated in the 2007 US Army All-American Bowl, which featured some of the best high schoolers in the country every single year. Due to his performance during that game, Ryan Mallett won recognition as the best player on his team. In three years as a starter in high school from 2004-06, he threw for 72 touchdowns and nearly 8,000 passing yards.

Coming out of high school he committed to the University of Michigan to play under legendary head coach Lloyd Carr. Mallet featured sparingly during his true freshman season at Michigan, as he mostly backed up Chad Henné in 2007. However, he does hold the distinction of having the longest passing play at the University Of Michigan, as he completed a 97-yard touchdown to Mario Manningham.

The highlight of his freshman season in Ann Arbor is when he started in place of Chad Henne against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. After Michigan started the season with their infamous loss to Appalachian State, and followed up that loss with another loss to Oregon Michigan blasted Notre Dame by a score of 38-0. Mallett only threw 15 passes in that game against the Fighting Irish, and he completed seven of them, three of which went for touchdowns. The following week he got his first taste of conference action as he started against Penn State. He threw for 170 yards and an interception, but he also had a 10-yard rushing touchdown early on in the game.

Following the Penn State game, Chad Henne would return and Mallett wouldn’t see much action over the next several weeks. He would be called into action against Minnesota, and he would put up a solid performance against the Golden Gophers. The next week against Wisconsin, Mallett didn’t start but he came off the bench and had a three-touchdown performance and that is when he threw the 97-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham as well. In the season finale against Ohio State, Ryan Mallett was featured sparingly to wrap up his freshman season in Ann Arbor.

Following the retirement of legendary head coach, Lloyd Carr, Ryan Mallett would transfer after the hiring of brand new head football coach, Rich Rodriguez. As Ryan Mallett thought, he did not fit the style of quarterback that Rodriguez would be looking for, as Rodriguez typically ran a more option style off, and Mallett was more of a pro-style quarterback. This is what would lead him to commit to the University of Arkansas and that is where he would become a three-year starter after sitting out the 2008 season due to NCAA transfer rules at the time.

However, his time in Fayetteville didn’t get off to the greatest start as he was arrested for public intoxication before the start of the 2009 college football season. During his first game with Arkansas, he went 17-22 and threw for over 300 yards and a touchdown against Missouri State. From that point on, he was the established starter for the Arkansas Razorbacks and the rest would be history. He put his name on the map when he threw for over 400 yards and five touchdowns against the Georgia Bulldogs later that season. After a slow start to the season, Mallett and the Hogs would catch fire and they would finish the year at eight and five with a bowl victory to their name.

Ryan Mallett would become an Arkansas Razorbacks legend

The following year in 2010 would be an even better year for Ryan Mallett and the Arkansas Razorbacks as he led them to the Sugar Bowl against Ohio State in his final college football season. Unfortunately for Mallett and Arkansas, they would come up short and lose the Sugar Bowl of the Buckeyes, and what was an incredible performance for the soon-to-be draft-eligible quarterback. Mallett would end up finishing in seventh place in that year’s Heisman Trophy voting before declaring for the NFL draft and forgoing his senior season.

In three years at the collegiate level, Mallett threw for 69 career touchdowns and well over 8000 yards, nearly equal to his performance during his high school years in the same amount of time as well. He would end up being drafted in the third round of the 2011 NFL draft by the New England Patriots and although his professional career didn’t go the way he would’ve hoped, there is no doubt that he is fondly remembered during his time at Arkansas for his success during the Bobby Petrino era.

When you think of the greatest quarterbacks to come out of Fayetteville, ideally, the first name that comes to mind would be Ryan Mallett and he is more than deserving of that honor as well as he currently holds 16 school records.

dark. Next. Ranking College Football's top 25 fanbases

His legacy will go down in history for the Razorbacks and in the minds of the Arkansas faithful.