On a sadder note (this was a very hard subject for me to cover, but it is also part of the program history and can't be left out), this hawg-tales covers the deaths of football players while students at the University. Luckily, this is a short list (as far as I know there have only been four). Can you name them?
Chris Toulson, as a walk-on offensive tackle, also passed away from an apparent accidental gunshot wound to the leg, but was no longer a member of the team at the time. He was a member of the 1998 and 1999 teams.
We start out at the program's beginning, with the Cardinal fullback on the 1894, '95, '96,' and '97 teams. His name was Herbert Y. Fishback and the son of a former Arkansas governor. Fishback was the first campus football team hero and was selected as team captain for his last three years. He was born approximately in 1875 somewhere in Sebastian County, Arkansas. Here the history indicates that Fishback died after a football train trip to play Drury College in Springfield, Missouri on November 20, 1897. The game was played in inclement weather and ended in a 6-6 tie. It was while playing in this game that he contracted pneumonia and passed away soon after on January 3, 1988. You can see Fishback pictured above as the second player from the right on the middle row in the 1896 team picture above. He was also a second lieutenant in Company E of the Military Club, member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, captain of the 1897 baseball team, and on the editorial staff of the Cardinal yearbook.
I'm only aware of three other players that have passed away while members of the team and students at the University. There were no more Cardinals, as these remaining players were all Razorbacks. Second on the list was defensive tackle Claud Lamar Smithey who collapsed in the locker room following the Hog win (34-0) against Texas A&M in College Station on October 29, 1966. He was rushed to Methodist Hospital in Houston where he passed away from lung abcesses and bronchopneumonia brought on by pulmonary embolism, brain swelling, and acute subdural hematoma on November 15, 1966. Possibly, by a brain concussion brought on due to an injury during the game. Smithey was born on June 27, 1943 in Higginson, Arkansas, with funeral services attended by the team and held in Searcy. He is buried at Harmony Cemetery in White County. Smithey was a letterman for the Hogs during 1964, '65, and '66 seasons.
Perhaps, one of the most famous on my list was Brandon Burlsworth at third. The June 6, 2013, hawg-tales covers him extensively and tells how a walk-on offensive guard went on to become an All-American. Not only was he an All-American, but his #77 became only the second football jersey number to be retired. It joins with the #12 shared by Clyde Scott, and Steve Little. No one will ever wear the #77, again.
These are four players that all had tremendous potential and talent. As far as can be determined, each were honorable, and fantastic human beings. They were all gone too soon, however, (in the words of the Fight Song) "Arkansas will Never Yield! "