Baylor Football

The Hard Count: Ranking the top five Baylor quarterbacks of all time

June 1, 2021
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SicEm365's J.D. PicKell is breaking down the beautiful game of college football to Waco and beyond. Tune in to "The Hard Count" and stay in the know on all things pertaining to Saturdays in the fall. Today, he looks at the top five Baylor quarterbacks of all time. 

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The Hard Count: Ranking the top five Baylor quarterbacks of all time

2,719 Views | 21 Replies | Last: 7 days ago by Robert Wilson
MrGolfguy
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I respect your opinion but it is far different than mine. Your entire list is RG3 and after (roughly a 12 year window); its hard for me to believe that all the greatest QBs in the over 100 years of Baylor football arrived in Waco in this tiny space. More likely its that the players on your list got to play in a unicorn offense & be surrounded by the best overall talent ever seen at BU. There are others that you didn't even mention who deserve to be on the list in my opinion (both played before i was born). Baylor had some really good teams & really good players pre 2008.
Don Trull (early 60s) - All-American, 2x winner of the Sammy Baugh trophy (nations top passer), 4th in Heisman voting; Larry Isbell (early 50s) - All-American in football & baseball (freak athlete), led Baylor to 8-1-1 season and Orange Bowl, #7 overall pick in NFL draft
My top 5 of all time - RG3, Don Trull, Seth Russell, Larry Isbell, JJ Joe/Bryce Petty (tie)
Honorable Mention - Cody Carlson, Charlie Brewer, Jay Jeffrey, Nick Florence, Shawn Bell
Greenbear
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Don Trull has to be on any all-time list of QBs at Baylor. Period. Larry Isbell was before my time and I really only know his stats. Nick Florence should be on Honorable Mention list. Petty should be ahead of Russell only because Russell didn't play enough due to injury. He was really good, though. JJ Joe? I love him, but I wouldn't put him in that category. Neal Jeffrey should be higher on the list for what he accomplished with such little talent.

RGIII and everybody/anybody else.
jdkingbear
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I agree, wholeheartedly. It seems the "young" guy who did this ranking thinks only QB's of the last couple of decades qualify. Don Trull was an All American, came in 2nd for the Heisman, and set all the records until Griffin came along. Without question, RG3 deserves the top spot and some of the others, but not to even mention Trull in this conversation - this ranking is BS.
jdkingbear
CTbruin
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The Jeffrey brothers both were the QB of SWC champions are on my top 5. As is Trull.
jumpinjoe
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FIFY....

SicEm365's J.D. PicKell is breaking down the beautiful game of college football to Waco and beyond. Tune in to "The Hard Count" and stay in the know on all things pertaining to Saturdays in the fall. Today, he looks at the top five Baylor quarterbacks who played DURING PICKELL'S LIFETIME.
Joined BaylorFans in 1999 under username jumpinjoe. Have always been Jumpinjoe. Proud 4 Year Baylor letterman and 1968 graduate and charter member of Quartermiler U, produced school record in 400 IH.
Stranger
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jumpinjoe said:

FIFY....

SicEm365's J.D. PicKell is breaking down the beautiful game of college football to Waco and beyond. Tune in to "The Hard Count" and stay in the know on all things pertaining to Saturdays in the fall. Today, he looks at the top five Baylor quarterbacks who played during PicKell's life time.


He should look a little harder.

Excuse me. Is this a list of the greatest qb's this youngster has ever seen? JD, please don't embarrass yourself anymore with bogus lists like this one. Your credibility will be non-existent.

I'll give you RGIII. He won the Heisman. Don Trull was fourth in Heisman voting and was best Baylor quarterback I ever saw play, including Griffin. The others would be Larry Isbell who be my Dads choice, Neal Jeffrey, Cotton Davidson.

You can't compare statistics from different eras which seem to be your main criterium. As Gene Stallings once uttered as Baylor rolled up great stats while losing to his Aggies by the score of 20-3, "statistics are for losers".

I was a great fan of Art Briles at Baylor. However there was some great football played at Baylor before he arrived.

Pull your head out of your statistics book and learn some history before making any more silly embarrassing videos like that one.

sic 'em, indeed
I'm a Bearbacker
fubar
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Larry Isbell and Don Trull played against greatly watered-down competition.

I'll take the guys who played in an era where all were at least considered eligible to play.
Timbear
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Trull was recognized Nationally, but all others prior to integration should be in a different category.
Greenbear
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fubar said:

Larry Isbell and Don Trull played against greatly watered-down competition.

I'll take the guys who played in an era where all were at least considered eligible to play.
I hear this all the time from my sons, if I understand your post correctly. The competition is a lot stiffer today, right? Back in the day, there were entire groups of people left out of playing. You play against the competition whatever it is. Just because someone doesn't play today - people are bigger, faster and there is way more competition spread out over a lot of times, but that doesn't make the competition any less. Some of these kids today aren't even in school to get a college education. Football, for many, has become a minor league system for the NFL. It was truly an amateur league and those players, and the competition, were great indeed.
Positive Bear
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You're right, alot of these kids don't go there to play school.
Pecos 45
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Greenbear said:

fubar said:

Larry Isbell and Don Trull played against greatly watered-down competition.

I'll take the guys who played in an era where all were at least considered eligible to play.
I hear this all the time from my sons, if I understand your post correctly. The competition is a lot stiffer today, right? Back in the day, there were entire groups of people left out of playing. You play against the competition whatever it is. Just because someone doesn't play today - people are bigger, faster and there is way more competition spread out over a lot of times, but that doesn't make the competition any less. Some of these kids today aren't even in school to get a college education. Football, for many, has become a minor league system for the NFL. It was truly an amateur league and those players, and the competition, were great indeed.
Agreed.
Back in the day, the best players available showed up, and played.
If they were not as good as today's players, that wasn't their problem.
They suited up and played as hard as they could, without all of the off-season enhancement today's player's enjoy.

I would argue that if yesteryear's players had all of the tools available today, they would be just as good.

It's about like comparing 1950-60s NASCAR to today.
Back then they didn't even have power steering, yet Richard Petty managed to whip everyone's a$$.
"It's no sin to be poor, but it's damned inconvenient." Mark Twain
1 bears opinion
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I need to get something signed by Don Trull...is he still in good health? I assumed somebody on this board would know how to get something to him in the mail? I'd enjoy adding him to my BU memorabilia collection. Thanks in advance for any help you can be.
CNC
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fubar said:

Larry Isbell and Don Trull played against greatly watered-down competition.

I'll take the guys who played in an era where all were at least considered eligible to play.
So, I can tell all of my TCU friends that, in hindsight, Sammy Baugh and Davey O'Brien actually sucked?
WestTexSand
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I'll go with RG3, Trull, Isbell, Petty, Neal/Jay Jeffrey HM to Carlson, Joe, Adrian Burke, Florence, Cotton Davidson
Sic 'Em
CNC
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I based on my picks based solely on their college career when they played.

The Heisman Trophy has been and will always be the greatest amateur award you can receive. so..thats what I'll go with.

In no particular order:
Griffin III (Heisman winner)
Larry Isbell (7th place Heisman 1951)
Don Trull (4th place Heisman, lost to Staubach)
Bryce Petty ( finished top 10 twice in Heisman)
#5? Its close, but 'll go with Cody Carlson.
fubar
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CNC said:

fubar said:

Larry Isbell and Don Trull played against greatly watered-down competition.

I'll take the guys who played in an era where all were at least considered eligible to play.
So, I can tell all of my TCU friends that, in hindsight, Sammy Baugh and Davey O'Brien actually sucked?
You can tell them whatever you want. But that's not what I said.

I would love to be able to watch black-and-white YouTube videos of Isbell and Trull playing for BU against the very best college athletes of their day, be they black, white, green, orange, whatever. We can't. Not Larry Isbell's or Don Trull's fault, it just was what it was.

Ignoring the fact that gaudy stats of the day were done in the absence of a whole lot of potentially great players who were excluded through no fault of their own, either, strikes me as dumb.

The competition was watered down. How in the world is that not obvious?
drahthaar
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On the memorabilia front, I got a football signed by the 1963 team...the ball had a white, smooth leather side for the sigs. I got to know Stacy Mathis a few years prior to his death (on a trip to Seattle when we played Wash St). Got his address a sent him that ball since he was a vital member of that team. Screen name was Goreesixman or something to that effect.

I don't think the competition was "watered down" so much as it was different from today. Someone mentioned "tools" earlier in the thread...real weight programs didn't take hold until the 60's but I suspect that if older generations of players had had today's training and coaching tools, their ability would be comparable to today's players. Picking the greatest at anything is subject to the times in which they were rooted. Old guys will mention
Adrian Burke or L.G. Dupre, for example. Really old guys--now gone--mentioned Jake Wilson. Rapidly aging guys roll our Cody Carlson and Don Trull. Recent history shows RGIII as an incomparable athlete who would have been challenged by Seth Russel barring injury. Tough call, because as a "QB" or leader, Florence was superb. The question is for long discussions over nachos and Shiner Bock. Or maybe Weller's. Fun thread.
Stranger
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drahthaar said:

On the memorabilia front, I got a football signed by the 1963 team...the ball had a white, smooth leather side for the sigs. I got to know Stacy Mathis a few years prior to his death (on a trip to Seattle when we played Wash St). Got his address a sent him that ball since he was a vital member of that team. Screen name was Goreesixman or something to that effect.

I don't think the competition was "watered down" so much as it was different from today. Someone mentioned "tools" earlier in the thread...real weight programs didn't take hold until the 60's but I suspect that if older generations of players had had today's training and coaching tools, their ability would be comparable to today's players. Picking the greatest at anything is subject to the times in which they were rooted. Old guys will mention
Adrian Burke or L.G. Dupre, for example. Really old guys--now gone--mentioned Jake Wilson. Rapidly aging guys roll our Cody Carlson and Don Trull. Recent history shows RGIII as an incomparable athlete who would have been challenged by Seth Russel barring injury. Tough call, because as a "QB" or leader, Florence was superb. The question is for long discussions over nachos and Shiner Bock. Or maybe Weller's. Fun thread.

Preach on.
I'm a Bearbacker
Greenbear
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Having seen both play, I don't think Jay Jeffrey was anything close to Neal. Jay was out QB in a great year so there is that, but skill and talent wise I don't think they were comparable.
Pecos 45
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Greenbear said:

Having seen both play, I don't think Jay Jeffrey was anything close to Neal. Jay was out QB in a great year so there is that, but skill and talent wise I don't think they were comparable.
Neal won with JC transfer talent and players who were passed over by the other colleges.
Jay had some real studs surrounding him.

Tangent: One Baylor QB I recall well was Mark Brannon. He beat the University of Texas and Texas A&M in the same season, but we wound up 3-8.
(However, I felt it was the best 3-8 season I've ever experienced.)

Brannon came into the Arkansas game after sitting out the first of the season with an injury. Faced an undefeated, #3-ranked Hog team coached by Lou Holtz.

Trailed 17-7 at halftime but came back and won the game in the last 1.24.
The guy was a scrapper, but injuries did him in.
"It's no sin to be poor, but it's damned inconvenient." Mark Twain
Robert Wilson
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fubar said:

CNC said:

fubar said:

Larry Isbell and Don Trull played against greatly watered-down competition.

I'll take the guys who played in an era where all were at least considered eligible to play.
So, I can tell all of my TCU friends that, in hindsight, Sammy Baugh and Davey O'Brien actually sucked?
You can tell them whatever you want. But that's not what I said.

I would love to be able to watch black-and-white YouTube videos of Isbell and Trull playing for BU against the very best college athletes of their day, be they black, white, green, orange, whatever. We can't. Not Larry Isbell's or Don Trull's fault, it just was what it was.

Ignoring the fact that gaudy stats of the day were done in the absence of a whole lot of potentially great players who were excluded through no fault of their own, either, strikes me as dumb.

The competition was watered down. How in the world is that not obvious?
Watered down is not the right description. It was just a completely different era. The fact that it was pre-integration is just one thing. The year-round training we put people through now, from a very early age, specialization, nutrition, the level of coaching they get - on and on and on. Comparing people across eras is just apples and oranges. But saying if you plucked Don Trull out of the 60s and stuck him in a game today that he'd have trouble is just reductionist. If Don Trull came along today, he'd be a completely different athlete and player, too. You have to judge them based on when they played.
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