Texas Football: 3 most underrated quarterbacks in program history

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(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Mike Cotten
Quarterback 1959-1961

By far the quarterback that played for the Longhorns longest ago is the Uvalde, TX, native Mike Cotten. This multi-sport athlete was the Texas starting quarterback from 1960-1961, under legendary former head coach Darrell Royal. He saw a lot of success during his days as the Texas starting quarterback too.

Cotten also got some playing time under center in 1959, when Bobby Lackey was still the primary Texas starting quarterback.

While Cotten never got the Longhorns a National Championship, he did come close during his final year on campus. During the 1961 season, the Longhorns finished up with a record of 10-1 (4-1 SWC). And Texas rounded out with the third spot in the final AP Poll of 1961. If not for a 6-0 upset loss at the hands of the TCU Horned Frogs late in the 1961 season, then Texas could’ve won the national title in this campaign.

The numbers for Cotten, like much college quarterbacks from the 1950’s and 1960’s, aren’t going to blow anyone away. Passing stats don’t tend to be the most overwhelming from this time period. But Cotten did register 1,138 passing yards, 11 touchdowns through the air, and nine interceptions in college.

Cotten added more than 360 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the ground to his career totals for offense accounted for. Even at a low point during the 1960 season, Cotten guided Texas to a record of 7-3-1 (5-2 SWC), which allowed them to finish 16th in the country. That comes from Sports-Reference’s Simple Rating System.

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