The Top 50 Characters in the History of College Football Movies

Dan VastaSenior Writer IIIMarch 16, 2012

The Top 50 Characters in the History of College Football Movies

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    College football movies are always a priority during the offseason since once spring football gets underway, there isn't much time to sit back and relax.

    There aren't hundreds of college football movies that are popular and or enjoyable to watch. There are really only those select few that you could always watch because of that specific character(s) that always makes the movie for you.

    So, looking at the more popular college football movies out there, I list your top 50 characters.

    Note: Varsity Blues is one of the more enjoyable football movies out there (in my opinion) and it is revolved around college, so forgive me for including such

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No. 50-46

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    No. 50 Ned Beatty (Daniel Ruettiger Sr): Rudy

    No. 49 Tim McGraw (Sean Tuohy): Blind Side

    No. 48 Jerry Reed (Coach Red Beaulieu): The Waterboy

    No. 47 Jon Favreau (D-Bob): Rudy

    No. 46 Matthew Fox (William Dawson): We Are Marshall

No. 45 Gus

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    Yes, this Walt Disney film is about a football-kicking mule named Gus. Do I really need to go on?

No. 44 Paco (Clint Howard): The Waterboy

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    Clint Howard is a funny guy to begin with, but the minor role he has in The Waterboy is worthy enough to be on this list.

    Though he is shown several times throughout the movie, this short clip is worth it and then some.

No. 43 Johnny Walker (Anthony Michael Hall): Johnny Be Good

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    I have not seen this movie in a while featuring Anthony Michael Hall. However, my friends and I have one issue with this movie, it features Anthony Michael Hall as the starting quarterback!

    Seriously, this was the same kid from Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Weird Science, right!?

No. 42 & 41 Baravelli (Chicao Marx), Pink (Harpo Marx): Horse Feathers

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    This movie was way back in 1932 and it does not exactly resemble anything vital about college football per se, but it is about the famous Marx Brothers.

    In other words, this is an unusual movie that is worth watching if you enjoy watching things escalate over something so silly. 

No. 40 Stefen "Stef" Djordjevic (Tom Cruise): All the Right Moves

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    Although this is technically still high school football (the movie is all about preparing and heading to college), Tom Cruise plays the role as Stefen Djordjevic.

    A defensive back that is attempting to get a scholarship to college as well as getting out of a depressing town (Ampipe, PA).

    With several obstacles in his way, Djordjevic eventually fights and finds a way to earn his scholarship.

No. 39 Gee Grenouille (Peter Dante): The Waterboy

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    One of the more underrated actors out there in sports movies (more so Happy Madison films), Gee Grenouille plays the role of the one who bumps heads with Bobby right off the bat.

    They flat out hate each other and the name-calling is quite childish and obviously funny.

    However, they eventually become pals after “The Waterboy” single handily takes the Mud Dogs to the promise land.

No. 38 Derek Wallace (Larry Gilliard Jr.): The Waterboy

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    Yes, he is the kicker that imagines kicking the head of a KKK member.

    Derek Wallace is also your typical random, funny dude that is the lone friend right away of your star character (Bobby Boucher).   

No. 37 Autumn Haley (Halle Berry): The Program

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    Halle Berry, yes, Halle Berry was in The Program as the off-and-on boyfriend of Darnell Jefferson.

    She played Autumn Haley, who was the tutor for Jefferson that made sure he was eligible to play for ESU.

    The star running back developed a bit of a romantic relationship with Autumn, but they did not see eye-to-eye on many occasions.

    As usual, the movie ended with the two working everything out as they were both able to set aside their differences.

No. 36 Townie (Rob Schneider): The Waterboy

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    “Oh No! We suck again!”

    Rob Schneider may not be your favorite actor but he plays this minor role as good as you will see one played.

    He loves his football team and sums up the communities and fans of several college football programs (in a positive way of course).

No. 35 Lance Harbor (Paul Walker): Varsity Blues

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    Paul Walker may currently be known for his The Fast and Furious movies, but he had a solid role in Varsity Blues as the original starting quarterback.

    He was expected to get a full ride to Florida State before a knee injury that he suffered put him out for good.

    Instead of becoming a non-factor in the movie, he coaches his team to victory (season finale) after the team forms as a group to never allow Bud Kilmer coach again.

No. 34 Freddie Wiseman (Carl Weathers): The Comebacks

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    Carl Weathers has to be one of your favorite actors just based off his role in Happy Gilmore. This hot shot coach makes The Comebacks an enjoyable movie if you dig those childish and yet humorous comedies. 

No. 33 Earl Blaik (Scott Glenn): Code Breakers

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    Earl Blaik was a hall of fame coach for the Army Cadets as he posted a ridiculous record of 121-33-10 from 1941-1958. Scott Glenn played the role well in Code Breakers, which was surronded over the Cadets 1951 cheating scandal. 

    Despite winning two national championships (1944, 1945), it was during the 1951 season where Army had to cut loose on 37 lettering players (90 cadets).

    They went just 2-7 that season and they had quite the downfall though it didn't take long for them to become relevant a few seasons later.

No. 32 Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks): Forrest Gump

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    Ok, so maybe this is not a college football movie but if a movie shows you playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide, then you better run with it.

No. 31 Coach Lambeau Fields (David Koechner): The Comebacks

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    Whammy!

    David Koechner plays several roles in a few classic comedies such as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

    Your classic awful coach with terrible players makes for what some would say a brutal sports movie. However, you should of known that before you watched this college football movie.

No. 30 Camille Shafer (Kristy Swanson): The Program

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    Kristy Swanson was Sunny’s (Adam Sandler) boyfriend from Big Daddy, and if you missed the opening scene of that movie and any parts of this movie then I feel sorry for you since you are missing out.

    However, it should be noted how solid of an actress she is in depicting the role of being the boyfriend of your typical star quarterback.

No. 29 Lucy Draper (Kathy Ireland): Necessary Roughness

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    A girl kicker is not something you everyday, but that is exactly what occurs in Necessary Roughness. Lucy Draper is arguably the best offensive weapon on the team due to her consistent leg.

    The funny part was how she was a soccer star that coach Ed Gennero convinced of playing despite of all the guys making her a bit uncomfortable at first (as expected).

No. 28 Vicki Vallancourt (Fairuza Balk): The Waterboy

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    The girlfriend of Bobby Boucher has to make this list on account she is the wildest of girls.

    Plus, she saved Bobby with the special bottle of H20 after he was knocked unconscious during the bowl game. Stealing Lawrence Taylor’s Porsche was just another cool thing to witness.

No. 27 Sean “S.J.” Tuohy (Jae Head): The Blind Side

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    Known as SJ, this kid has a ton of spunk and energy. He would be bouncing off walls wanting to play football with his best brother and bud Michael Oher.

    Watching him lead Michael and Ole Miss out of the tunnel towards the end of the movie was just one of the several priceless acts that he displayed.

No. 26 Manumana "The Slender" (Peter Tuiasosopo): Necessary Roughness

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    Yes, the same guy who played E. Honda in Street Fighter (Peter Tuiasosopo) plays the role of the friendly Samoan.

    Manumana has a solid relationship with his starting quarterback and roomate Paul Blake, but he also is the body guard and friend of Lucy Draper.

    He is the starting center on the team and is not talked about nearly enough nowadays when people first discuss this movie.

No. 25 Helen ‘Mama’ Boucher (Kathy Bates): The Waterboy

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    “No son of mine is gonna play any foos-ball.”

    Yes, Mama Boucher is one of the coolest mothers in the history of college football movies. Her baby boy Bobby Boucher just wanted to make friends and her role allowed the movie to rank with the best of them.

No. 24 Alvin Mack (Duane Davis): The Program

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    Alvin Mack was the heart-and-soul of the ECU football team and despite being a huge trash talker, he was one hell of a leader.

    He had the speed, strength and instincts that very few had as a middle linebacker but he was one of those guys you hated to play against yet loved to play with.

No. 23 George "The Gipper" Gipp (Ronald Reagan): Knute Rockne, All American

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    Ronald Reagan does a great job as George Gipp and even though this isn't one of your more entertaining movies or characters,  ton of tradition and memories goes towards it.

No. 22 Billy Bob (Ron Lester): Varsity Blues

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    Billy Bob was quite the offensive linemen for West Canaan, but his concussions became an issue (or a non-issue).

    Billy's best buds in Mox and Tweeder were always there for him whether they were on or off the gridiron.

    Billy Bob will be known for his hilarious and infamous bar scene. Many now wonder what would have happened if they would ask out their hot professors to prom.

No. 21 Knute Rockne (Pat O'Brien): Knute Rockne, All American

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    A classic 1940s movie about George "The Gipper" Gipp and Knute Rockne will forever be classic.

    There is that famous quote that nobody will forget, "The last thing George said to me, 'Rock,' he said, 'sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper.'"

    Knute Rockne of course is one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport posting a record of 105-12-5 with three national championships (1924, 1929, 1930).

No. 20 Darcy Sears (Ali Larter): Varsity Blues

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    Darcy Sears plays as Lance Harbor's girlfriend, but after an injury cost him the season we saw her change her ways a bit.

    In fact, she tried to lure Mox although it was to no avail. If you haven't seen the scene where she attempts to pull out all the stops (let alone the movie yet), you have some catching up to do.

No. 19 Steve Lattimer (Andrew Bryniarski): The Program

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    Steve Lattimer was a beast and then some in The Program, mainly because he was roided up on steroids for the majority of the movie.

    However, Lattimer was a defensive horse off the edge and ECU needed everything he gave them. Just when you thought he was going to give up on the steroids after serving a three-game suspension, he was then back on them after getting plowed over by an Iowa running back at the goal-line for deciding touchdown.

    The defensive freak came back and came out on top with a victory, and at the end of the movie he is being shown on the bench with his dead full of tears of disappointment after he still had steroids in him.

    The life of a collegiate player isn't easy and the movie helps you realize that.

No. 18 Paul "Bear" Bryant (Tom Berenger): The Junction Boys

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    Paul "Bear" Bryant is a legend of all legends, and this movie features his days with the Texas A&M Aggies.

    The movie goes back to his legendary 10 day training camp in Junction, Texas (1954 season). Bryant wasn't the kindest, softest or easiest coach to play for, but that was what made him the best.

    He prepared you for so much more than the life on the gridiron because he made you mentally tougher. Tom Berenger is sensational playing Bryant and throughout the movie you begin to believe that football really is all that and more.

No. 17 Darnell Jefferson (Omar Epps): The Program

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    Yes, Willie Mays Hays from Major League II was the hot shot freshman running back in this film.  

    He even had Halle Berry at his disposal, which surely adds a ton of swagger to his side.

No. 16 Paul Blake (Scott Bakula): Necessary Roughness

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    Paul Blake is your typical old college quarterback (34 years old) that never went to college and took another job opportunity despite having a ton of talent still on the table.

    Blake threw five touchdown passes in his high school state championship game before taking over his father's farm after he passed away.

    Blake falls in love with Dr. Suzanne Carter, but is able to balance both while finishing up the season with a victory (the team wasn't good).

No. 15 Coach Sam Winters (James Caan): The Program

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    James Caan plays coach Sam Winters in this classic college football movie. He has a ton of pressure heading into the season since he failed to reach the postseason for a second straight year.

    He has his Heisman hopeful quarterback in Joe Kane, but the team has a ton of issues on and off the field. Winters deals with everything and finds a way to ride the ship and get his team back into the postseason with a dramatic comeback victory in the regular season finale.

No. 14 Charlie Tweeder (Scott Caan): Varsity Blues

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    Forgive me since this is just high school football technically, but they play, practice and party harder than your average collegiate team.

    Tweeder is one of those party animals that doesn't come hard to play during practice, but he made the acrobatic and clutch catches in crunch time.

No. 13 Nate Ruffin (Anthony Mackie): We Are Marshall

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    We Are Marshall of course is the movie that shows its respects to the 1970 tragic plane crash that killed 37 football players, five coaches, two trainers and 25 boosters (crew of five).

    Matthew McConaughey may steal the show but it is his star quarterback Nate Ruffin that was the heart and soul of the team.

    Ruffin is the true definition of college football as he loves nothing more than performing for his teammates and fans.

No. 12 Coach Klein (Henry Winkler): The Waterboy

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    Coach Klein came so close to winning the big one back in his heyday and it seemed as if he lost his swagger until The Waterboy came to play.

    Whether it was his hilarious coaching stories along the way or his ability to fall so hard, Henry Winkler plays the role well.

No. 11 Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight): Varsity Blues

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    One of the more famous coaches in the history of football movies (at least collegiate) has to be considered Bud Kilmer.

    Known as the control freak who in reality is a loser who cares about nothing other than winning and making himself look great, plays the role extremely well.

    At the end of the movie, the entire football team is expected to be led by Kilmer out of the locker room after trailing at halftime.

    However, after bullying around the player for the entire movie we see the team form unity and go against the legendary coach. 

No. 10 Farmer Fran (Blake Clark): The Waterboy

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    Could anybody actually understand this guy?

    The crazy party animal himself would randomly be around Bobby Boucher at a party and it would be hard for somebody without a pulse to not laugh.

No. 9 Fortune (Charles S. Sutton): Rudy

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    The janitor that offers words of wisdom (hence the name Fortune) to Rudy is arguably the most underrated character on this entire list.

    One of the better quotes from the entire movie had to be the one when Fortune was telling Rudy how much of a mistake it would be if he too quit the football team.

    "I rode the bench for two years. Thought I wasn't being played because of my color, I got filled up with a lotta attitude. So I quit. Still not a week goes by I don't regret it. And I guarantee a week won't go by in your life you won't regret walking out, letting them get the best of ya. You hear me clear enough?"

    If it weren't for Fortune, Rudy would have never even seen the field or stayed on the team. There is always that one person in your life that can help make a difference by developing a friendship with them and Fortune was just that for Rudy.

No. 8 Jonathon "Mox" Moxon (James Van Der Beek): Varsity Blues

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    After starting quarterback Lance Harbor comes down with a severe knee injury forcing him to miss the rest of the season, Mox gets his chance to shine right away.

    The biggest storyline was the way he stood up to his legendary coach Bud Kilmer. Kilmer was leftvin the dust as Lance went on to coach and lead his team to victory with Mox as the quarterback.

    Outside of dealing with typical girlffriend drama and issues with his friends and family, Jonathon Moxon takes on the pressure as a challenge.

No. 7 Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron): The Blind Side

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    The Blind Side is one of the best college football movies in recent memory as the cast was essentially flawless.

    Michael Oher is one of the most inspirational characters of any sports movie with all of the obstacles that is thrown his way.

    Quinton Aaron gives you everything with his role whether it is shedding a tear, screaming with joy or just hoping for the best.

No. 6 Joe Kane (Craig Sheffer): The Program

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    If you wanted to watch a typical movie, this might be too much for you.

    However, Joe Kane goes through a lot as the Heisman hopeful that gets suspended as he had his own issues off the gridiron, but he found a way to overcome at the end of the day.

No. 5 Ernie Davis (Rob Brown): The Express

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    The Express feature Ernie Davis, who became the first African American player to win the Heisman Trophy while at Syracuse.

    Dennis Quaid played head coach Ben Schwartzwalder and the two developed a bond like many star players and coaches develop.

    Davis and the 1959 Syracuse squad went undefeated with their virtuoso victory over Texas in the Cotton Bowl (23-14).

    After getting drafted by the Washington Redskins, the Heisman winner never played a down after he passed away from Leukemia at the age of 23 (1963).

No. 4 Robert ‘Bobby’ Boucher (Adam Sandler): The Waterboy

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    One of the funniest and most enjoyable college football characters in the history of movies has to be Bobby Boucher.

    Not only can he kick your butt on the field, but his sense of humor along with his cast full of friends always has you laughing on the couch. 

No. 3 Jack Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey): We Are Marshall

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    Matthew McConaughey played Jack Lengyel and is the inspirational motivator that Marshall needed after Flight 932 crashed. Simply put, he made the movie despite a solid cast around him.

    McConaughey has played major roles in a sports movie before (Two for the Money), and this one did not disappoint.

No. 2 Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock): The Blind Side

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    Sandra has played many different roles before, but playing the one as a mother who is a die-hard SEC fanatic was something we have never seen before.

    Leigh Anne Tuphy wore the pants in the family and stood by her family no matter what. Plus, winning an Academy Award for Best Actress speaks volumes.

No. 1 Rudy Ruettiger (Sean Astin): Rudy

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    What is there not to love about Rudy?

    The kid that stands around just 5-foot and 100-pounds becomes an underdog story that you can't help but root for.

    This movie truly shows the pageantry that is involved in collegiate sports and having great morals, values and ethics really stands out.

    The scene in which every players hands in their jersey just to have Rudy play in his first game might be one of best scenes in sports history.

    Unless you cannot stand Notre Dame as a football program or a university, then this movie and character ranks near the top for you.

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