Forgotten College Football Stars of the 20th Century

BabyTateSenior Writer IJanuary 25, 2009

You know the drill: A family dinner, an incidental meeting, or a spontaneous moment that results in shared memories about "the great old guys" we used to cheer.

Sometimes the list goes no further than a year ago, sometimes it contains nothing but players for your favorite team, or the old alma mater.

But sometimes, just by chance, our memories are jogged by the names of great players who may have seemed to have dropped off the face of the earth.

The following is a list of such players, and a brief description of why we continue to honor their name with that recognizable phrase, "Oh, yeah, I remember him, he was something else."


11) Jim Kiick, Halfback, Wyoming Cowboys, 1965-67: A true warrior who was a personal favorite of mine during his time in Laramie, Kiick was the anchor of the 1966 team that went 9-1.

The Cowboys went on to defeat Florida State that year in the Sun Bowl, 28-20.  They followed that up with a 10-0 season in '67, and a trip to the Sugar Bowl to face LSU.


10) Dewey Warren, Quarterback, Tennessee Volunteers, 1965-67: A contemporary of Kiick. Warren was known as "The Swamp Rat" because he was from Savannah, Ga.

He is the single most important reason the Volunteers recovered from a near decade- long period of doldrums after the Johnny Majors era of the 1950s.


9) Jerry Stovall, Halfback, LSU Tigers, 1960-62: Ranking behind only Steve Van Buren and Billy Cannon, and placing with Y.A. Title and Bert Jones as one of the five greatest players in LSU history, Stovall was equally outstanding on offense and defense.

Stovall finished second in the Heisman Trophy chase in 1962. He played both ways, and played 60 minutes. The Tigers lost a total of two games in his final two seasons. During those two seasons, LSU gave up an total of 91 points in 22 games. A man among boys.


8) Mel Farr, Halfback, UCLA Bruins, 1964-66: 6'2", 210 pounds of raging Texas dynamo. Naturally super strong, with 9.5 speed in the 100-yard dash. Overshadowed  by Mike Garrett of Southern California, who played across town at the same time.


7) Tom Clements, Quarterback, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 1972-74: When he left, coach Ara Parseghian retired. In Clements' three seasons, the Irish went to two Orange Bowls and a Sugar Bowl.

The '73 team went unbeaten and defeated Alabama for the National Championship, 24-23, in one of the greatest games ever played.


6) George Woodard, Fullback, Texas A&M Aggies, 1975-78: The enormous Woodard went 6'0", 280 pounds. He won district track meets in high school by running the 100-yard dash in 9.9 and tossing a shot put well over 62 feet.

His thighs each measured three feet around. During his four years at A&M, playing in the Wishbone Offense of coach Emory Bellard, the Aggies won 36 and lost 12.


5) Ed Marinaro, Halfback, Cornell Big Red, 1969-71: Forever known outside the South as the man who should have beaten Pat Sullivan for the Heisman Trophy. Sort of a reverse precursor to the Manning and Woodson situation in 1997.

Put it this way, if you play in the Ivy League and finish ahead of Johnny Musso of Alabama and Johnny Rogers of Nebraska in the Heisman race, you're good. Later known for his starring role in the TV series Hill Street Blues.


4) "Big" Jon Hand, DE, Alabama Crimson Tide, 1982-85: The 6'8", 285-pound Big Jon anchored a terrific defense for the Crimson Tide during the mid 80s. He was totally overshadowed by his teammates, linebackers Cornelius Bennett and Derrick Thomas.


3) Alonzo Highsmith, Halfback, Miami Hurricanes, 1983-86: Truly one of the finest players ever to come out of the South. At 6'1", 237 pounds, with quick feet and fast legs, this was a true terror during his time, when Miami was really Miami.

Totally overshadowed by dozens of star teammates on a dynasty that won four national titles from 1983-91.


2) Joe Hamilton, Quarterback, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 1996-99: A case could be made that Hamilton is the greatest ACC football player of all time. As a senior, he finished second in the Heisman Trophy chase.

Along the way, Joe Hamilton left school with the ACC record for most offense, with 10,640 yards, 65 TD passes, 83 total touchdowns, the highest passing efficiency rating in ACC history, and third-most rushing yards by a QB all time in the ACC.

Joe Hamilton was the consensus first team All-American QB in '99, winner of the Davey O'Brien Award, and ACC Athlete of the Year. That's a ballplayer.


1) Pete Dawkins, Halfback, Army Black Knights, 1956-58: Not only is this gentleman one of the finest football players ever, he might be an American hero on the level of Davey Crockett and John Glenn.

The gifted 195-pound runner (see pictured above) took the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell in '58 and led his team to an unbeaten season and No. 3 final ranking in Red Blaik's last season at West Point.

He won the Sports Illustrated and Sport Magazine awards as "Sportsman of the Year." Amazing?

At age 11, he came down with Polio and was told he would never walk again. Now, that's amazing.

Dawkins was president of his class at West Point and received a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. He accepted but, before going, stopped off to finish his training as an Airborne Ranger in the 82nd.

He obtained his Master's Degree from Oxford, went to Vietnam, won two Bronze Stars, became a General and commanded the 101st Division.

He then earned his PH.D. in Economics from Princeton, worked in the White House, and later was CEO of several large Wall Street firms.

Now that is a biography that shouldn't be overlooked.

Oh, yes, I remember those guys. They were something else.


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