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Auburn Football: The Tigers All-Time Dream Team

Ian BergCorrespondent IAugust 15, 2012

Auburn Football: The Tigers All-Time Dream Team

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    Every few decades schools will look back at history and compile an All-Decade team, but rarely do All-Time teams make it into the hands of fans. Auburn has not had an All-Time team released, but don’t fret Auburn fans—here is the Tigers All-Time Dream Team. 

    The Auburn Tigers have one of the richest traditions in college football after fielding three Heisman winners, seven players who won major college football awards and 66 consensus All-Americans since 1889. The Tigers have built title contending teams over the years with some of the country's best players taking the field in orange and blue.

    Sifting through some of the best athletes that have ever played college football is a tall task, but the list has been compiled.

    Here are the best players to ever strap on the helmet marked with “AU.” 

Quarterback: Cam Newton

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    Was there a doubt that Cam Newton would take the first place on this list? 

    Newton had the most explosive single season in the history of Auburn football, piling up 2,854 passing yards, 1,473 rushing yards, 42 receiving yards and 51 total touchdowns. 

    In the same season, Newton won the Heisman, Maxwell, Walter Camp and Davey O’Brien awards. 

    Cam Newton could argue that his single season was the best in college football history. As a JUCO transfer, Newton ignited an Auburn team searching for identity, and led the Tigers to their second national title.

Running Back: Vincent "Bo" Jackson

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    Bo Jackson was Auburn’s second Heisman Trophy winner, taking home the award in 1985. Jackson carried the football 278 times that season, finishing with 1,786 yards and 17 touchdowns. 

    In his career, Jackson compiled 650 total rushing attempts for 4,303 yards, giving him an average of 6.62 yards per carry when his time as a Tiger had finished. 

    Bo was one of the most explosive players to ever take the field in college football and played every game with a tough, no-nonsense mentality that defined the Tigers during the Pat Dye era. 

Fullback: Fred Beasley

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    Fred Beasley was a bruising fullback hybrid that mixed some time at running back into his game while at Auburn. Beasley finished his Auburn career with 282 carries and 1,241 rushing yards, earning him 4.4 yards per carry by the end of his career. 

    Beasley was also dangerous in the passing game, earning 567 yards as a receiver from the backfield. 

Receiver: Terry Beasley

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    One of the most famous calls in Auburn history was Sullivan to Beasley. Even if you weren’t around to hear it live, you know the call. 

    Terry Beasley helped Pat Sullivan become the 1971 Heisman Trophy winner and anchored the Tigers receiving corps in the early 1970’s.

    Beasley finished his Auburn career with 2,507 yards and 29 receiving touchdowns—the most in school history in both categories. 

Receiver: Karsten Bailey

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    Karsten Bailey finished his career in the top three in all-time yardage, receptions and touchdowns for a Tigers receiver. He was one of the few bright spots during the Bill Oliver 3-8 1998 season.

    Bailey was not the biggest guy on the field, but he was one of the most consistent targets for the Tigers during his years on the Plains.

    Bailey finished his career with 150 receptions, 2,174 receiving yards and 17 receiving touchdowns. 

Tight End: Walter Reeves

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    Walter Reeves was the most complete tight end to play for the Auburn Tigers. 

    According to the Auburn University athletics website, he finished his career grading out in the 90's as a blocker, which is crucial for a tight end in a run focused offense. 

    Reeves plowed through defenders while blocking, but he also was known for dragging defenders yards after the catch—stretching plays for first downs that would have otherwise never been obtained. 

    He finished his career as a two-time All-American selection and was drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft in 1989 by the then Phoenix Cardinals. 

Offensive Tackle: Marcus McNeil

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    Marcus McNeill was an anchor for the undefeated 2004 Auburn Tigers team. He went on to play six years for the San Diego Chargers in the NFL. 

    McNeill was a two-time All-American selection for the Tigers at tackle and finished his career as one of the best offensive linemen to play in orange and blue. 

    He paved the way for arguably the best running back tandem in Auburn history with Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown following his lead through gaping holes downfield. 

Offensive Guard: Zeke Smith

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    Zeke Smith was a Tiger that played on both sides of the ball during his Auburn career—a normal occurrence in the early years of college football.The best athletes available played. 

    Smith was an Outland Trophy winner and two-time All-American as a guard for the Tigers. He played defensive end and linebacker as well during his career on the Plains. 

    Smith was an intricate part of the Tigers first national title in 1957.

Center: Walter Gilbert

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    Walter Gilbert was one of the first Auburn Tigers to receive All-American honors. He was a two-time All-American during his time on the Plains. His first honor was given during the 1935 season.

    Gilbert now has the Walter Gilbert Award given in his honor to elite Auburn athletic alumni. Gilbert was also introduced into the College Football Hall of Fame during the 1956 induction year.

Guard: Ed King

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    Ed King was a two-time All-American selection for Auburn starting in the 1989 season. King was a strong driver and a nasty interior lineman during his time on the Plains.

    King went on to be drafted in 1991 by the Cleveland Browns, finishing his NFL career in 1997 with the New Orleans Saints.

    Ed King is currently the offensive and defensive line coach for the Columbus Lions Indoor Football League team. 

Offensive Tackle: Frank D'Agostino

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    Frank D’Agostino was a powerful offensive tackle that earned All-American honors during the 1953 and 1955 seasons.

    He was a powerful blocker, but gained recognition for his quickness off of the ball—something that left defenders fighting for position on every play, often times landing on their backs in the process. 

    D’Agnostino was drafted in the 1956 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles

Defensive End: Gerald Robinson

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    Gerald Robinson was an explosive defensive end for the Auburn Tigers during the early 1980’s. He finished his career with 26 quarterback sacks, and he is currently tied for first with Quentin Groves in that category. 

    Robinson was a fast-attacking pass rusher that epitomized tough football in his time on the Plains. Robinson was an All-American selection after the 1984 season and was selected in the first round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings

Defensive Tackle: Tracy Rocker

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    Tracy Rocker was one of the best defensive linemen to ever don Auburn Tigers orange and blue. 

    Rocker earned 21 total sacks in his career and won both the Lombardi Trophy and Outland Trophy during the 1988 season. Rocker was also a three-time All-American while at Auburn. 

    He finished his career as one of the most decorated players in Auburn history and was feared by opposing offensive linemen and quarterbacks. 

    Rocker went on be introduced into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005, and coached another Auburn Tigers player—Nick Fairley—to a Lombardi Trophy winning season in 2010. Rocker was the first award recipient to coach a future winner. 

    Rocker is the current defensive line coach for the Tennessee Titans

Defensive Tackle: Nick Fairley

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    Nick Fairley was a two-year star for the Auburn Tigers during the 2009 season and the 2010 national title season. He was moderately successful in 2009, but really turned it on in the 2010 season.

    Fairley was an All-American selection following the 2010 season and was also the defensive MVP of the 2011 BCS National Title game. 

    After the 2010 season, Fairley was awarded the Lombardi Trophy for his efforts, becoming the first player in the award's history to be coached by a previous winner—Tracy Rocker was the Tigers defensive line coach during the 2010 season.

Defensive End: Quentin Groves

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    Quentin Groves was a two-time All-American selection for the Auburn Tigers during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. 

    In 2006 Groves accumulated 9.5 sacks, building steam to finish his career tied for the most quarterback sacks in school history with 26.

    Groves was a dangerous pass-rushing end that battled through a foot injury in his final season, but was still able to tie the Auburn all-time sack record.

    Groves was drafted in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars

Linebacker: Freddie Smith

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    Fast Freddie Smith was a terror from the outside as a linebacker for Auburn during the late 1970’s. Smith was an All-American selection for the Tigers during the 1977 and 1979 seasons.

    Smith led the Tigers with tackles during both his All-American seasons, and finished his career as the all-time leader in tackles for the Tigers with 528 total tackles.

    A name that is not always recognized by Auburn fans, Smith was possibly the most explosive defender to ever play for the Auburn Tigers. 

Linebacker: Mike Kolen

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    Mike Kolen will not blow you away with his statistics as an Auburn defender, but his two-time All-American status during the late 1960’s are enough to catch eyes. Kolen earned the nickname “Captain Crunch” because he would thump opposing ball carriers on virtually every play.

    Kolen went on to play with the Miami Dolphins and was a part of the “No Name Defense” in 1972 that went on to have the first perfect season in the NFL. 

Linebacker: Kurt Crain

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    Kurt Crain registered two of the best seasons for an Auburn defender during the 1986 and 1987 seasons. Crain was a two-time All-American for the Tigers during his only two seasons with the Tigers.

    Crain began his career at Memphis, later transferring to Auburn prior to the 1986 season. Crain was a force during both seasons, finishing his senior year with 168 total tackles—the second best performance by a defender in Auburn history. 

Cornerback: Corey Barlow

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    Corey Barlow was a two-time All-American for the Auburn Tigers during the 1990 and 1991 seasons. Barlow was the “Most Valuable Defensive Player” of the 1991 Tigers team and was a team captain. 

    Barlow is a member of the Auburn 1990 All-Decade team and was a 1992 selection in the NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.

    He is currently the cornerbacks coach for the UAB Blazers.

Cornerback: Dave Beck

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    Dave Beck was an All-American performer for the Auburn Tigers during the 1972 season. 

    Beck led the Tigers in interceptions in 1970 with six, and finished with another six interceptions during his All-American campaign in 1972.

    Beck is second on the Tigers all-time interceptions list with 14 total snags. 

Safety: Brian Robinson

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    Brian Robinson was a 1994 All-American selection after pulling down eight interceptions—returning three for touchdowns.

    Robinson gained a lot of recognition for his appearance in the 1994 Florida game where he snagged three picks, helping the Tigers win the game 36-33. 

    Robinson finished his Auburn career with 13 total interceptions, placing him third on the Tigers all-time list. 

Safety: Buddy McClinton

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    Buddy McClinton holds the school record for most interceptions in a season (nine) and the record for the most interceptions in a career (18). 

    McClinton was a two-time All-American selection for the Tigers during the 1968 and 1969 seasons. From the safety position, McClinton would plow through opposing ball carriers and receivers, but he was not just a powerful hitter.

    McClinton would read the quarterback better than any defender that has stepped on the Plains to this day. 

Kicker: Wes Byrum

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    Wes Byrum holds virtually every kicking record for the Auburn Tigers finishing his career with 363 total kicking points and 60 field goals. 

    Byrum is a part of a long running tradition of kicking excellence at Auburn, but his statistics and game winning national title kick are impossible to deny. Byrum was extremely consistent in his time with the Tigers and won more than a few games with his leg for Auburn.

Punter: Terry Daniel

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    Terry Daniel holds the record for career punting average for the Tigers with an average of 44.51. His best season was in 1993 when he averaged 46.92 yards a kick—still the single season record for the Tigers program.

    Daniel was a two-time All-American selection during the 1993 and 1994 seasons.

     

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