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Washington Football: The All-Time Dream Team

Ryan HublerCorrespondent IAugust 23, 2012

Washington Football: The All-Time Dream Team

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    When it comes to college football programs producing NFL talent, few come close to matching the University of Washington. Over the years, players like Warren Moon, Steve Emtman, Corey Dillon and Olin Kreutz have found NFL stardom and brought prominence to Washington's football program.

    While recent times have been tough for the Huskies, who since 2000 have failed to win more than 10 games in a season, the program has still been laden with talented players.

    With the Olympics now over and the "Dream Team" still fresh in our minds, I constructed a Dream Team myself—the All-Time Husky Dream Team.

    Keep in mind that selecting a team that spans so many decades requires the difficult task of comparing the production of players from different eras. The game isn't the same and neither are the stats. So keep that in mind as you evaluate this team.

    With that said, here are the players who would form the greatest Washington Husky team in history.

Quarterback: Warren Moon

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    With the Pac-10 (before Pac-8, now Pac-12) known as a conference that produces great quarterbacks, it is only right to start off with Washington's best QB in its history, Warren Moon.

    He was the starting quarterback from 1975-1977 and the main reason for Washington's revival. He started at a junior college but later landed at Washington where he flourished.

    He was named Pac-8 Player of the Year in 1977 and led the Huskies to a win over Michigan in the Rose Bowl, where he was the MVP.

    Washington finished 10-2 that season, as Moon threw for 1,584 yards and 11 touchdowns.

    Honorable Mention: Marques Tuiasosopo

    Known as a dual threat, Tuiasosopo gets the honorable mention due to his heroics in another Rose Bowl victory, this time over Purdue in 2001. He led Washington to an 11-1 record that season and was named MVP in the Rose Bowl.

    He also holds the distinction as the first Washington quarterback to start a game as a true freshman.

Running Back: Napoleon Kaufman

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    In 1991, when the undefeated Huskies shared the national title with Miami, the best up-and-coming player was Napoleon Kaufman. That season, he was the team's third-leading rusher and showed tons of promise.

    Kaufman averaged an astounding 5.6 yards per carry in his Washington career, with his biggest seasons coming in 1993 and 1994, when he rushed for 1,299 and 1,390 yards, respectively.

    Kaufman was the first Husky player to rush for more than 4,000 career yards and ranks as the school's all-time leading rusher (4,106 yards) and career leader in rushing touchdowns (34).

    Honorable Mention: Corey Dillon

    I know I may catch some flak for choosing Dillon, but you can't deny how good he was. In his single season with the Huskies, Dillon managed to break three school records and set two NCAA records.

    In 1996, in the first quarter of a game against San Jose State (not the most prestigious football school), Dillon rushed for 222 yards and caught an 83-yard touchdown pass . Dillon sat out the rest of the game.

    Dillon is Washington's all-time single-season rushing leader with 1,695 yards and 24 touchdowns.

    Before Marshawn Lynch, Dillon was the original ''Beast Mode.''

Wide Receivers: Mario Bailey and Reggie Williams

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    Yes, Mario Bailey was that good as a Husky.

    He had a record-breaking career with Washington and one of the main reasons the Huskies won the 1991 Rose Bowl. He set a school record by scoring 18 touchdowns in a season and still holds the record for most touchdown receptions in a career (30). 

    His NFL career wasn't the greatest, but he did become a household name in Europe, becoming the all-time leader in receptions for his Frankfurt Galaxy team of NFL Europe.

    His biggest moment came in the 1992 Rose Bowl against Michigan. He outshined Heisman winner Desmond Howard, accumulating six catches for 126 yards and a touchdown while Howard only caught one pass for 35 yards.

    About 10 years later, Reggie Williams came into the picture.

    Williams is the all-time leader for the Huskies in receiving yards, receptions and receiving yards per game. Before Washington's football program collapsed, he was consistently the focal point on offense.

    In 2002, Williams was named a first team All-American and also earned All-Pac-10 honors.

Tight End: Dave Williams

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    The argument for best Washington tight end starts and ends with Dave Williams.

    Almost 47 years after setting tight-end records for most career receiving yards (1,133), single-season yards (795), yards in a single game (257) and single-game TD's (three), his records still stand. He is also tied for two more records, career TD's by a tight end (10) and receptions in a game (10, twice).

    Williams' signature game came in 1965 when Washington took on UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Williams had 10 receptions for 257 yards and two touchdowns.

     

    Honorable Mention: Rod Jones

    He was a member of the 11-1 team that took down Oklahoma in the 1984 Orange Bowl.

    He had 685 career receiving yards and scored five touchdowns.

Offensive Tackles: Lincoln Kennedy and Mike Zandofsky

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    Kennedy led Washington's offensive line during the Huskies' dominating days of the early 90s.

    He only allowed two sacks as a starter and was awarded the Morris Trophy as the top linemen in the Pac-10. He was also named a first team All-American in 1992.

    He was the main cog of the offensive line. The Huskies went 21-3 in his time as a starter, earned a share of the national title in 1991, won two Rose Bowls and had a historic 20-game win streak.

    Mike Zandofsky was All-Pac-10 and played nine seasons in the NFL.

Offensive Guards: Benji Olson and Bob Sapp

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    Steady. That is the best word to describe Benji Olson at Washington. He did one thing and he did it well. He blocked.

    The behemoth guard consistently protected the quarterback. Olson achieved first team All-Pac-10 and All-American honors in 1996, a year Washington won the Pac-10.

    He and Bob Sapp paved the way for Corey Dillon and the rest of the 1996 team that made it to the Holiday Bowl against Colorado.

    That season, Sapp won the Morris Trophy as one of the top linemen in the nation. That team won nine games and is known for having one of the best lines in Pac-10 history.

    Olson later was drafted by the Oilers in the fifth round of the 1998 draft, while Sapp went in the third round of the 1997 draft to the Chicago Bears.

Center: Olin Kreutz

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    Kreutz was the anchor of the offensive line for the Huskies for three years.

    He was an All-American and the top blocker in the Pac-10 in 1997. A three-year starter, Kreutz blocked for Corey Dillon in 1996 when he rushed for a school-record 1,695 yards. Dillon has Kreutz, Sapp and Olson to thank for his NFL payday.

    Kreutz also snapped to the prolific quarterback brothers, Damon and Brock Huard. He later was a third-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears and became a stalwart for several NFL teams.

Defensive Tackles: Steve Emtman and Larry Tripplett

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    The Washington Huskies have had a lot of terrific defenses, but none was better than the 1991 squad.

    In 1990 and 1991, Emtman led the Huskies to a record of 22-2, 15-1 in the conference.

    In 1991, Emtman had 134 tackles and 14 sacks, was named an All-American, and won the Lombardi and Outland trophies. He was simply the best defensive player on the best defensive team Washington has ever seen.

    Emtman also was drafted first overall in 1992 by the Indianapolis Colts.

    Tripplett led Washington to a 26-10 record during his three seasons as a starter. He started 36 consecutive games from 1999-2001 and earned All-Pac-10 first-team honors in each of his final two seasons.

    Tripplett had a career-best 14 tackles for loss in 2001 and was one of 12 semifinalists for the Lombardi Award, given to the best lineman in college football.

    He was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the second round of the NFL draft.

Defensive Ends: Ron Holmes and Jason Chorak

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    Ron Holmes was one of the key players during the Don James era. He started to make his mark in his sophomore season but really turned it on the following year.

    As a junior, he set a school record with 23 tackles for a loss and received All-Pac-10 honors.

    In his senior season, he led Washington to an 11-1 record. Holmes was named the Pac-10's top defensive lineman and was a consensus All-American. For nearly 15 years, Holmes also held the school record for most career sacks with 28.

    This one may be a small surprise for some, but Chorak also was highly productive during his time as a Husky.

    He had an unbelievable season in 1996. He was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year after totaling a team-record and conference-leading 14.5 sacks. Chorak also had 22 tackles for a loss. He was named a third-team All-American that same year.

    In 1997, he was named second-team All-American by the Football News. He left Washington with 59.5 tackles for loss (first all time) and had 25.5 career sacks, which ranks third in Husky history.

Linebackers: Mark Stewart, Dave Hoffman and Tony Caldwell

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    Mark Stewart was a first-team All-American at outside linebacker and set school records for sacks in a game (five) and forced fumbles in a season (five).

    In his career, Stewart had 104 tackles, including 17 for loss. His sack total (10) is the third-highest in Husky history. Stewart was also named an honorable mention All-American and first team All-Pac-10.

    Dave Hoffman's five tackles-for-loss against USC in 1991 is tied for the second-most in UW history. He led Washington in tackles three straight years and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the sixth round of the 1993 NFL draft.

    He earned several other honors during his senior season, but none as prized as Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Hoffman finished No. 3 on the Husky all-time list for tackles-for-loss with 45 total.

    Tony Caldwell was an unheralded linebacker who recorded 75 tackles during his senior season. Caldwell was named the defensive Most Valuable Player of the Aloha Bowl against Maryland in 1982. He had eight tackles, including three for loss in that game.

Defensive Backs: Al Worley, Lawyer Milloy and Ray Horton

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    Al Worley is simply the best defensive back Washington has ever seen (or heard of).

    Worley had an unheard of 14 interceptions in 1968. No one in the history of college football has touched that number since.

    Know what is even more amazing? Worley did so in only 10 games!

    Worley's 18 interceptions make him the all-time Huskies' leader in that category. He had numerous accolades for his '68 season such as Sporting News All-American, first team Pac-8 and the conference's Most Improved Player.

    Lawyer Milloy was a bit more well-rounded than Worley. Plus, his career was more consistent.

    Milloy became the first Husky DB to lead Washington in tackles in back-to-back seasons, recording 115 in his junior year. He was one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back.

    A two-time first-team All-Pac-10 free safety, Milloy was awarded the Chuck Niemi Big Hit Award in 1995 and he soon declared for the NFL draft, where he was selected by the New England Patriots in the second round.

    Ray Horton was one of the best one-on-one coverage men in Washington history.

    He recorded two of his 10 career interceptions and was responsible for 14 pass break-ups in his All-American season. Horton was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection and an honorable mention Associated Press All-American. He also returned punts, amassing 113 yards on a team-high 23 returns.

    Horton was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round of the 1982 NFL draft.

A Few Key Players Missing

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    Because I can only list so many players, I had to leave a few legendary players off the list. Some will go down in UW lore as key members of their respected teams and the reason for some great Husky memories.

    I put together this list by following stats, records, awards and the stories that have been passed down over the years. Here are a few players who I couldn't include:

     

    Greg Lewis, RB 

    Lewis rushed for 1,407 yards his senior season, which allowed him to win the inaugural Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's top running back. He was also awarded the Pac-10 Offensive POY Award. Lewis ranks fourth all time in career rushing yards at Washington and third all time for rushing yards in a season.

     

    Hugh McElhenny, RB

    In his three seasons with UW, McElhenny rushed for 2,499 yards and 35 touchdowns. He set 16 season and career rushing records while at Washington and was named an All-American in 1951.

     

    So there you have it! What do you think?

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