Top 25 Arizona State Sun Devils in School History
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Arizona State athletics can be summed up with one name: Pat Tillman.
Tillman made the ultimate sacrifice for his country after his time at ASU was done, and he has since become a central figure at ASU rivaling the popularity of Sparky.
Tillman isn't the only Sun Devil to have made an impact on the institution or game itself.
Many Olympians, Hall of Famers and champions have passed through the halls of Arizona State throughout its long history.
Phil Mickelson, Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, Danny White, Jake Plummer and Frank Kush are all household names that, at one point, were a part of ASU athletics.
While Tillman's sacrifice and importance to the university puts him at the top of this list, there are plenty of other athletes that have helped make ASU what it is today.
Now, let's take a look at the Top-25 Sun Devils in ASU history.
All stats unless otherwise indicated come from thesundevils.com and ESPN.com.
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Pedroia played baseball at ASU for three years and put together one of the better careers in collegiate history.
He finished with a .384 batting average and started all 185 games of his career at ASU.
Pedroia became just the fourth player in ASU baseball history to be nominated as a Golden Spikes Award finalist and was also First-Team All-Pac-10 three consecutive times.
Pedroia is currently a member of the Boston Red Sox.
Casey was a three-time Pac-10 men's golf champion and three-time All-American during his career as a Sun Devil.
He set an ASU record in 2000 by having a stroke average of 69.87 and his six career championships tie him for third most at ASU.
Casey is still playing professional golf and is ranked 213 on the 2013 PGA Money List.
While both Casey and Pedroia had great careers as Sun Devils, they didn't make the impact those in the Top 25 did on the university.
No. 25: Bubba Jenkins
Photo courtesy of: asu.edu.
Bubba Jenkins spent most of his collegiate career at Penn State, but as they say, it's not how you start but how you finish.
The 157-pound wrestler came to ASU for his final year and alongside Anthony Robles, won a national title in 2011 for ASU.
Jenkins is now a professional MMA fighter and goes by the nickname "The Highlight Kid."
He is currently 4-0 and has one TKO and three wins by submission.
No. 24: Paul Lo Duca
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Like Jenkins, Paul Lo Duca spent only one year with the Maroon and Gold but he made it count.
The catcher was the 1993 Sporting News College Baseball Player of the Year and a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award.
He finished his one year at ASU with a .446 batting average and 129 hits. Lo Duca's 37-game hit streak was the second-longest in team history as of 2005.
After leaving ASU, Lo Duca played 11 years in the MLB for four different teams.
His legacy lives on in the outfield of Packard Stadium where his number hangs among the greats who have played at ASU.
No. 23: Cain Velasquez
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Velasquez has made a name for himself in the UFC, but before he was a professional MMA fighter, he donned the Maroon and Gold of ASU.
He earned an All-American honor at ASU in 2005 after placing fifth at the NCAA championships. That same year he won the Pac-10 title and was named the 2005 Pac-10 Conference Wrestler of the Year.
Before losing at the NCAA championship, Velasquez had a 21-match win streak.
Now, Velasquez is one of the UFC's most popular fighters and has a record of 12-1. He is set to fight Junior dos Santos on October 19 at UFC 166.
No. 22: Todd Heap
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Todd Heap was more than just a tight end for ASU.
He was a local product out of Mesa who went down in the record books, not only as one of the best tight ends at ASU, but in Pac-10 history.
When he left ASU, he was the all-time leader in receptions for a tight end at ASU and was selected two times as a First-Team All-Pac-10 player.
In Heap's final year at ASU, he was a team captain and finished as a finalist for the John Mackey Award, given to the nation's best tight end.
Heap played 12 years in the NFL, mostly in Baltimore.
He came back home in 2011 to play for the Cardinals and has since retired.
His impressive career as a Sun Devil and long, successful, professional career make Todd Heap the No. 22 Sun Devil in school history.
No. 21: John Spini
Most Sun Devil fans have probably never heard of Coach Spini, but there is good reason for him to be the first coach on this list.
Spini's 34 years at the helm of the ASU gymnastics team have made him the longest tenured coach in ASU history.
He is a four-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year and has coached 27 perfect 10.0s.
Six Sun Devils have won individual titles under Spini and nine times the Sun Devils, as a team, have finished in the top-five at the NCAA championships.
Spini will return next year, to again lead the Lady Sun Devils.
No. 20 Reggie Jackson
Reggie Jackson began his ASU career as a football player.
After one season with the Sun Devil football team, he turned his attention to baseball and as they say the rest is history.
Jackson went on to play 21 years in the MLB, winning five World Series titles and was named an All-Star 14 times.
He would become immortalized as "Mr. October."
Jackson was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1993.
Stats and information also from azcentral.com.
No. 19: Clint Meyers
Clint Meyers left ASU this offseason to become the head softball coach at Auburn, but his time at ASU will go down in the record books.
According to trackemtigers.com, Meyers took the Sun Devils to eight straight Super Regionals and seven appearances in the Women's College World Series.
He also won two national championships in 2008 and 2011.
Meyers left ASU with a record of 427-102.
ASU's softball team became one of the best in the country under the leadership of coach Meyers and that is why he earns a spot on this list.
No. 18: James Harden
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James Harden spent two years playing basketball for ASU.
He was the first McDonald's All-American, since 1984, to sign with ASU out of high school. When he left ASU he left a career that exceeded the hype.
Harden was the first Sun Devil to earn consensus first-team All-America honors and was the third to be Pac-10 Player of the Year.
ASU was 27-7 while Harden was in Tempe.
After college, Harden was selected third overall in the 2009 NBA draft by Oklahoma City.
The shooting guard currently plays for the Rockets and averaged nearly 26 PPG last year.
No. 17: Terrell Suggs
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Terrell Suggs was one of the best defensive players in Sun Devil history.
2002 was a year to remember for Suggs.
He broke the NCAA sack record, was a consensus first-team All-American, had the most tackles for a loss in the nation, was tied for most forced fumbles in the nation and won numerous postseason awards.
The 2002 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year started as a true freshman in 2000 and never looked back.
Suggs was drafted 10th overall by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2003 NFL draft. Since then, he has racked up seven interceptions, 27 forced fumbles and 588 tackles in his 11-year career.
He also gave ASU the awesome nickname of "Ball So Hard University."
Suggs not only excelled at ASU but also revolutionized the linebacker position in the NFL. That's why he earns the No. 17 spot on our list.
No. 16: Jeff Van Raaphorst
Jeff Van Raaphorst is best known for his MVP performance in the Sun Devils' 1987 Rose Bowl win.
The quarterback finished his Sun Devil Career with 44 touchdowns, 503 completions and set the record for the longest pass play from scrimmage against USC in 1985.
He also threw for over 2,000 yards in all three seasons he played.
Since leaving ASU, Van Raaphorst had a few short stints in the NFL but never really stuck.
Since 1990, he has been the TV and radio analyst for ASU football.
While his career after college wasn't as impressive as some on this list, it's easy to include the Rose Bowl MVP on the list of the best Sun Devils.
No. 15: Dwight Phillips
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Phillips started his collegiate career at the University of Kentucky before transferring to ASU.
During his time in Tempe, Phillips earned All-America honors with the 4x100m relay team, finished runner-up in the long jump at the national meet in 2000 and set ASU records in the long jump and triple jump.
While Phillips could never get over the hump to claim a title, he did go on to represent the USA in the Olympics.
He is a two-time Olympian who finished eighth in the long jump at the Sydney Games.
Not bad for the former Sun Devil.
No. 14: Eddie House
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Eddie House put together one of, if not the, best careers in ASU basketball history.
As a freshman, House was the first ASU freshman to get at least 50 steals and 100 assists in a season. In his sophomore campaign, he had three 20-point games.
House is really known, however, for what he did his senior year.
He scored 61 points against Cal on Jan 8 in a double-overtime victory, and became the first Pac-10 player to score 40 points in a game four times in a season all while setting ASU records for points in a season and PPG.
After his college days, House was selected in the second round of the 2000 NBA draft by Miami.
He became somewhat of a journeyman by the end of his NBA career, but his time in Tempe cements him on the list of the best Sun Devils in school history.
No. 13: John Henry Johnson
John Henry Johnson was another Sun Devil who only spent one year donning the Maroon and Gold, but like those before him on this list, one was good enough.
In his first game, Henry Johnson ran for 106 yards and three touchdowns.
He did that all on only seven carries.
He led ASU to the Border Conference Championship by playing both offense and defense and his play earned him First-Team All-Border Conference honors.
After his time at ASU, Henry Johnson played 13 seasons in the NFL. His superb play earned him induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
ASU honored him 2011 by inducting him into their Ring of Honor.
Henry Johnson's immediate impact on the team and his Hall of Fame career earn him the No. 13 spot on our list.
No. 12: Charley Taylor
Charley Taylor played both offense and defense during his time at ASU.
He finished his Sun Devil career with 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions, and earned All-WAC honors two times.
The key to Taylor's success was his versatility.
In 1962, he led the defense in interceptions and the offense in scoring.
His success in college made the Washington Redskins select Taylor with the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL draft. Taylor made an immediate impact for the Redskins and, as a running back, won the NFL Rookie of the Year award in 1964.
After Taylor's 13 years in the NFL, he walked away as the NFL's all-time leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
Taylor was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984 and the ASU Ring of Honor in 2011.
John Henry Johnson finds himself one spot behind Taylor on our list because Taylor had a more impressive impact on both sides of the ball during his time at ASU.
No. 11: Byron Scott
Before Byron Scott was a NBA coach, he represented ASU on the basketball court.
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Byron Scott knew how to win in college and the NBA.
During his time at ASU, Scott led the Sun Devils to a 43-11 record and ended his career as ASU's all-time leading scorer.
His 1,572 points are currently good for sixth all time.
Scott is probably best known for his 25-point game against No. 1 ranked Oregon State. The Sun Devils handed the Beavers their first loss of the season in that game on March 7, 1981, winning by a score of 81-61.
San Diego selected Scott with the fourth pick in the 1983 NBA draft. Scott went on to win three NBA championships as a member of the "Showtime" Lakers.
After his playing days were over, Scott picked up a clipboard and began coaching.
He was elected into the ASU Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Pac-10 Hall of Honor.
No. 10: Danny White
Danny White was another Sun Devil who just had a knack for winning, at any level.
His successful career began in Tempe, where he set ASU and NCAA records. In 1973, his running and passing numbers placed him second in the nation in total offense.
By the time White graduated, he had set seven NCAA records.
After college, White played for the Dallas Cowboys.
There, he won three NFC East titles in his six seasons. After his days in the NFL were through, White became general manager and head coach of the AFL's Arizona Rattlers.
White led the Rattlers to two championships.
He is a member of the Arena Football League's Hall of Fame, Mesa Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, the Arizona State University Hall of Fame and State of Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.
His No. 11 jersey is retired at ASU.
Stats and info also from dannywhite.com.
No. 9: Ned Wulk
Photo courtesy of: bigbluehistory.net
Wulk was the head coach of ASU basketball from 1957-1982.
He won 406 games during his career as a Sun Devil and set a record for winning 20 straight games in what is now Wells Fargo Arena.
The court in Wells Fargo was named after him in his honor in 1999.
Coach Wulk was inducted into the ASU Hall of Fame in 1982 and the Pac-10 Hall of Honor in 2003.
Wulk finished his career with a winning percentage of .599 and led ASU to nine NCAA tournament appearances.
He passed away in 2003.
No. 8: J.D. Hill
J.D. Hill did it all at ASU.
He was a letterman in football, basketball and track and field during his time in Tempe. In 1970, Hill lead the Sun Devils to a WAC championship and Peach Bowl victory as the Sun Devils finished the year with an 11-0 record.
That same year, Hill was selected by Sporting News and Time Magazine as a first-team All-American.
Hill was selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills where he went on to have a successful career.
He was inducted into the ASU Hall of Fame in 1977 and Ring of Honor in 2012.
Hill finds himself in the top 10 because of his ability to excel in three major sports during his ASU career.
No. 7: Barry Bonds
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Barry Bonds had a very different build when he wore Maroon and Gold, but his stats were still impressive.
During his three years at ASU, Bonds posted a career batting average of .347 and hit 45 career home runs, 23 coming in 1983 alone.
Bonds became a member of the all-time College World Series team and earned All-American honors two times.
After college, Bonds spend 22 years in the MLB.
Bonds hit 762 home runs, posted a .298 career batting average and won numerous personal accolades during his professional career.
Unfortunately, most of his professional career will be remembered for his connection to steroid use.
Bonds' career at ASU was one of the best in Sun Devil history though, and that's why he ranks as the No. 7 Sun Devil in school history.
No. 6: Jake Plummer
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Jake Plummer has left his mark on the game of football.
Plummer played four seasons for ASU, and saved the best for last.
During his senior campaign in 1996, Plummer threw for 2,500 yards and was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year. He also finished third in the Heisman voting and led ASU to the Rose Bowl in his senior season.
After college, Plummer spent 11 years in the NFL with the Cardinals and Broncos.
Since retiring from the NFL, Plummer has taken to handball and other outdoor activities. He also does a fair share of charity work.
He has his own charity called The Jake Plummer Foundation and also gave $1,000 to the Tillman Foundation for every touchdown ASU scored in 2005.
For his charity work off the field and success on the gridiron, Jake "The Snake" Plummer is the No. 6 Sun Devil in school history.
Stats and info also from www.sports-reference.com.
No. 5: Phil Mickelson
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Phil Mickelson has always been a fan favorite.
"Lefty" was a NCAA champion in 1989, 1990 and 1992 and won 16 collegiate tournaments in his career as a Sun Devil.
At the time, Mickelson was one of only five players to have won back-to-back NCAA titles and was only the second golfer ever to win three in his career.
After his days at ASU were over, Mickelson joined the PGA Tour and became a fan favorite.
As of April 6, 2012, Mickelson had 40 tournament wins and four majors to his name. He currently ranks fourth on the PGA Tour Money List and has won two tournaments this year.
One of those tournament wins came at The Open Championship at Muirfield, adding another major to his trophies.
The PGA Tour star also has his own foundation, The Phil Mickelson Foundation, which supports youth and family activities.
Mickelson's status on the PGA Tour, his charitable work and success as a Sun Devil put him in the top 5.
No. 4: Curley Culp
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Besides having an awesome name, Curley Culp finds himself in the top 5 due to his excellent careers at ASU and in the NFL.
Culp was a two-sport athlete for ASU.
In 1967 he was named an All-American defensive lineman and won the NCAA national championship as a heavyweight wrestler.
After school, Culp went on to play 14 seasons in the NFL with the Chiefs, Oilers and Lions.
Culp won one Super Bowl and played in five Pro Bowls.
He was inducted into the ASU Hall of Fame in 1975, the Chiefs' Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
No. 3: Frank Kush
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The Sun Devils play their home games at Frank Kush Field. That's how important Frank Kush is to ASU.
Kush was at ASU for 22 years and compiled a record of 176-54-1 during that time. Kush demanded a lot from his players but it paid off, as his teams also compiled a 6-1 record in bowl games and won seven WAC championships.
Kush was named Coach of the Year in 1975 and was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
ASU football wouldn't be what it is today if it weren't for the hard work put in by Kush. Traditions were made and a mindset of hard work was instilled and is still the thrust behind the program today.
Kush is currently the director of Sun Devil football.
No. 2: Anthony Robles
Anthony Robles captured the heart and soul of millions after he won an NCAA Championship at ASU.
Anthony Robles may only have one leg, but his heart makes up for any physical disability he may have.
Robles burst into the national spotlight when he won the 125-pound NCAA championship. He is also one of the best wrestlers in ASU history.
He is a three-time NCAA All-American, three-time Pac-10 conference champion and a four-time NCAA qualifier all at 125 pounds.
Accomplishing all he has would be enough to land him the No. 2 spot, but since graduating Robles has become a wrestling coach for ASU and a motivational speaker.
In 2012 he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Stats and information also from anthonyrobles.com.
No. 1: Pat Tillman
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Pat Tillman and ASU are synonymous.
Whether walking through Sun Devil Stadium, in the Memorial Union or at University of Phoenix Stadium, Tillman is there.
Tillman's game was characterized by his flowing blond hair and reckless playing style. While at ASU, he became one of the best defensive Sun Devils in team history.
He was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year his senior year and led ASU to the Rose Bowl. Tillman also collected many academic honors during his time at ASU. He always did things the right way.
After ASU, Tillman played four seasons for the Arizona Cardinals. His NFL career had just begun when September 11th happened.
Tillman gave up football and enlisted. He went overseas fighting for freedom and was killed in action.
He made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
Today, his legacy lives on. Every year, Pat's Run occurs in Tempe to help raise money for the Pat Tillman Foundation.
The PT-42 foundation unites Tillman's foundation and ASU to help keep Pat's legacy alive. He was elected into the ASU Hall of Fame in 2008 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
The service, ultimate sacrifice he gave and the legacy he left behind makes any Sun Devil proud to wear their Maroon and Gold, making Tillman the No. 1 Sun Devil in school history.