The All-Time UCLA Bruins Football Team

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The All-Time UCLA Bruins Football Team
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

UCLA has had more than its share of All-Americans, future All-Pros, and Hall of Famers perform on the gridiron for the True Blue and Gold.

In choosing these all-time Bruin pigskinners, I took into consideration not only their achievements at UCLA, but also their achievements at the next level—namely the NFL.

I won't waste any more time. Here are the greatest Bruins that the UCLA football program has ever produced (starters in bold ), starting at...

 

QUARTERBACK: 

Troy Aikman—Other signal callers in Westwood have had better numbers, but no other Bruin has had a better NFL career than this Oklahoma transfer: three Super Bowl rings in four years.

Enough said.

Backups:

Cade McNown—The all-time Bruin leader in passing yards and touchdown passes.

Gary Beban—UCLA's only Heisman Trophy winner, in 1967. How could I possibly leave him off this team?

 

RUNNING BACKS: 

Gaston Green—The career rushing leader, an All-American in 1987, and he had a pretty good pro career to boot.

Freeman McNeil—The second leading rusher in Bruin history, he had a stellar career with the New York Jets.

Backups:

DeShaun Foster—The first Bruin to rush for 300 yards in a game.

Karim Abdul-Jabbar—Holder of the career single-season record: 1,571 in 1995.

Kenny Washington—UCLA's very first All-American in 1939. His No. 13 jersey is one of eight that are retired by the Bruins.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS:

J.J. Stokes—Electrifyed Bruin fans in the early 1990s, he holds the single season record for receptions—82 in 1993. He's also the career Bruins leader in touchdowns by a wide receiver with 28.

Mel Farr--Was undoubtedly UCLA's best receiver in the 1960's. He had a long Hall of Fame career with the Detroit Lions (who can sure use him now!), and even sang backup on Marvin Gaye's classic album, "What's Going On".

Backups:

Freddie Mitchell—He was a total crowd pleaser on the field. I loved his trick play passes.

Danny Farmer--The all-time receiving yards leader in UCLA History, he was a big factor in the Bruins' 20 straight wins in 1997 and 1998.

 

TIGHT END:

Marcedes Lewis—The obvious choice, as he is UCLA's only Mackey Award winner, given to the nation's best tight end. He's also the Bruins' all-time leader at that position in receptions, yards, and touchdowns.

Backup: Tim Wrightman—An All-American standout from the late 1970s.

 

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN:

Frank Cornish (Center)—A 1989 All-American, one of only two Bruin centers with that honor.

Jonathan Ogden—The greatest offensive lineman in UCLA history, he was the first Bruin to win the Outland Trophy (given to the country's best lineman), played over 10 years with the Baltimore Ravens, and won a Super Bowl ring with them in 2001.

To top everything off, the Bruins retired his No. 79 jersey soon after he graduated.

Kris Farris—The Bruins' other Outland Trophy winner in 1998.

Vaughn Parker—An All-American in 1993, and played nine years with the San Diego Chargers.

Randy Cross—A 1975 All-American, he played 12 years with the San Francisco 49ers, and was a key part of their glory years in the 1980s.

Backups: Dave Dalby (center), Luis Sharpe, Duval Love, Max Montoya, Craig Novitsky.

 

OK, now that the greatest Bruins on offense have been named, let's go to the defense...

 

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN:

Dave Ball—The school's all-time and single-season sack leader, and a consensus All-American in 2003.

Mike Lodish—A standout during the late '80s, he played in six Super Bowls, more than any other Bruin.

Terry Tumey—Was a three-time, all-conference selection during the Bruins' Rose Bowl years in the early '80s.

Brian Price--The latest stud on the line who wreaked havoc the last few years for current Bruin coach Rick Neuheisel, he was a feared All-American whose prescence was dearly missed after he chose to go pro.

Backups: Bruce Davis, Mark Walen, Karl Morgan, Jack Ellena.

 

LINEBACKERS:

Ken Norton, Jr.—Despite him being a current USC assistant coach, this standout must be included. Part of a glory era during the '80s, his three Super Bowl rings clinch his spot here.

Carnell Lake—UCLA's all-time leader in tackles for loss with 45.5, and he also had a long career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jerry Robinson—No Bruin has made more tackles than this man, with 468 from 1975-1978. He is one of only two UCLA players to be a three-time Consensus All-American. And he played six solid seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Backups: Donnie Edwards, Jamir Miller, Donn Moomaw.

 

DEFENSIVE BACKS:

Kenny Easley—If I had to pick one man as UCLA's greatest defensive player ever, Easley would be it. The all-time interceptions leader with 19, he's the other three-time Consensus All-American. Plus, his No. 5 has been retired.

Carlton Gray—Picked off 11 passes for the Bruins in 1991, still a single-season record. A Consensus All-American and an Academic All-American in 1992, he's only the second Bruin to achieve that (after Tim Wrightman).

Eric Turner—An All-American in 1990, he intercepted 14 passes while in Westwood. The second overall selection in the 1991 NFL Draft, he had a stellar pro career with the Cleveland Browns and the then-Los Angeles Raiders.

James Washington—Third on the all-time Bruin interception list with 15, he parlayed that into a standout career with the Dallas Cowboys, winning two Super Bowl crowns with them.

Backups—Don Rogers, Darryl Henley, Matt Darby, Shaun Williams.

 

KICKER:

John Lee—The ultimate Mr. Automatic. Arguably the greatest kicker in college football history, booting 85 field goals in 100 attempts, and converting 135 of 136 PAT attempts. A two-time All-American, he's the number one scorer in UCLA history with 390 points.

 

PUNTER:

Chris Sailer—A most versatile player, he made All-American as both a punter and a kicker in 1997. Averaging 41.99 yards a punt in his four years in Westwood, he also set school records for number of punts and yardage.

 

KICK RETURNER:

Maurice Jones-Drew—While it's true that others have had more returns and yardage, one word describes Drew: electrifying. His average of 22.34 yards a return is the all-time best at UCLA, as are his two touchdowns.

 

PUNT RETURNER:

Jackie Robinson—How on earth could I possibly keep the greatest Bruin of all time from this team? Especially since football was his best sport in Westwood.

Along with Kenny Washington, he helped lead UCLA to their first undefeated season in 1939, and was pretty much the whole team in 1940, leading the Bruins in almost everything.

Essentially speaking, he and Washington were UCLA's first football stars.

Not bad for the breaker of baseball's color line.

 

CO-COACHES:

Henry R. "Red" Sanders, the coach of UCLA's only national championship team in 1954, who made the Bruins into a national power and changed the jersey color from navy to powder blue, thus establishing UCLA's visual identity, and...

Terry Donahue, who won more games in Westwood and the Pacific-10 Conference than any other coach. He was also the first man to win seven straight bowl games, including three Rose Bowls in a four-year stretch from 1982-1985.

 

Though there will probably be some disagreements with my selections, I certainly hope that this all-time UCLA Bruin football squad meets the overall approval of the Bruin football faithful and of everyone in Bruin Nation.

Or at least brings back recollections of my alma mater's past glories, as well as lead fans to look forward to furture glories and triumphs in Westwood.

GO BRUINS!!!

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