Texas A&M All-Time Team: Defense
For many of you who were looking forward to seeing the second installment of the Texas A&M All-Time team, here it is.
The Wrecking Crew has since been disbanded as the Aggie defense has not lived up to its name in recent years. People still chant the title in the stands when a big play is made, but it just is not the same as before.
That being said, there is no shortage of dominant defensive standouts. You'll find that there are several more players on this side of the ball who went on to have great NFL careers.
The lineup will be as follows:
3 DL, 4 LB, 2 DB
I will also feature the special teams in this article with a place kicker and punter.
Enjoy and feel free to pass on your suggestions.
DL - Sam Adams (1991-1993)
I felt obligated to include a picture of the big boy in an NFL uniform, because he had a long and illustrious career in the big league, which included a Super Bowl ring with the 2000 ravens.
Sam Adams was a force at every level, stuffing the run and combining that with a knack for pressuring the QB. He finished his career at A&M with 20.5 sacks in three seasons, which is a great number for a tackle. He anchored the Aggies to three straight SWC championships.
Adams was enshrined in the A&M Hall of Fame in 2001.
DL - Ray Childress (1981-1984)
Ray Childress was another guy who went on to have NFL success. He also had success with his famous car dealership Lawrence Marshall in Hempstead. If you live anywhere around the Houston or College Station area, you know what I'm talking about. The commercials were hilarious.
Anyways, his football career at A&M was one of the best. He was a two-time All-American and was a First Team selection in his junior season when he compiled 15 sacks and 117 tackles as a defensive end.
He finished his career with 25 sacks in two seasons. He was drafted No. 3 overall in 1985 and would go on to have a great NFL career. He was selected to five pro bowls.
DL - Jacob Green (1977-1979)
Jacob Green had a reputation for being not only a stud on the field, but causing fear in the eyes of opponents.
Green racked up 37 sacks in his three-year career, which ranks 2nd in A&M history. His 20 sacks as a junior in 1979 still remains an A&M record for a single season.
He was also known as a turnover machine, forcing 12 fumbles and six in one season—both records at A&M.
LB - Ed Simonini (1972-1975)
Some people contend that Penn State is "Linebacker U." If A&M hadn't tapered off into defensive purgatory, I'd argue that A&M would still retain that title. They were known as "Linebacker U" from the 80s and 90s, but it all started with Ed Simonini in the 70s.
This is the reason I felt compelled to place four linebackers on this list, I'm actually leaving out some other outstanding players.
Simonini anchored the 1975 defense to No. 1 in the nation. It was one of the few storied seasons in A&M history as they were in national title contention.
He was the all-time leader in tackles upon leaving the school in 1975.
LB - Dat Nguyen (1995-1998)
Yet another player who saw success in the NFL, Dat Nguyen's career at A&M was nothing short of amazing.
His career numbers are staggering. He finished his career with 517 tackles, averaging a mind blowing 10.7 tackles per game—both are A&M records. He also holds the record for consecutive starts at 51
Nguyen's magical 1998 season is the reason he still has a flag waiving outside Kyle Field.
He won the Chuck Bednarik Award for College Defensive Player of the Year, the Lombardi Trophy for best Lineman or Linebacker, Consensus All American, and he was the defensive MVP of the Cotton Bowl.
LB - Quentin Coryatt (1989-1991)
I honestly probably could have gone in another direction with this pick, but he basically made the list because of one season and one play. The 1991 season, the Aggie defense embodied the phrase "Wrecking Crew" and were led by Coryatt that year. They ranked No. 1 nationally on defense.
Coryatt never lived up to his potential in the NFL, but that does not take away from what he did as an Aggie. He was electric with his big hits, and one in particular.
Dubbed "The Hit" by several, Coryatt punishes TCU's Kyle McPherson on this play, knocking him unconscious and breaking his jaw in three places.
Coryatt is definitely one of the best to ever play for the Aggies.
LB - Johnny Holland (1983-1986)
Johnny Holland is another player who was a tackles machine. He finished his career at A&M with 455 tackles and held the record until it was later broken by Dat Nguyen.
Holland also went on to have a fine NFL career, and is also now a coach in the NFL. He is the linebackers coach for the Houston Texans.
One thing that stood out for me was the fact that Holland had more than 20 tackles in a game on two separate occasions.
DB - Aaron Glenn (1992-1993)
While his career was short at A&M as a junior college transfer, Glenn's impact in the defensive backfield was incredible.
He was a two time All-American selection and runner-up for the Jim Thorpe award given to the nation's top DB.
His list of A&M records include most pass breakups in a season (20), as well as being near the top of the list in pass breakups in a career (33), interceptions (9), and 95-yard interception return for a touchdown.
DB - Kevin Smith (1988-1991)
Kevin Smith was one of the greatest corners in A&M history. He was a stabilizing force in the backfield of that vaunted 1991 defense.
His career interception total of 20 remains No. 1 in the history books.
He went on to have a nice career with the Dallas Cowboys, which included being a part of their Super Bowl winning dynasty for all three wins.
Smith was the Starter for the 1992 and 1993 Super Bowl champs, but his career was thwarted by a tear of his achilles tendon in 1995. He remained with the team until 1999, but was not the same.
K - Tony Franklin (1975-1978)
The records that Tony Franklin held when he left A&M were amazing.
He is the only collegiate player to kick two 60-yard field goals in a game, and he holds the second and third longest field goals at 65 and 64 yards. Both of these came in one game.
The list of NCAA records he set while at A&M include most career field goals (56), career kick scoring (291 points), most field goals of 50 yards or longer in a career (16), most field goals made in a three year career (45) and longest average for field goals made in a career (39.5 yards).
Franklin was a three time All American and consensus All American in his sophomore and senior seasons.
Franklin played several years in the NFL and made the Pro Bowl in 1985. His 59 yard field goal in 1979 was fourth longest at the time.
P - Shane Lechler (1996-1999)
Most people who follow the NFL closely know one thing about the Raiders—their punter has an incredible leg.
Lechler is another special teamer who dominates the NCAA record books. His career punting average of 44.7, and seasons of 47.0 and 46. 5 averages, are all records.
He was a consensus AP All American in his senior season in 1999, but his talents at A&M went beyond his leg. Not only was he the punter, long field goal kicker, and holder on short kicks, but he was also the emergency QB.
Coaches noticed he had a talent at QB, and in one game against Kansas State (with a depleted depth chart), Lechler was nearly forced to see action at QB.
The only QB left Brandon Stewart got hurt on a play and lay on the ground for a couple of minutes. Fans were boggled when they saw Lechler warming up his arm on the sidelines.
While Lechler was not put in the game, it still speaks to his versatility while at A&M.