College Football's All-Time Best Players by Team: Sun Belt Edition
Who is the best player of all time for each team?
Well, I started with the Ivies, which boast some of the oldest programs in football. Now I move on to the Sun Belt Conference, one of the younger leagues.
Although several of its members have been playing ball for decades, most are relatively new to the top tier.
ARKANSAS STATE: Bill Bergey, LB
Bill Bergey was named an All-American in 1969 for Arkansas State.
Bergey set ASU records for best tackling average in a season, most fumble recoveries in a season, most tackles in a game, most tackles in a season, and most career tackles. In 1968, Bergey averaged 19.6 tackles per game.
He played in three postseason all-star games during his ASU career; he also was selected to the All-Southland Conference team three times and to the Southland Conference All-First Decade Team. Bergey's jersey No. 66 was retired by ASU.
Bergey was voted by fans as the top player in ASU history. He played 12 years in the NFL, holds the record for interceptions for a linebacker, and was named to the Pro Bowl five times.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC: Chris Laskowski, S
A walk-on, Laskowski was on the first team in 2000 and was named MVP in 2002 and co-MVP his final two years. He was formerly a safety with the Colts in the NFL.
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL: Antwan Barnes, LB
Barnes is FIU's all-time sack leader with 22 and was the school's first draftee into the NFL. A 2006 Sun Belt All-Conference selection, he currently plays for the Baltimore Ravens.
LOUISIANA LAFAYETTE: Jake Delhomme, QB
Delhomme was the only true freshman to start at a Division I school in 1993 and led the Ragin' Cajuns to two Big West championships.
Delhomme finished his career as the school's all-time passing leader in yards and touchdowns. He started the last 43 games of his career, which was the longest among active quarterbacks at the time. He was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.
Delhomme has played in the NFL since 1997 and is currently employed by Carolina.
LOUISIANA MONROE: Bubby Brister, QB
Brister was a third round pick and played and enjoyed a 16-year NFL career for several teams.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE: Joe Campbell, RB
Campbell left the Blue Raiders in 1991 as the all-time career leader in rushing yards (3,823 yards), touchdowns (45), and scoring (272 points). He was OVC Player of the Year in 1990 and All-OVC in '89, '90, and '91.
He was named to the Associated Press All-American, Kodak AFCA All-American, Walter Camp All-American, and Sports Network All-American teams in 1990 and the Kodak AFCA All-American team in 1991. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in both 1990 and 1991.
NORTH TEXAS: Edward "Mean Joe" Greene, DT
Charles Edward "Mean Joe" Greene had an outstanding college football career at North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) from 1966-68, leading the team to a 23-5-1 record during his three seasons. He was a consensus All-American in 1968, his senior year.
He played in the NFL for 13 years as a member of the famous Steel Curtain defense and was a 10-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time defensive player of the year.
In 1984, he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. The University of North Texas renamed its football team the Mean Green in his honor, referencing his famous nickname.
TROY: DeMarcus Ware, DE
Ware was a two-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection. As a senior he was the league's Defensive Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Hendricks Award.
He finished his college career with 27.5 sacks, 195 tackles (57 for losses), 74 quarterback hurries, 10 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and one interception. His 27.5 sacks rank second in school history for sacks in a career, and his 57 tackles for losses rank first in school history.
Ware was a first round draft pick for the Cowboys, where he currently plays, and has been a four time Pro Bowl selectee.
WESTERN KENTUCKY: Rod Smart, RB
Smart ended his career at Western Kentucky ranked 10th all-time in school history with 2,305 rushing yards on 356 carries with 21 touchdowns. Smart also totaled 115 receiving yards, 279 kickoff return yards, and 14 yards on punt returns.
Smart started all 11 games as a senior in 2001 and was a first-team All-Gateway Conference selection.
Smart had an eight-year career with various pro teams. "He Hate Me" is the phrase Smart chose to place on the back of his Las Vegas Outlaws football jersey during the one and only season of the XFL (2001).