Cam Newton and the 50 Greatest Players in Auburn Football History

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2011

Cam Newton and the 50 Greatest Players in Auburn Football History

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    The Auburn Tigers etched their name in college football history once again by winning the BCS National Championship this past season.

    Do any of the 2010 players make the cut as some of the greatest in Auburn football history? A few are very early in their careers, and once they leave the school, they will most likely make the list.

    Auburn may be confused about what its team name is, but it knows how to play football. You'll see quite a few running backs on this list, as the Tigers are sometimes referred to as "Running Back U". 

    The War Eagle clan has had some great players suit up for them. Here I rank the 50 best players in the school's storied history. 

50. Ben Obomanu, Wide Receiver 2002-2005

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    That is Ben Obomanu, not Cam NewtonChris Graythen/Getty Images

    No that's not Cam Newton in the picture, it is Ben Obomanu. 

    Obomanu has 1,313 career receiving yards. He is second all time in school history in receiving touchdowns with 18. 

    Obomanu currently plays with the Seattle Seahawks. 

49. Damon Duval, Kicker/Punter 1999-2002

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    Duval is one of the best kickers/punters in Auburn history. He kicked three game-winners in 2001 and was a finalist for the Lou Groza award that year as well as an All-American.

    He amassed over 9,000 punting yards for an average of 44 yards per punt. Duval has a 60.8 percent field goal success rate. He was also a two-time member of the All-SEC team.  

48. Wes Byrum, Kicker 2007-2010

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    Byrum ranks better than Duval simply because he won the school a national title. He was the Tigers kicker since his freshman year. 

    Byrum has been a Lou Groza Award finalist the past couple years. In his career, he made 60 field goals and 182 PAT. 

47. Victor Riley, Offensive Tackle 1994-1997

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    Riley was a 1997 All-American and a member of the 1997 All-SEC First Team.

    He led Auburn with 13 pancake blocks in 1997. He was drafted 27th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1998. 

46. Walter Gilbert, Center 1934-1936

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    Gilbert was a two-time member of the First Team All-SEC. He was a three time All-American. 

    Gilbert played on both sides of ball, and was known for long interception returns.

    Auburn has even named an award after him. The Walter Gilbert Award is given to distinguished alumni athletes. 

45. Fob James, Running Back, 1952-1955

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    James was an All-American in 1955. He held the record as Auburn's leading rusher. It has since be broken.

    He was the 1955 SEC Back of the Year. 

44. David Irons, Cornerback, 2005-2006

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    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Irons followed his brother Kenny and both played well while at Auburn. The defensive back was a two-time All-SEC Second Team member. He was an All-American in 2006

    He was a medical redshirt in 2004. Irons recorded 87 total tackles in two years and 22 pass breakups.  

43. Lee Ziemba, Offensive Line, 2007-2010

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    Ziemba started every game during his four years at Auburn. In 2010 he was an All-American.

    He also holds the school career record with 52 consecutive starts.  

42. Tim Duckworth, Offensive Tackle, 2003-2006

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    Duckworth was a two-time All-SEC Second Team member. He originally started at Auburn as a defensive tackle, but moved to offense to help block for Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams.

    He became a two-year starter on offense. He was an All-American in 2006.  

41. Ben Grubbs, Offensive Line, 2003-2006

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    Grubbs was an All-American in 2006. He finished his final two seasons at Auburn by leading the SEC in blocking assignment percentages. 

    Grubbs ran a 5.1 40-yard dash which blew NFL scouts away. He's nicknamed “Big Hurt”, and was selected 29th overall in 2007 by the Ravens.  

40. Marcus McNeill, Offensive Line, 2002-2005

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    He helped lead Auburn to its undefeated season in 2004. McNeill paved the way for Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams to dominate the ground game. He ranked over 90 percent in blocking assignments for his career. 

    He was an All-American in 2004 and 2005.

39. Aundray Bruce, Linebacker 1984-1987

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    Bruce was a two-time All-SEC guy. He was also the 1987 Citrus Bowl MVP.

    Bruce was a monster and feared by opposing teams. 

38. Joe Childress, Running Back, 1953-1955

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    Childress was the 1954 and 1955 Gator Bowl MVP. He is a two-time All-SEC First Team member, and an All-American in 1955.

    Childress led the team in rushing in 1954.

37. Jackie Burkett, Center, 1957-1959

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    Burkett was named the top center in SEC in 1958. He was a two-time All-American who even called defensive signals in his senior season. 

    Burkett was drafted 12th overall in 1960 by the Baltimore Colts. 

36. Jimmy “Red” Phillips, Wide Receiver 1955-1957

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    Phillips was an All-American in 1957 as well as the co-captain of the 1957 National Championship team.

    He averaged 23.8 yards per reception. Phillips was drafted fifth overall by the LA Rams in 1958. He had a great professional career and was selected to three Pro Bowls. 

35. Frank Sanders, Wide Receiver 1991-1994

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    Sanders finished his career with 1,998 receiving yards, 15 touchdowns and was an All-American in 1994. He averaged 16.5 yards per catch during his career. 

    Sanders led the SEC in receiving yards per game in 1994. He was also a member of the 1994 All-SEC First Team.

34. Courtney Taylor, Wide Receiver 2003-2006

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Taylor is Auburn's all-time leader in receptions with 153.

    He has 2,098 career receiving yards but only nine touchdowns. Taylor made the 2003 All-SEC Freshman Team as well. 

33. Karsten Bailey, Wide Receiver 1995-1998

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    Bailey has 2,174 career receiving yards and 150 receptions, which is second-best in school history.

    He also has 17 touchdowns. 

32. Tyrone Goodson, Wide Receiver 1994-1997

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    Goodson is the all-time receiving leader in Auburn history with 2,283 yards.

    He also has 12 touchdowns and an average of 16.8 yards a catch in his career. 

31. Jimmy Hithcock, Running Back 1930-1932

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    Hitchcock was Auburn's first-ever All-American in 1932. He led the SEC in scoring in 1932. 

    He helped Auburn win the SEC in 1932. Hitchcock was also a Baseball All-American in 1932. 

30. Ed Dyas, Running Back/Kicker 1958-1960

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    Dyas was the SEC's Most Oustanding Back in 1960. He was fourth in Heisman voting in 1960.

    Dyas also set an NCAA record during his time for most field goals in a season with 13. 

29. Rudi Johnson, Running Back, 2000

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Johnson had 1,567 career rushing yards and 13 TD in one season with Auburn. His yard total was the second-most in a single season, behind Bo Jackson.

    Johnson did set the single season record for rushing attempts in school history with 324. He was a true workhorse.  

28. James Bostic, Running Back 1991-1993

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    Bostic had 2,084 career rushing yards and 18 touchdowns for Auburn.

    He was great at eluding defenders and moving those chains.  

27. Kenny Irons, Running Back 2005-2006

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Kenny Irons carried the rock while his brother was deflecting it. The two brothers go down as some of the greatest players to suit up for the Tigers.

    Irons has 2,186 career rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. He was an All-American in 2005 and a two-time All-SEC First Team member.

26. Reggie Slack, Quarterback 1986-1989

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Slack has 4,697 career passing yards and 23 touchdowns. He also posted a 131.0 QB rating. 

    His elusiveness allowed him to extend plays. Slack was drafted in the 12th round of the 1990 NFL Draft by Houston. He never panned out in the NFL and went on to play a few seasons in the Canadian Football League. 

25. Will Herring, Linebacker/Safety 2003-2006

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    Herring is second in school history with 49 consecutive starts. He also led the team in tackles in his junior and senior seasons.

    Herring made the move to outside linebacker in his senior season. He was a member of the 2005 All-SEC Second Team. 

    He currently plays for the Seattle Seahawks. 

24. Carlos Rogers, Defensive Back 2001-2004

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    Rogers had 182 tackles, seven interceptions and two fumble recoveries in his career. He holds Auburn’s career record with 40 pass deflections, which ranks second in SEC history.

    He was named to the Auburn football All-Decade Team for the 2000s. Rogers won the 2004 Jim Thorpe Award. He was also a semifinalist for the Nagurski and Bednarik Awards in 2004 as well.

    Rogers was a freshman All-American in 2001 and again an All-American in 2004. 

23. Karlos Dansby, Defensive Back 2001-2003

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    Dansby was an All-American in 2003. He was also a two-time member of the All-SEC First Team, and a finalist for the Butkus Award. 

    Dansby has 218 tackles with 10 sacks, and 31 stops for losses. He also had seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 15 pass deflections and eight interceptions for 107 yards in returns during his career as a Tiger. 

22. Stacy Danley, Running Back 1987-1990

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    Danley has 2,427 career rushing yards. That puts him in the top 10 in school history. He also scored 14 touchdowns. 

21. James Joseph, Running Back 1986-1990

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    Joseph had 2,264 career rushing yards. That is good enough for 10th all time in Auburn history. He also scored 16 touchdowns in his career. 

    He is currently the running backs coach for the Memphis Tigers. 

20. Brent Fullwood, Running Back 1983-1986

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    Fullwood shared the backfield with Bo Jackson. They were a dynamic duo who left opposing teams frozen. Nobody could stop these two. 

    Fullwood had 2,797 career rushing yards, 24 touchdowns and was an All-American in 1986. He has 1,391 yards and 10 touchdowns in the 1986 season, which was good enough for sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting. 

    He was given the Wally Butts Memorial Award in 1986 for being the best running back in Southeast. Fullwood was drafted fourth overall in the 1987 Draft by Green Bay.

19. Stan White, Quarterback 1990-1993

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    White started as a freshman and remained the starter until he graduated. He had a total of 45 straight starts.

    White was named team captain on Auburn’s 1993 team that went 11-0, and he was also named to Auburn’s Team of the Decade for the 1990’s. 

    White is Auburn's leader in career passing yards with 8,016. He also threw 40 touchdowns. 

18. Jason Campbell, Quarterback 2001-2004

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    Campbell threw for 7,373 career passing yards, 45 touchdowns and a 147.0 QB rating.

    He was the 2004 SEC Player of the Year, and the 2004 SEC Championship Game MVP. Campbell led Auburn to an undefeated season in 2004 and was the 2005 Sugar Bowl MVP.

    He was drafted by the Washington Redskins but is currently playing for the Oakland Raiders. 

17. Stephen Davis, Running Back 1993-1995

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    Davis rushed 488 times for 2,811 yards. He had a career average of 5.8 yards per carry.

    Davis also ran for 30 touchdowns. 

16. Ben Tate, Running Back, 2006-2009

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    Tate had 3,321 career rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. He led the team in rushing yards, rushing attempts, all-purpose yardage and rushing touchdowns in 2007.

    In 2009 Tate was back at it and rushed for over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. He rushed for 10 touchdowns and was a finalist for the Doak Walker award. 

    Tate was drafted in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft by Houston. 

15. Gregg Carr, Linebacker 1981-1984

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    Carr was Auburn's leading tackler for three seasons. He was a Lombardi Trophy Finalist in 1984 as well as an All-American that year. 

    Carr is also a three-time member of the All-SEC First Team. He was also a four time Academic All-American. 

    He is now an orthopedic surgeon, and I know this may hurt some Auburn fans, but he received his medical degree from Alabama.  

14. Quentin Groves, Defensive End 2004-2007

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    Groves finished his career with 24 sacks, tied for the best in Auburn history. He was plagued by injuries his senior season; otherwise, he would have shattered the record. He was also listed on 2007 watch lists for Nagurski and Bednarik Awards, but injuries limited his numbers. 

    Groves is a two-time member of the All-SEC First Team and received All-American Third Team honors in 2006. He feasted on quarterbacks. Groves is currently on the Oakland Raiders roster.  

13. Zeke Smith, Defensive End/Linebacker/Guard 1957-1959

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    Smith's year of dominance was 1958. He won the Outland Trophy, given to the best interior lineman. He was also an All-American, and was given All-SEC honors. 

    SInce 1977, Auburn has given the best defensive player of the year the Zeke Smith Award. Pretty interesting since he was such a dominant offensive lineman. But several players lined up on both sides of the ball for college teams.

    Oh, how the times have changed. 

12. Takeo Spikes, Linebacker 1995-1997

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    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Spikes led Auburn in tackles in 1997 with 136. He was feared by opposing teams and still is today. 

    Spikes was drafted 13th overall by the Bengals. He is now on the San Francisco 49ers.  

11. Nick Fairley, Defensive Tackle 2009-2010

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Fairley was the most dominant defensive tackle in college football in 2010.  He was awarded the 2010 Lombardi Trophy Award. 

    Fairley had 84 career tackles and 13 career sacks in two years with the Tigers. He will go down as one of the meanest players in Auburn history. He was very difficult for teams to block, and that's the reason he will be a top-five pick in the 2011 draft.  

10. Ronnie Brown, Running Back 2001-2004

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    Brown finished his career ranked seventh in school history with 2,707 yards rushing on 513 carries while ranking fifth with 28 rushing touchdowns. 

    His best year was 2002 when Brown gained a career-high 1,008 yards on 175 carries (5.8 avg.) with 13 touchdowns. 

    Brown was drafted No. 2 overall by the Miami Dolphins in 2005. Brown was electrifying on the field, and if he didn't have to split carries with Cadillac Williams, who knows what kind of numbers he would have produced?

9. Joe Cribbs, Running Back 1976-1979

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    Joe Cribbs is the uncle of Cleveland Browns wide receiver/returner Josh Cribbs.  He had 3,368 career rushing yards,   4,561 career all purpose yards and 35 touchdowns. 

    He split carries with James Brooks. Auburn has had quite an impressive streak of two stellar running backs sharing the rock, something we will see again in 2011.  

8. James Brooks, Running Back 1977-1980

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    Brooks set school records for kickoff return yards with 1,726, and all-purpose yards with 5,596.

    He also scored 30 touchdowns and had 3,523 career rushing yards. Brooks was a major player for the Tigers.  

7. Tucker Frederickson, Running Back 1962-1964

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    Frederickson played on both sides of the ball and even led the team in interceptions in 1963. He is a two-time Jacobs Trophy award winner for the best blocking back.  

    In 1964, he was named SEC MVP and finished sixth in the Heisman voting that year. Frederickson was selected first overall in the 1965 NFL Draft by the Giants. 

6. Terry Beasley, Wide Receiver, 1969-1971

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    Beasley was the go-to guy for quarterback Pat Sullivan. His nickname was "Terry Terrific". He's a two-time All-American who came in eighth in the Heisman voting in 1971.  His 20.2 yards-per-catch average in 1970 tied an NCAA record. 

    Beasley is also a two-time member of the All-SEC First Team. He has 1,897 career yards and 23 touchdowns, which is the most of any Auburn wideout.  His number has been retired by Auburn. 

5. Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, Running Back 2001-2004

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Williams broke the all-time Auburn career record of most rushing attempts with 741 and rushing touchdowns with 45. He is second in rushing yards in school history, behind only Bo Jackson 

    Williams career rushing total was 3,831 yards, and he was an All-American in 2004.  His career total of 5,033 all-purpose yards also ranks second in school history. 

    He was drafted fifth overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Unfortunately for him, he has been slowed by injuries. 

4. Tracy Rocker, Defensive Tackle 1985-1988

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    Rocker won the 1988 Outland Trophy Award and the 1988 Lombardi Trophy Award. He became the first SEC Player to ever win both the Outland and Lombardi Awards. 

    Rocker was a 1987-88 Consensus First Team All-American as well as a member of the 1986-1988 All-SEC First Teams.

    He helped Auburn win the 1987 and 1988 SEC Championships. Rocker was also the 1988 SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

    He is a member of Auburn's Team of the Century and its 1980's Decade team. Rocker is currently Auburn's defensive line coach.

3. Pat Sullivan, Quarterback 1969-1971

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    Sullivan won the 1971 Heisman Trophy, which made him Auburn's first ever Heisman Trophy winner. He was also a consensus First Team All-American member in 1971. He was the 1970 and 1971 SEC Player of the Year, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991. 

    Sullivan ended college with 6,284 passing yards and 57 touchdowns. He also rushed for 18 touchdowns. He is one of Auburn's greatest players ever. 

2. Bo Jackson, Running Back 1982-1985

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    Bo Jackson is the greatest running back to ever hit the field for the Auburn Tigers. He was the school's second Heisman Trophy winner, emerging victorious in 1985. 

    Jackson was a two-time All-American. His No. 34 jersey has been retired. The 1985 season was his best year, as he rushed for a school-record 1,786 yards. Jackson also won the 1985 Walter Camp Award. He finished his college career with 4,303 rushing yards, which puts him first in school history. 

    He was a truly great player, but Bo Jackson has been passed for the title of Auburn's greatest football player. 

1. Cam Newton, Quarterback 2010

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    Yes, that is right, Cameron Newton has become the greatest football player in Auburn history. He was only a Tiger for one year, but that is all that's needed. Newton is an exceptional football player who can burn you with his arms and legs. 

    He won the 2010 Heisman Trophy as well the Maxwell, Walter Camp, Davey O'Brien and Manning Awards. He was also the 2010 AP Player of the Year. He was the ruler of everyone in the 2010 season, and the reason Auburn why won the BCS National Championship.

    He has declared for the NFL Draft, meaning that his college days are over. He finished his career at Auburn with 2,854 passing yards, a 182.5 QB rating and 30 passing touchdowns. He also has 1,473 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground. Newton even had a reception for a touchdown. 

    Cameron Newton stole the show in 2010. He goes down as the greatest player in the history of Auburn Football. Unless...well, never mind. He did nothing wrong, right? Sure.