Stanford Football: The 20 Most Beloved Players in Cardinal History

Evan HowardCorrespondent IIMay 31, 2011

Stanford Football: The 20 Most Beloved Players in Cardinal History

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    PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Toby Gerhart #7 of the Stanford Cardinal runs for a touchdown against the Washington Huskies at Stanford Stadium on September 26, 2009 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Stanford football is known for its tradition and class.  It has a history that very few can compete with. 

    Stanford's program dates back over 110 years, many of which ended in Rose Bowl victories, All-American selections and first-round NFL draft picks.

    There are hundreds of legendary players in Stanford's history.  Hope you enjoy the top 20 most beloved Cardinal players ever.

20. Guy Benjamin, Quarterback

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    Guy Benjamin is famous in Stanford history for winning the Sammy Baugh Trophy for the second time in Stanford’s history.

    The Sammy Baugh Trophy is given to the nation’s top passer, and in 1976, Guy Benjamin blew away the field.  He only played one season for the Cardinal, but he made it worthwhile. 

19. Owen Marecic, Fullback

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    PALO ALTO, CA - OCTOBER 23:  Owen Marecic #48 of the Stanford Cardinal runs with the ball against the Washington State Cougars at Stanford Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Owen Marecic will always be remembered for blocking every play for Toby Gerhart.  He was the amazing fullback who always played with a chip on his shoulder.

    He also started on defense as the middle linebacker, a rarity in college football these days.

    In 2010 he won the Paul Hornung Award as the most versatile college football player.  He got drafted in the fourth round by Cleveland Browns and is currently playing for them.

18. Dick Norman, Quarterback

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    itatennis.com

    Dick Norman played for Stanford during one of the university's worst eras in school history.  Although the Cardinal went 3-7 in 1959, Dick Norman threw for 1,963 yards, 300 yards more than any other quarterback in the nation. 

    He won the Sammy Baugh Trophy as the nation’s best passer and was eventually drafted in the fifth round of the 1961 NFL draft.

17. Hugh “Duke” Gallarneau, Running Back

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    nearmintcards.com

    The Duke was a part of the 1940 undefeated season. In the 1941 Rose Bowl game, The Duke scored two touchdowns and was the biggest factor in beating the Nebraska Cornhuskers. 

    He was named an All-American in 1941 and eventually was drafted 23rd overall in the 1941 NFL draft.

16. Chuck Taylor, Guard

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    Collegefootball.org

    Chuck Taylor lived and breathed Stanford football his entire life.  He was a part of the 1940 Stanford team that went undefeated and won the 1941 Rose Bowl over Nebraska. 

    He was named an All-American guard as a senior.  He later went on to coach the Cardinal to a Rose Bowl victory in 1952 and was youngest coach to ever win Coach of the Year. 

    He then became athletic director from 1963-1971.

15. Andrew Luck, Quarterback

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates after he threw a 38-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Virginai Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miam
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Andrew Luck is the only player on this list that is currently playing for the Stanford Cardinal. 

    He was voted 2010 Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, leading Stanford to a 12-1 record and a BCS Orange Bowl victory. 

    He holds the Stanford record for most touchdown passes in a season (32), total offense (3,398), single-season completion percentage (70.7 percent) and passing efficiency rating of (170.2). 

    He is the favorite to win the 2011 Heisman Trophy and should be drafted first overall in the 2012 NFL draft. 

14. Jim "Monk" Moscrip, Defensive End

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    morevintagefootballautographs2.webs.com

    The Monk was another legend that played for the Stanford Cardinal between 1934 and 1936.

    He was voted an All-American in both 1934 and 1935 as a defensive end. 

    He also played on the offensive line all three years.  He was eventually drafted in the ninth round in the 1936 NFL draft. 

13. James Lofton, Wide Receiver

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    CANTON, OH - AUGUST 3:  Pro Football  Hall of Fame inductee James Lofton poses with his bust during the 2003 NFL Hall of Fame Induction ceremony on August 3, 2003 in Canton, Ohio.  (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
    David Maxwell/Getty Images

    James Lofton didn’t make any large contributions to Stanford football until his senior season.

    Lofton caught 57 passes for 1,010 yards, cementing himself as the best big-play threat in the nation with a 17.72-yard-per-catch average. He also caught 14 touchdown passes.

    He was voted second-team All-American and was drafted sixth overall to the Green Bay Packers in the 1978 NFL draft.  He went on to have an amazing NFL career and was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

12. Frank Cullen “Frankie” Albert, Quarterback

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    godeke.org

    Frankie Albert changed the game of football.  He was voted a college football All-American in 1940. 

    He is credited for inventing the bootleg in college football, a play that is used often in today’s game. 

    He was drafted 10th in the first round of the 1942 NFL draft to the San Francisco 49ers and eventually was admitted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

11. Jeff Siemon, Linebacker

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    dunbar.stanford.edu

    Jeff Siemon brought a whole new meaning to Stanford’s linebacker tradition. He led Stanford to two Rose Bowl wins from 1969 to 1972. 

    He won the Pop Warner Award as the top senior player on the West Coast and he won the Dick Butkus Award in 1972 as the nation’s top linebacker. 

    He got drafted as the 10th pick in the first round of the 1972 NFL draft.

10. Bobby Grayson, Running Back

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    This Stanford running back is wildly underrated.  Bobby Grayson rushed for 152 yards, a Rose Bowl record at the time. 

    He also holds the Stanford record for most interceptions in a game with four, two of which were returned for touchdowns. 

    He was a consensus All-American in both 1934 and 1935 and helped lead Stanford to three straight Rose Bowl victories from 1933 to 1935.

9. Troy Walters, Wide Receiver

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    PHOENIX - SEPTEMBER 10:  Troy Walters #86 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates his touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter in the season opening game at Cardinals Stadium on September 10, 2006 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Harr
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Troy Walters is largely forgotten in the history of Stanford football, and yet he has more receptions (244) and receiving yards (3,900) than anyone in school history.

    At the end of the 1999 season, he won the Fred Biletnikoff Award, given to the best wide receiver in the nation. 

    Although he was drafted in the fifth round, he should always be remembered as the best wide receiver in the history of Stanford football.

8. John Brodie, Quarterback

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    John Brodie was an amazing athlete at Stanford, lettering in two sports—golf and football. 

    He was selected as the first-team All-American quarterback at Stanford in 1956 and was eventually drafted No. 3 overall in 1957 to the San Francisco 49ers.

7. Bob O’Dell “Horse” Reynolds, Left Tackle

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    Collegefootball.org
    Collegefootball.org

    Bob Reynolds is the best left tackle to play for the Stanford Cardinal.  He played for the Cardinal from 1932-1935, and was a first-team All-American from 1933 to 1935. 

    He got the nickname "Horse" from his size and strength that reminded many of a horse. 

    He holds a record that still stands today by playing all 60 minutes in three straight Rose Bowls.

6. Ernie Nevers, Running Back

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    sportsillustrated.cnn.com

    He was voted a first-team All-American in 1924 and led undefeated Stanford against undefeated Notre Dame and its Four Horsemen in the 1925 Rose Bowl.

    Nevers did not take a second off in that game and rushed for 114 yards, cementing himself as a legend by accruing more yardage than the Four Horsemen combined, but Stanford lost 27-10.

    Nevers was a Rose Bowl co-MVP and eventually inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

5. Toby Gerhart, Running Back

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    LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - DECEMBER 10:  Running back Toby Gerhart of the Stanford Cardinal poses with the Doak Walker Award trophy during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards at the Disney Boardwalk on December 10, 2009 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Toby Gerhart had one of the best seasons in the history of the Cardinal.  In his 2009 season, he led the nation in rushing yards (1,871), rushing touchdowns (28), total touchdowns (28) and points scored (172). 

    He was voted first-team All-American, Pac-10 2009 Offensive Player of the Year, Doak Walker Award Winner, Jim Brown Trophy winner and second in the Heisman Trophy voting to Mark Ingram. 

    Toby Gerhart is second all-time in Stanford rushing yards and rushed for a Stanford single-game rushing record (226 yards) against the Oregon Ducks.

4. John Elway, Quarterback

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    broncoscountry.com

    John Elway will always be remembered for his amazing NFL career, but in college football he will always be remembered for being a part of the Stanford team that lost to the California Golden Bears as a result of "The Play."

    He broke all of Jim Plunkett's Pac-10 records, won Pac-10 Player of the Year in both 1980 and 1982 and was a consensus All-American as a senior in 1982. 

    He finished second in the Heisman voting in 1982 and was drafted first overall in the 1983 NFL draft to the Denver Broncos.

3. William Frazier “Bill” McColl, Defensive Lineman

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    hickoksports.com

    Bill McCall is considered the best defensive lineman to ever play for the Cardinal. 

    He was a two-time consensus All-American and was the third runner-up in the 1951 Heisman Trophy voting. 

    He won the coveted W.J. Voit Memorial Trophy, awarded to the most outstanding football player on the Pacific Coast.   

2. Bill Corpus, Offensive Line

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    Bill “Baby-Faced Assassin” Corpus was the player who brought Stanford football back to life. 

    He was an offensive lineman who also attempted place kicks for the Cardinal.  He was the first Stanford player to become a unanimous first-team All-American two years in row (1932, 1933). 

    He led Stanford to their first of three straight Rose Bowl victories, was an honor student and was the student body president his senior year.

1. Jim Plunkett, Quarterback

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    Jim Plunkett is considered the best player in Stanford football history because he won the 1970 Heisman Trophy and broke almost every quarterback record in Pac-8 history. 

    He beat out Notre Dame’s Joe Theismann and Ole Miss’ Archie Manning for the Heisman Trophy. 

    He recorded the most touchdowns in season, passing yards in a season and overall total offense. 

    He was then drafted first overall in the 1971 NFL draft to the New England Patriots.