College Football 2011: 10 All-Time Greatest Players According to a 10-Year-Old
In the life of children there is a time when the weather becomes warm, school is out and bedtime is later.
The opportunity to sleep late in the morning becomes a luxury not easily forgotten with the passing of youth.
There are numerous activities to engage in during the extended daylight hours. The choice of whether to bait a hook or dive in for a swim is a moment of joy.
In the evening, time enough at last to become immersed in fascinating subjects.
This is when the older children recount stories of heroes, favorite sports figures (pictured), past experiences and of the mysteries of life to the newest generation.
This was the time of our lives we all remember well.
The great experience known as summertime.
The Coming of Doughboy
One of the wonders of summertime is the lure of searching local produce stands to satisfy some ancient need we have to fondle fresh fruit and vegetables.
While awaiting the all-important decision of others choosing a watermelon by "thump" and a cantaloupe by dry stem, patience could no longer contain imprudence regarding yours truly.
A wandering eye spotted just what is needed this time of year.
Across the two-lane gravel road a hand-painted sign called out in giant letters, "Lemonade."
Three young fellows with the aptitude for mercantile success manned the stand. After transacting business we discussed the heat of summer and how it helps their sales.
"I like the fall 'cause that's when football is played," said one youngster who was identified by the others as "doughboy."
"How old are you doughboy?" was the obvious next remark. "I'll be 11 in August" came the answer, along with the message his name was actually DeMonaco.
DeMonaco has a good head on his shoulders and seems a perfect example of how youth born in the 21st century views celebrities, music and, most importantly in this case, sports.
One of the refreshing aspects regarding talking with a young person is they have no preconceived notions. They are a clean slate, knowing primarily only what they have observed.
While discussing the importance of several sports figures, DeMonaco was challenged to produce the names of the greatest college football players.
The results were astonishing considering his years, so we will let his comments speak for themselves with each player he has chosen.
And now, let us see how a youth of the 21st century views the 10 best college players in history.
No. 10: Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska Cornhuskers Defensive Lineman
"He's the biggest and meanest man I have ever seen play.
"When he goes after the quarterback you can see how the linemen can't block him and when he chases a runner they look scared of him.
"Nobody is ever going to mess with him."
No. 9: Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma Sooners Running Back
"There are lots of places you can watch videos of Adrian Peterson. He was an awesome running back in college and still is in the pros.
"My favorite thing about him is how his voice is so cool at that swimming pool in his TV commercial."
No. 8: Peyton Manning, Tennessee Volunteers Quarterback
"One of the really good old players from back in the day before I was born.
"I don't think he would go to Tennessee if he went to college now; I think he would go to Oklahoma because they like to throw the ball a lot and always have great quarterbacks."
No. 7: Earl Campbell, Texas Longhorns Running Back
"My Mom's brother, Conroy, said when he was in the fifth grade Earl Campbell came to their school and told them not to do drugs.
"He said just say no if someone offers you drugs.
"Grandpa said it took two or three players to tackle him because he was so strong.
"My uncle Slappy said Earl Campbell loved to run over people and would hit you before you could hit him.
"I have his picture and he looks scary.
"He is definitely one of the best players of all time."
No. 6: Ernie Davis, Syracuse Orange(men) Running Back
"I saw a movie about him called the Elmira Express and he was great.
"He died from a disease when he was really young.
"People were mean to him and I don't know why, he was nice to everybody in school."
Note: When Davis played at Syracuse the school nickname was the Orangemen. In 2004 the "men" were dropped.
No. 5: William "The Refrigerator" Perry, Clemson Tigers Defensive Lineman
"The Fridge was funny—people liked him back then.
"He was probably the best defensive player from a long time ago because he could just stop the other team from running the football by himself.
"A lot of people say when he played in the NFL his team was the best pro team ever."
No. 4: C.J. Spiller, Clemson Tigers Running Back
"He's my favorite player of all time.
"C.J. was so fast no one could catch him when he broke through the line."
No. 3: Vince Young, Texas Longhorns Quarterback
"He was the best player when I first started watching football.
"I think a lot of quarterbacks today try to copy the way Vince Young played."
No. 2: Tim Tebow, Florida Gators Quarterback
"Everyone liked Tim Tebow. He was fun to watch when he ran over people.
"Tebow was the best player for a long time—he was around forever.
"He won two BCS championships at Florida and that is hard to do.
"My mother told me he was her favorite player because he went to church and was good to little children.
"I guess there will never be another Tim Tebow."
No. 1: Cam Newton, Auburn Tigers Quarterback
"He's the best player in the world.
"I can't see anybody that will be better than Cam Newton because he can do everything.
"Everyone at school looks up to Cam Newton because he tries so hard to do what he can to win and he always ends up winning."
As Good a List As Any You Will See
After jotting down some notes and thanking DeMonaco for sharing the wisdom of youth with someone born in the previous century, a realization became clear.
Every generation has its own list of heroes, best sports figures, best music, best politicians and so on.
It is the responsibility and ongoing concern of the rest of society to see youth exposed to information that can be used and presented with the opportunity to gather more knowledge if they so wish.
And it doesn't need to take place only in the summers of childhood—it must be a challenge that we all struggle to meet throughout our own journey.
For who is really to say if Cam Newton of Auburn, Jim Brown of Syracuse, Sammy Baugh of TCU or Don Hutson of Alabama is the greatest college football player in history?
It depends upon your point of view and frame of reference.
Thank goodness for the child who will one day lead us.