College Football: From 1-99, the Best College Player to Wear Every Jersey Number
Jersey numbers mean more to others than they do some. Some players take very seriously the jersey number they wear because the number reflects something sacred to them. Upon doing research for this piece, I never realized how many great players wore the same numbers.
For this epic piece, we're going to name the top college football player to wear jersey Nos.1-99.
But there's more!
We're also going to give you a name or two that was also considered for top honors at that jersey number.
Come see who's the best player of all time to wear your favorite number.
99. Hugh Green, DE (Pittsburgh)
Green was a monster on the edges for Pitt. He finished his career with more than 50 sacks and even finished second in the Heisman race in 1980.
Also Considered: Bill Willis, Steve McMichael
98. Tom Harmon, HB (Michigan)
Many people who are big time Big Blue historians will tell you Harmon is the greatest player in Michigan history. He was the first Wolverine to ever win the Heisman.
Also Considered: Lawrence Taylor
97. Tommie Harris, DT (Oklahoma)
Harry How/Getty Images
I have Harris here, and that's just for my liking.
At one point in the NFL he was easily the best DT in the league. Even at Oklahoma he was virtually unblockable, as his biggest asset was his snap quickness.
Also Considered: Cornelius Bennet
96. Daniel Stubbs, DT (Miami)
Stubbs was a solid pass-rushing interior DT who could get upfield in the middle for Miami. He finished his career with almost 40 sacks and was one of the top players for The U during its rise in the mid-1980s.
Also Considered: Tony Andrews
95. Bubba Smith, DE (Michigan State)
Smith made two All-American teams and was just a monster. He was as strong as a DT, but as quick as a DB, on a big frame.
Smith anchored the defensive front for Michigan State in the mid-1960s.
94. Randy White, DT (Maryland)
Similar to Harmon, many Terp football old-schoolers say White is the greatest Maryland player of all time. He made two All-American teams and won the Outland Trophy in 1974.
Also Considered: Tony Franklin
93. Lee Roy Selmon, DT (Oklahoma)
The Selmon brothers were forces for OU, but Lee Roy was a little better than Dewey. Lee Roy made the All-American team twice in 1973 and 1974, and he and Dewey were a defensive cornerstone in Norman.
Also Considered: Ndamukong Suh, Anudray Bruce
92. Reggie White, DE (Tennessee)
Easy pick for me here, as White was one of the greatest defensive players to ever play football at any level. He was a big DE and an even bigger-time player. White's strength for a DE was remarkable.
Also Considered: Tony Casillas
91. Dewey Selmon, DT (Oklahoma)
I know I said Lee Roy was better, but Dewey was darn good himself.
A NG, Selmon would walk centers back and disrupt plays, and also flashed foot quickness to push the pocket as a pass-rusher.
Also Considered: Doug Watkins
90. Steve Emtman, DT (Washington)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Emtman was a rock star for the Huskies around 20 years ago. He was a big-time DT on multiple All-American teams and won a ton of other accolades during his run with U-Dub.
Also Considered: George Webster, John Dutton
89. Ross Browner, DE (Notre Dame)
Browner is held in high regard by the Irish because not only was he good, but he also won. Browner was a two-time All American who also led Notre Dame to national titles in 1973 and 1977.
Also Considered: Charles Young, Tim Stratton, Mike Ditka
88. Randy Moss, WR (Marshall)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
I mulled with this decision for this number, but I went with Moss.
I mean, come on—he couldn't be covered in college, and with that speed on a 6'4", 210-pound frame, Moss was a highlight reel himself.
Also Considered: Jerry Rice, Keith Jackson
87. Bill Carpenter, TE (Army)
They say Carpenter never huddled up in his heyday, but still managed to put up top-tier stats for a TE in the late 1950s. Playing TE for Army wasn't easy, but Carpenter made it look so.
Also Considered: Billy Ray Smith, Chad Hennings
86. Courtney Brown, DE (Penn State)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Brown had 33 sacks for Penn State and was a super prospect. The Browns made him the top pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.
Although Brown never lived to the hype in the NFL, there's no denying what he did at PSU.
Also Considered: Bob Westfall, Marlin McKeever, Doug Whitmire
85. Jim Seymour, WR (Notre Dame)
Seymour got it done on the flanks for the ND offense in the late 1960s. He once caught a record 13 balls in a game and was a two-time All-American.
Also Considered: Andre Wadsworth, Jack Snow
84. Jerry Robinson, LB (UCLA)
Yes, they actually played defense in Westwood once upon a time, and Robinson (pictured left) is one of the Bruins' best defenders. He's a rare three-time All-American and was a tackling machine.
Also Considered: Abe Mickal
83. Kellen Winslow, TE (Missouri)
Yeah, I'm going with Winslow here. He is one of the greatest TEs of all time, as he had solid speed and hands like a receiver, but worked on safeties.
Is his son better than him, though?
Also Considered: Richard Wood
82. Leon Hart, TE (Notre Dame)
Hart was an iron man type, as he even played some DE for the Irish. Hart won 36 out of 38 games and accomplished the rare three-time All-American feat.
Oh, he also won the Heisman in 1949.
Also Considered: Paul Cleary, Ozzie Newsome
81. George Connor, T (Notre Dame)
Connor manned the OT spot first for Holy Cross then decided to transfer to Notre Dame. That proved to be a fine choice since he would go on to win the Outland Trophy in South Bend.
Also Considered: Tim Brown, Ken MacAfee
80. Rick Bryan, DT (Oklahoma)
Sigh, another OU DL who was dominant.
Bryan was a machine and is one of the leading all-time tacklers in Sooner history. He won Big 8 DPOY in 1982.
Also Considered: Ron Beagle, Monty Stickles
79. Jonathan Ogden, OT (UCLA)
Ogden is in the conversation among the greatest OTs of all time. He was a huge LT who could shadow rushers and do damage in the run game.
He's a future Pro Football HOF, and it started in Westwood.
Also Considered: Bill Fralic, Buck Buchanan, Rich Glover
78. Bruce Smith, DE (Virginia Tech)
Forty-six sacks in three years? Wowsers.
Smith is one of the best DEs to ever play football and beat people up at Virginia Tech. He won the Outland Trophy before he left for Buffalo.
Also Considered: Charlie Krueger, Don Coleman, Grenny Landsell
77. Red Grange, RB (Illinois)
Simple pick here; Grange is viewed by many as the greatest college football player of all time. Breaking off long runs was nothing for The Galloping Ghost.
Also Considered: Ron Yary
76. Warren Sapp, DT (Miami)
Although he wore 99 in the NFL, Sapp wore 76 at Miami. He was an awesome DT for the Canes, showing off the elite snap quickness, play speed and penetration ability that will make him a HOF member.
Also Considered: Steve Hutchinson, Carl Eller
75. Orlando Pace, OT (Ohio State)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Half the time OSU QB's dropped back, they could be flushed to their left; that's because Pace had basically stopped his man dead in his tracks as a LT, and the pocket was forming from the right.
Pace nearly won the Heisman in 1996.
Also Considered: Mean Joe Greene, Harry Carson, Alan Page
74. John Hicks, OT (Ohio State)
Before there was Orlando Pace, there was Jack Hicks.
Before Pace finished fourth in the Heisman race, Hicks finished second in 1973.
Also Considered: Jack Youngblood, Tracy Rocker
73. John Hannah, OT (Alabama)
At first I was going to go with Mark May, but the more I read on Hannah, the more I liked. Bear Bryant said he was the best OL he's ever seen.
Also Considered: Mark May, Ed Beinor
72. Bronco Nagurksi, FB/DL (Minnesota)
Nagurski was a true football player.
Big, tough, strong and physical, he was a force on the field.
Did you know he was an All-American at two different positions? Wow.
Also Considered: Bob Lilly
71. Tony Boselli, OT (USC)
Al Bello/Getty Images
Boselli was good—really good. He just got hurt a lot, especially in the pros.
I could have gone with Merlin Olsen here, but I think Boselli gets slighted on lists like these because his career was cut short by injuries.
Also Considered: Merlin Olsen
70. Bob Gain, OL (Kentucky)
So anytime you can win the Outland but also be a standout kicker, you deserve high-end consideration.
Gain is one of the best UK players ever.
Also Considered: Steve Niehaus, Harry Smith, Wade Welker
69. Tom Brown, OG (Minnesota)
It's cool to see tackles contend for the Heisman, but interior OLs are not supposed to do that—unless your name is Tom Brown.
Brown finished second in voting in 1960.
Also Considered: Gil Duggan, Clyde Turner, Gabe Rivera
68. Tedy Bruschi, DE (Arizona)
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Bruschi was a small, undersized DE in Tuscon and the ultimate try-hard player.
Yet, he was uber-instinctive and tough, which served him well in New England.
Also Considered: Mike McKeever, Dave Casper, Jim Stillwagon, Mike Reid
67. Russell Maryland, DT (Miami)
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Maryland was just a force for Miami, even before Warren Sapp. He won the Outland in 1990, and was the top pick in the draft in 1991 thanks to sheer brute strength and playmaking ability.
Also Considered: Joe Romig, Aaron Taylor
66. George Gipp, RB (Notre Dame)
Yeah, Gipp is known more for being the topic of the best halftime speech ever, but let's not forget The Gipper was a baller in the 1920s. He was an offensive juggernaut for ND as a passer and runner.
Also Considered: Deacon Jones, Granville Liggins
65. Greg Roberts, OG (Oklahoma)
Like I said before, interior OLs aren't supposed to be stars.
Yet, Roberts was so good that he anchored the OU line in 1979 to win the Outland.
Also Considered: Jim Mello, Willie Lanier, Joe Schmidt
64. Bob Brown, OG (Nebraska)
Brown was a consensus All-American in 1963 and played guard for OL-tradition rich Nebraska. He had quick feet, agility and great strength to dominate DTs.
Also Considered: Casey Hampton, Jim Lachey
63. Mike Singletary, LB (Baylor)
Easy pick here.
Singletary was a tackling machine and played LB like it's supposed to be played. Tackling was his game, as he had 35 in one game. Singletary finished his career with both the single-season and career tackle records.
Also Considered: Booker Brown
62. Jim Parker, OG (Ohio State)
The Buckeyes bred OLs as you can tell by this list.
Parker played guard in the 1950s and won the Outland in 1956.
Also Considered: Al Kreuger, Reggie Kinlaw, Calvin Jones
61. Jim Lynch, LB (Notre Dame)
When I review who I want to put for each slide, I always like to research what others said about the players.
So when Ara Parseghian says you are the best player he's coached, that ends it for me.
Also Considered: Joe Steffy, Zeke Smith, Bud McFadin
60. Tommy Nobis, OL (Texas)
Nobis played some LB for the Longhorns, but he won the Outland and was an All-American as an interior OL. He's got legend status around Austin, especially to Texas historians.
Also Considered: Hardiman Crueton, Chuck Bednarik, Weldon Humble
59. Alex Agase, OL (Purdue)
So, I admit, I had no idea who this guy was.
But when I found out he was a 5'10", 190-pound guard who made several All-American teams, I had to put him on this list.
Also Considered: Gary Spani, Joe DeLamiellure, Vern Huffman
58. Peter Boulware, LB/DE (Florida State)
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There are some FSU fans who'll speak so highly of Boulware that they'll tell you he's the most complete defensive player in school history.
Boulware could rush the passer, stop and stack against the run, as well as cover underneath with ease.
Also Considered: Hoyt Winslett
57. Steve Kiner, LB (Tennessee)
Kiner was the clear-cut emotional leader for UT in the late 1960s. He played like his head was on fire and made stop after stop, play after play, all over the field as a LB.
Also Considered: George Roscoe, Dwight Stephenson
56. Michael Barrow, LB (Miami)
This was an easier choice than originally thought for No. 56.
Barrow played on two separate national title teams for Miami. Whether he played middle, strong or will, Barrow was a standout for the Canes.
Also Considered: Rick Casares, Rudy Mobley, Hal Miller
55. Junior Seau, LB (USC)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Come on, this number has to be occupied by a Trojan LB, and Seau may be the best of the bunch. He was a big second level defender with great instincts, smarts, strength and all-around athleticism.
Also Considered: Marvin Jones, Jamaal Brown, Bob Fenimore, Tom Fears
54. Lee Roy Jordan, LB (Alabama)
Alabama played Oklahoma in the 1962 Orange Bowl.
All Jordan did was get fired up and make 30 tackles en route to a Tide shutout of the Sooners.
Also Considered: Dwight Freeney
53. Randy Gradishar, LB (Ohio State)
I thought about Corey Simon for this number, but I'm taking it old school with Gradishar.
The Buckeye LB played in two Rose Bowls and was also a two-time All-American.
Also Considered: Ken Bernich, Corey Simon, Clay Shiver, Jerry Tubbs
52. Ray Lewis, LB (Miami)
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Lewis is one of the first names and faces you think of when you think linebacker, football, defensive players—and also for this list: 52.
He's one of the greatest leaders in sports history.
Also Considered: Jack Del Rio, Harry Gilmer, Barry Wood
51. Kurt Burris, C (Oklahoma)
Burris was a lot like Tommy Nobis, as he played center and some LB for OU. Burris finished second in the Heisman race in 1954.
Also Considered: Ken Houston
50. Dick Butkus, LB (Illinois)
Who else would be here?
I mean they named a trophy after this dude because he was so good.
Butkus almost won the Heisman in 1964, and was a two-time unanimous All-American in 1963 and 1964.
Also Considered: Chris Zorich, Ron Simmons, Jack Cloud, Art Weiner, Dave Riminington
49. Julius Peppers, DE (North Carolina)
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Yeah, this is bold, but I'm going with Peppers at No. 49.
He was a 6'6", 285-pound DE who was a freak athletically and productive on the field. Peppers went on to become the No. 2 overall pick for the Carolina Panthers.
Also Considered: Bob Chappuis, Bob Mathias, Waddy Young, Chuck Ortmann
48. Gale Sayers, RB (Kansas)
Sayers was Reggie Bush before Bush came along, as he could cut at full speed easily. Sayers was quick, fast and agile, which helped him as a RB and return man.
Also Considered: Angelo Bertelli
47. Michael Irvin, WR (Miami)
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Another more "new-school" pick, but Irvin was the man in Miami before he got to Dallas. He was awkward-looking with his number, but he made plays—and would tell you about it.
Also Considered: David Pollack, Bennie Oosterbaan
46. Bob Ferguson, FB (Ohio State)
I worked with Paul Warfield with the Browns a few years ago, and he loved telling stories about his Buckeye days.
One of the reasons those days were so great was because Ferguson was bullying people as a bruising fullback.
Also Considered: Ken Hatfield, Harry Newman
45. Archie Griffin, RB (Ohio State)
Griffin was a three-time All-American and played in four Rose Bowls. He's a legend around Ohio State for another reason: two Heisman trophies.
Also Considered: Pete Elliot, Sammy Baugh
44. Jim Brown, RB (Syracuse)
To me, Jim Brown is the best football player ever.
Sure he didn't play long, but Brown was the Adrian Peterson of his day, as he was big and fast. I was giddy when he spoke with me during my summer with the Browns.
Easy pick for me.
Also Considered: Ernie Davis, Ray Guy
43. Terry Kinard, S (Clemson)
Kinard is one the greatest college football players of the 20th Century and the best defensive player in Clemson history. He had 17 picks and 300 stops. Awesome player.
Also Considered: Troy Polamalu, Bob Crable, Fred Sington, Joe Routt
42. Ronnie Lott, S (USC)
Lott was ridiculous. He could cover, intercept and played with athleticism.
Oh, who am I kidding? Lott could hit—like crush people, hit.
He may be the best safety of all time.
Also Considered: Chuck Muncie, Ricky Bell, Marshall Goldberg
41. Glenn Davis, RB (Army)
Three-time All American. Fifty-nine TDs.
Mr. Outside was a baller.
It seemed like the Heisman was elusive to him, as he finished second in both 1954 and 1955 before he won the thing in 1956.
Also Considered: Keith Byars
40. Howard Cassady, RB (Ohio State)
They called him "Hopalong" because when he ran all over and shredded a defense, it was like he hopped all over the field.
Cassady scored 37 times in 36 games and won the Heisman in 1955.
Also Considered: Mike Haynes, Elroy Hirsch, Ron Johnson
39. Sam Cunningham, FB (USC)
Cunningham's claim to fame was of course the Alabama game that saw him get brought into the Crimson Tide's locker room by Bear Bryant out of high respect.
However, Cunningham did have several other memorable games that proved he was more than a one-game wonder.
Also Considered: Larry Csonka, Jim Kimbrough, Darell Thompson
38. George Rogers, RB (South Carolina)
The new-school part of me wants to go with Roy Williams, but I'm sticking with Rogers, who was a beast. He won the Heisman in 1980 and is viewed as the top player to ever play for South Carolina.
I wonder, will Jadeveon Clowney take that title from him?
Also Considered: Roy Williams, Sam Francis
37. Doak Walker, RB/DB/RS (SMU)
When they name a trophy after you, that must mean you were good, right?
Walker was a three-time All American and won the Heisman in 1948.
Also Considered: Shaun Alexander, Creighton Miller
36. Steve Owens, RB (Oklahoma)
Owens scored 57 career TDs for the Sooners and balled out during the late 1960s in Norman.
In 1969, he took home the Heisman and made two All-American squads.
Also Considered: Bennie Blades, Chris Spielman
35. Doc Blanchard, RB (Army)
Mr. Inside was half of maybe the best RB duo in football history. Blanchard won 27 of 28 games, and took home both the Heisman and Maxwell in 1944.
Also Considered: Zach Thomas, Billy Vessels, Tank Younger, Ken Simonton
34. Ricky Williams, RB (Texas)
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I mulled and mulled and mulled with this decision, but I'm going with Williams. Herschel Walker would have been a great choice as well.
Williams left Texas with a Heisman and the NCAA career rushing yards record.
Also Considered: Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson, Franco Harris, Walter Payton
33. Tony Dorsett, RB (Pittsburgh)
Dorsett ran for more than 6,000 yards, won a Heisman, a national title and rewrote many RB records. He had quick feet, a burst, vision and breakaway speed, and was also an elite NFL player in Dallas.
Also Considered: Marcus Allen, Jack Ham, Ron Dayne
32. O.J. Simpson, RB (USC)
Simpson was a big runner with track sprinter speed. He was super productive and won the Heisman in 1967. He's easily one of the greatest RBs and players of all time.
Also Considered: Jack Tatum, Johnny Lujack
31. Vic Janowicz, RB (Ohio State)
Janowicz was a multiple threat, as he even played defense for the Buckeyes. Word also has it that Janowicz was a more than willing blocker.
He won the Heisman in 1950.
Also Considered: Brian Piccolo, Paul Posluszny, Shane Conlan
30. Mike Rozier, RB (Nebraska)
Rozier left school as the all-time leading rusher in Big Red history and with the 1983 Heisman. He also set a school record with 29 TDs in one season.
Also Considered: James Lofton, Alex Wojciechowicz, Greg Pruitt, Napolean McCallum
29. Eric Turner, S (UCLA)
Turner could play both safety spots on the back end effectively. He could track the run well, but also had great range in coverage.
Turner had nearly 400 tackles and 14 picks in his career.
Also Considered: Tay Brown, Bob Hamilton, Bruce Smith
28. Anthony Davis, RB (USC)
Davis' most memorable game was the six-TD output versus Notre Dame in 1974, but he also had three 1,000-yard seasons.
Toss in two national titles, and you see he was greatness with No. 28.
Also Considered: Adrian Peterson, Marshall Faulk, Warrick Dunn
27. Eddie George, RB (Ohio State)
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They say never trust a man with two first names.
That's why defenses didn't trust Eddie George, because he shredded them on a 6'2", 230-pound frame with solid speed.
George won the Heisman and Maxwell in 1995.
Also Considered: Jay Bellino, Irvin Fryer, Steve Atwater, Terrell Buckley
26. Riley Smith, QB (Alabama)
Yeah, Smith was a QB, but he did more than just that. He also played RB, safety and even punted for Alabama.
Smith won a title for the Tide in 1934 by beating Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
Also Considered: Jack Mitchell, Jon Arnett, Sean Taylor, Clinton Jones
25. Fred Biletnikoff, WR (FSU)
Biletnikoff was a natural receiver who had tremendous ball skills, could avoid on the move and had a catch radius the size of Yao Ming's wingspan.
Biletnikoff was so good, they named the top WR award after him.
Also Considered: Raghib Ismail, Tom McDonald, Kurt Warner
24. Pete Dawkins, RB (Army)
Inducted into the CFB HOF in 1975, Dawkins had a stellar career for Army in the late 1950s.
1958 was his best year, as he took home the Heisman, Maxwell and was an All-American.
Also Considered: Joe Washington, Nile Kinnick
23. Leroy Keyes, RB/DB (Purdue)
Keyes returned a fumble 94 yards for a score against ND in his first game for the Boilermakers. He became an All-American RB and played CB too.
Keyes finished second in the 1968 Heisman race.
Also Considered: Lance Alworth, Jim Swink
22. Doug Flutie, QB (Boston College)
I could have gone with Emmitt Smith, but it's Flutie Magic here.
He's the author of perhaps the greatest moment in the game's history and won the Heisman in 1984.
Also Considered: Emmitt Smith, Bobby Layne, Lynn Swann
21. Barry Sanders, RB (Oklahoma State)
Sanders is a premier runner in the minds of college and pro fans. His elusiveness and quickness are among the very, very elite, and he is the inspiration for many RBs still today.
Sanders won the Heisman, Camp and Maxwell in 1988.
Also Considered: Desmond Howard, Jerry Stovall, Hunk Anderson, Frank Sinkwich
20. Earl Campbell, RB (Texas)
Before Ricky Williams, Cedric Benson, Jamaal Charles, Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray came to Texas, there was Earl Campbell. Campbell won the 1977 Heisman and just banged on defense as a punishing runner.
Also Considered: Johnny Majors, Bernie Kosar, Billy Sims, Billy Cannon, DeAngelo Williams
19. Eric Dickerson, RB (SMU)
Another elite runner from Texas, Dickerson was a tall and long runner with smooth, gliding speed and great athletic ability.
Sure, he may be a prime face of one of the biggest scandals in the game's history, but Dickerson was a sheer baller.
Also Considered: Rashaan Salaam
18. Archie Manning, QB (Ole Miss)
Even though Peyton and Eli are pocket passers, Archie really was a dual-threat QB. Archie had good speed, and usually was among the leaders in total offense and yards when he played.
Plus, the speed limit on the Ole Miss campus is 18 mph in honor of Archie.
Also Considered: Roman Gabriel
17. Charlie Ward, QB (FSU)
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Ward is the best QB in FSU history and was the early face of the FSU program that dominated starting in the early 1990s. Ward won the Heisman in 1993 and rewrote many Seminole records.
Also Considered: Johnny Mack Brown, Bobby Dodd, Erny Pinckert, Arnold Tucker
16. Peyton Manning, QB (Tennessee)
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Manning is the best player in Tennessee history and almost a mythical legend.
He never won a Heisman nor beat Florida, but Manning had the respect of the entire country when he was in Knoxville. He's also among the best NFL QBs of all time.
Also Considered: Gary Beban, Chuck Long, Johnny Unitas, Brad Smith, Jim Plunkett, Frank Gifford
15. Tommie Frazier, QB (Nebraska)
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Frazier was wanted by many schools out of high school, but only as a DB. Nebraska told him he could play QB, and Frazier went to Lincoln—and made the other schools pay.
He won back-to-back titles in 1994-1995 and is one of the elite QBs to ever play CFB.
Also Considered: Drew Brees, Jimmy Harris, Tim Tebow
14. Ty Detmer, QB (BYU)
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Detmer didn't put up the stats in the pros that he did at BYU, but while he was in Provo, Detmer was a stud. He perfected and mastered the ol' Cougar air attack, and just lit defenses up on the regular.
Detmer also won a Heisman.
Also Considered: Don Hutson, Joe Hamilton, Vinny Testaverde, Todd Blackledge, Johnny Latner
13. Dan Marino, QB (Pittsburgh)
If he only won just one Super Bowl, Marino (in my opinion) would be the greatest of all time.
The quick release, competitiveness, field vision, instincts and natural passing skills were just off the charts. Marino was the greatest almost every time you saw him play.
Also Considered: Gino Torretta
12. Roger Staubach, QB (Navy)
Navy was known as a running team back in the day, as they are now, but Staubach played in an era where the Midshipmen balanced things out.
Good thing they did, because Staubach won the Heisman and Maxwell in 1963.
Also Considered: Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, Charles White, Bob Griese
11. Matt Leinart, QB (USC)
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Leinart was a top-tier recruit at Mater Dei, but an afterthought in the derby to replace Carson Palmer.
No problem, because all he did was win a Heisman, 37 games, two national titles and become a Top 10 draft pick.
Also Considered: Lavar Arrington, Steve Spurrier, Dan Fouts, Terry Baker, Chris McAlister
10. Vince Young, QB (Texas)
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Young put Texas on his back in the 2006 Rose Bowl and beat a super USC team. He came to Austin from Houston already a celebrity in the state and lived up to the billing by being productive, but also winning games.
Also Considered: Babe Parilli
9. Steve McNair, QB (Alcorn State)
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You don't go to Alcorn State and still get viewed as one of the very best players in the country.
Yet McNair did, and finished his career with more than 16,000 yards of offense and became a Top Five pick to Houston. McNair also almost won the Heisman in 1994.
Also Considered: Major Harris, Jim McMahon, Peter Warrick
8. Davey O'Brien, QB (TCU)
Continuing the theme of trophy honors, O'Brien's name is the namesake for the top QB in the country. He's the first player to win the Heisman, Maxwell and Camp awards in the same year.
Also Considered: Steve Young, Troy Aikman, David Carr, Napoleon Kaufman
7. John Elway, QB (Stanford)
Many people don't realize this, but Elway was actually a dual-threat QB in his younger years. He was a super athlete who had a rifle for an arm and great speed.
Is Andrew Luck going to supplant he and Jim Plunkett as the best Cardinal QB?
Also Considered: Danny Wuerffel, Michael Vick, Rick Leach, Eric Crouch, Bert Jones, John Huarte, Dennis Thurman, Joe Theismann
6. Robbie Bosco, QB (BYU)
BYU was a QB kingdom in the 1980s, and Bosco was one of the signal-callers who sat on the throne. He tossed for more than 8,000 yards in Provo and won 24 of 27 games.
Also Considered: Tyrone Wheatley, Harry Kipke
5. Reggie Bush, RB (USC)
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Bush may be the best player I've ever seen play in person at the college level. He was incredible at USC, and dazzled with speed, quickness, burst, agility and instincts. Bush won the Heisman in 2005.
Also Considered: Edgerrin James, Paul Hornung, Donovan McNabb, LaDainian Tomlinson
4. Brett Favre, QB (Southern Mississippi)
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Before we started hanging on to our seats then got sick of hearing about his comebacks, Favre was a wild-armed QB for Southern Miss. He had a special "it" factor to him and should have been a first-round pick.
Also Considered: Terrance Newman, Russell White, Jim Harbaugh, Steve Walsh
3. Carson Palmer, QB (USC)
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Palmer came to USC as a big-time recruit and flashed as a young player, but he started to regress a bit in the middle of his junior year.
Then his senior year came, and the light just flicked on, because Palmer got white hot en route to winning the Heisman and being the No. 1 pick to the Bengals.
Also Considered: Joe Montana, Keyshawn Johnson, Ralph Guliemi, Anthony Pondexter
2. Deion Sanders, CB (FSU)
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Sanders just made it into the Pro Football HOF and is viewed as the very best CB to ever play football.
He was a tall corner, but had off-the-charts play speed and athletic ability. Sanders won the Thorpe award in 1988 and was a two-time All-American.
Also Considered: Charles Woodson, Tim Couch
1. Anthony Carter, WR (Michigan)
Carter had 36 career TDs, and Lloyd Carr said he was the most exciting player he'd seen. Carter also accomplished the rare three-time All-American feat.
Michigan fans get excited about Desmond Howard, but before him was Anthony Carter.
Also Considered: Larry Fitzgerald, Ernie Nevers, Lawrence Philips, David Terrell, Braylon Edwards, Charles Rogers, Eric Bienemy