College Football's Mount Rushmore: One Nominee from Every BCS Program
Before I start, please keep in mind that this isn't an "All-Time Best Players List," rather, a "Mount Rushmore" type of list. Some players will be highly talented, while others will be famous for other reasons.
But, say a Mount Rushmore of college football would be being constructed. Which player from each BCS program would be the sole, one and only face to represent your favorite program?
Let's have some fun and take a look! I can't wait!
Wisconsin: Ron Dayne, RB
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The Great Dayne was a sensation at Camp Randall. Not to be all hype and smoke and mirrors, Dayne was very, very, very productive. At 5'11", 250 pounds, Dayne rushed for at least 1,300 yards in all four years at Wisconsin.
He's the FBS all-time leading rusher at 6,397, as his rushing totals year-to-year were: 1,863, 1,421, 1,325 and 1,834. He took home the Heisman in 1999, and his No. 33 is retired from Wisconsin football. He amassed over 7,100 total yards and even 12 200-yard games.
South Florida: Kawika Mitchell, LB
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South Florida is still a relatively young program. Matt Grothe, B.J. Daniels and certainly Jason Pierre Paul were considered. But I'm going with Mitchell.
Before he was a key defensive stalwart for the Giants on their 2007 Super Bowl team, Mitchell was plugging the run for the Bulls. He was a Butkus nominee during his junior and senior seasons and left school with the tackles record at 367.
UConn: Donald Brown, RB
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UConn has only been a FBS team for a short while, but Brown may be the best overall player to play in Stoors. At 5'10", 210 pounds, he worked himself into being a first-round pick to the Colts in 2009.
He left UConn as the all-time leading rusher with over 3,800 yards and topped the 2,000 clip in 2008. He scored 35 total touchdowns and also caught 48 passes.
Cincinnati: Trent Cole, DE
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The funny thing about Cole is that his numbers at Cincy would be better if he hadn't played out of position for much of his career. Cole currently plays DE for the Eagles, but at Cincinnati, he played NT.
At 6'3", 270 pounds, Cole was a two-time All-CUSA pick and finished up with 238 tackles, 19 sacks and 48 tackles for losses.
Today, he is one the best pass-rushers in the NFL.
Indiana: Anthony Thompson, RB
Thompson is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and has 5,299 career rushing yards. I'd like see to who breaks that record for the Hoosiers, because that will be a serious feat.
1989 was Thompson's prime season, as he finished second in the Heisman race to Andre Ware. He scored 65 career touchdowns, totaling 412 points, and ran for 377 yards for Wisconsin
Iowa: Andre Tippett, DL
Tippett is regarded as won of the classiest men in football, and the former Patriots LB is a Pro Football Hall of Famer. He was a two-time All-American as a DE at Iowa in early 1980s and was team captain in 1981.
He made the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team and was the key cog on the Hawkeye defense in 1981, which is regarded as the best unit in school history
Northwestern: Pat Fitzgerald, LB
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The current head coach for the Wildcats, Fitz is also the school's best defensive player of all time. He was a ferocious LB in the mid-1990s and was a two-time Bednarik Award winner, a two-time Nagurski Trophy winner and a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
Rutgers: Ray Rice, RB
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I thought about going with Don Cherry, the all-world safety from the 70s and 80s. Or even QB Mike McMahon.
But I'm going with Rice.
He's the best RB of all-time in Piscataway, and the more I think about it, he's their best player. Rice was phenomenal and was a driving force in helping basically raise the Scarlet Knight program from the dead.
Louisville: Johnny Unitas, QB
Sure, Michael Bush, Chris Redman, Dave Ragone, Sam Madison, Stefan LeFors and Brian Brohm could have been here. But Johnny U did what they did before them.
There is something about Unitas that pure football people love, as he just got the job done. He was a winner, a leader of men and a very smart QB. Some will even say he's the greatest QB of all time.
Louisville boasts one of the better all-time QB rosters in college football, bar none.
Missouri: Brad Smith, QB
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Smith was the epitome of a dual-threat QB who destroyed defenses with passing and running poison. He was probably the best athlete on the field in 99 percent of the games he played in at Missouri.
He has so many "firsts" in NCAA history that he can be considered an offensive trailblazer. Chances are when you hear today that a QB is the second or third or fourth QB to rush for a certain number of yards and pass for another total, the first QB to do it was Brad Smith.
I'm not going to go over all of the records he has because they are too many to name. Smith was that ridiculous as a Tiger.
Kansas State: Michael Bishop, QB
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Sorry, Gary Spani and Darren Sproles.
I remember in the mid to late 1990s waking up on Saturday mornings in the fall and seeing previews of some dude named "Michael Bishop." When I finally saw him play, I was amazed. Bishop was a playmaker for KSU, through and through.
He was Michael Vick before Vick came into the spotlight. Bishop could make throws from the pocket or on the run and run for first downs and touchdowns. I would even argue that he was the prime player that thrust Bill Snyder and Kansas State into the national spotlight, as KSU wasn't exactly a powerhouse before then.
Kansas: Gale Sayers, RB
I almost went with John Riggins, as he broke some of Sayers' records, but Sayers was too good. The Kansas Comet had speed, agility, quickness and a keen explosion. He was one of the true original home run threats.
He gained 3,917 all-purpose yards, including 2,675 via rushing. Sayers was also an elite return man. Not bad for a guy who wanted to go to Iowa.
Iowa State: Troy Davis, RB
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Seneca Wallace has to be HM.
Davis was only 5'8" and barely 180 pounds. You looked at him during warmups and figured he was a walk-on. Then you saw him run and you were amazed. It's a wonder how productive Davis was at his smallish stature.
He was the first running back in college football history to rush for over 2,000 yards in consecutive seasons and finished second in the Heisman race in 1996. His 4,382 career yards and 2,185 single-season yards in 1996 to go along with his 378 yards vs. Missouri are all records. He also added 126 total points
Ole Miss: Archie Manning, QB
I went with Archie over Eli here. Archie always had that "it" about him, yet it seemed like he never was on a winning team.
On the big stage, one of the very first times a college football game was broadcast in prime time, Manning was the star, as he tossed for 436 yards, three touchdowns and ran for over 100 yards vs. Alabama. His team lost. Again.
Manning became the face of the New Orleans 'Aints during his heyday, as he was the best player on a horrible team. It was always apparent Archie was a great QB, but he never had help. Today he has seen both of his sons, Peyton and Eli, be No. 1 overall picks and win Super Bowls.
Mississippi State: Billy Jackson, DE
I'm going with Jackson for the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
He's the top pass-rusher in MSU history, as he is the all-time leader in sacks with 49. Jackson also holds the single-season record for sacks with 17 in 1980.
LSU: Tommy Hodson, QB
Hodson blazed trails not only for LSU, but for the SEC as well in the late 1980s. He won two SEC titles for the Tigers and was the first SEC QB to pass for 8,000 yards and eclipse 60 passing touchdowns. He's just one of three players in NCAA history to toss for 2,000 yards in four straight years. He was also the first LSU player to be first team All-SEC in each of his four seasons for the Tigers.
Hodson is best remembered for his late-game heroics and touchdown pass vs. Auburn in 1988 in the contest known as the "Earthquake Game."
Could have gone with Patrick Peterson and a couple others.
Auburn: Bo Jackson, RB
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At 6'1", 230 pounds, what couldn't Jackson do athletically? He's on the same freakish athletic status as Herschel Walker. He was just a sheer specimen.
He played football and baseball and was amazing at both. But his speed, strength, burst, power, quickness and run instincts as a running back almost make him a mythical legend. If not for a bad hip, he might have become the NFL's all-time leading rusher.
However, he still is the all-time leading rusher for the Tigers with 4,303 career yards, with a single-season record of 1,786 coming in 1985.
Cam Newton is HM.
Arkansas: Darren McFadden, RB
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McFadden made an immediate impact at Arkansas. As a true freshman, he rushed for 1,113 and 11 touchdowns. The next year, he rushed for 1,647 yards and 14 scores, tossing for three more.
But his junior season in 2007 was silly. He topped out at 1,829 yards and 16 scores, tossing four more and being considered the most outstanding college football player in the country, bar none. McFadden did everything for the Hog offense, playing both running back and QB, even catching passes out of the backfield.
Vanderbilt: Jay Cutler, RB
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Easy pick here.
Watching Cutler play, I was shocked to learn that he did not have many scholarship offers coming out of high school. At 6'3", 230 pounds, he is a solid athlete with good mobility and a hose for an arm.
He was routinely the best player on a bad team at Vanderbilt, but kept the Commodores competitive at times in the SEC. The Broncos took him in the first round of the 2006 draft, and today, he is the QB of the Bears.
Tennessee: Peyton Manning, QB
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Who else would it be for the program in Knoxville? Oh wait, Reggie White, yes, but it's Manning for me.
He's the son of Archie, the brother of Eli and the best in the family and in Vol history. Manning is a legend and icon in Knoxville. Known for his legendary work ethic, instincts, smarts, awareness, passing skills and a slew of other natural QB skills, Manning has a chance to be the very best QB of all time, college or pro.
He just needs get over this neck injury and at least one more Super Bowl ring to match his ridiculous numbers.
South Carolina: George Rogers, RB
If he can come back to full health next season and moving forward, I think Marcus Lattimore leaves with this honor.
Until then...it's George Rogers.
At 6'2", 230 pounds, Rogers came to Columbia thinking he would likely play fullback. But the Gamecocks lost their top two tailbacks to graduation, so he was moved to running back and never looked back.
Rogers set just about every rushing record for the Gamecocks and is their leading all-time rusher at 5,204 yards, including the single-season record of 1,894 in 1980. He's the first South Carolina player to have his number retired while still being active at the school.
Kentucky: Tim Couch, QB
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Couch was Mr. Kentucky in his heyday. He was the state's golden boy and was a celebrity before he even signed with the Wildcats. Couch was an All-American prep QB and hoops player in high school and would school defenses by tossing the pigskin and draining three-pointers.
He went on to throw Kentucky football into the national spotlight, as he led wide-open offenses inspired by Hal Mumme called the "Air Raid." Couch lit up defenses, scoreboards and record books.
Georgia: Herschel Walker, RB
This was easy. Walker is one the greatest athletic specimens in the history of sports. I'm talking like the real history of sports, all the way back to the original Greek Olympic days. Seriously.
At 6'1", 225 pounds, he could do it all. Size, speed, power, strength, force, balance, quickness, explosion—Walker was the man at Georgia. He rushed for 5,259 career yards, including 1,891 in 1981, which are records in Athens. His 283 vs. Vanderbilt in 1980 is also a record.
I have to give HM to David Greene.
Florida: Tim Tebow, QB
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Tebow was an icon at Florida, still is and will always be. He's Mr. Florida Gator and had some magical moments in Gainesville. He won a Heisman, two national titles and countless awards as the QB of the Florida Gators.
Say what you want about Tebow's chances at being a good NFL QB—which I admit I have reservations about, too—but the kid is a winner, a fighter and a dedicated athlete that will do anything he can to be successful.
I went with Tebow over Emmit Smith, Steve Spurrier, Wilbert Marshall and Danny Wuerffel.
Utah: Alex Smith, QB
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Smith was an unknown QB from San Diego who was more known for being the guy who handed off to Reggie Bush than for his passing prowess. He didn't have many offers, and his uncle, John L. Smith, wasn't too sure about him coming to Louisville at the time.
Smith chose to go to Utah, and through hard work and also as an example of how crucial player development is, he blossomed into a national star. 6'3", 220 pounds, Smith displayed an adequate arm, mobility, accuracy and running ability in Urban Meyer's spread option offense.
Larry Wilson is HM.
Colorado: Rashaam Saalam, RB
People knocked Salaam coming out of high school because he played eight-man ball in Southern California. Boy did they shut up pretty quickly. Salaam proved whether it be eight-man, 11-man or whatever else, he could light up defenses as a running back.
It was Salaam's junior season that saw him just go bonkers. He rushed for 2,055 yards, 24 touchdowns and ran the Buffs to a Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame. He won the Heisman, Doak Walker and Walter Camp awards in that year and became a first-round pick to the Bears in 1995.
Washington State: Ryan Leaf, QB
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Drew Bledsoe is another player who could have been selected here.
Say what you want about how Leaf flamed out of the NFL and how he acted while doing so, but you can't knock what he did for Wazzu. At 6'5" and 240 pounds, Leaf was seen as perhaps the perfect QB prospect.
At Wazzu, all he did was appear in 32 games, average 330 yards passing as a junior and throw a then-record 33 touchdown passes. He was a Heisman finalist, Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and first team All-American.
Oregon State: Steven Jackson, RB
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When I worked for Las Vegas Gladiators a few years, ago, some of the good folks in Vegas told me some stories about Jackson as a high school player. The main word used was "dominant."
Some games, Jackson would have only around 10 carries or so, but over 100 or more yards.
Jackson defined the term "beast" at Oregon State. He totaled 3625 yards and 39 scores at OSU, 66 catches, 680 yards, six touchdowns and seven kickoff returns for scores.
6'2", 235 pounds, he's a huge back with excellent speed and athletic ability. He's one of the most complete backs in the NFL today.
Honorable mention goes to Ken Simonton and Terry Baker.
California: Russell White, RB
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There was Chuck Muncie, Marshawn Lynch, Aaron Rodgers, Hardy Nickerson, Nnamdi Asomugha and Steve Bartkowski among the Cal players to choose from.
I went with White.
At 5'11", 216 pounds, he's Cal's all-time leading rusher at 3,367 yards and was a sensational athlete. White had very good play speed, quickness, nimble feet, vision and run instincts.
BYU: Ty Detmer, QB
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At first, I wanted to go with Steve Young, and then I was leaning toward Jim McMahon, then maybe even Luke Staley, but I settled on Detmer. I really could not have gone wrong with any of them, so if you disagree, just know that I did seriously consider McMahon and Young.
Detmer left BYU with 59—count 'em, 59—records attached to his name. He threw for over 15,000 yards and 121 scores. Detmer also set high marks for passer efficiency, completion percentage and total offense with over 14,600 yards.
Navy: Roger Staubach, QB
Staubach's legend at Navy actually started in his sophomore season during that year's fourth game. He was thrust into the game versus Cornell to see if he could spark the Midshipmen's sputtering offense. He did, leading Navy on six scoring drives, including throwing for two touchdowns himself.
He won the Heisman and Maxwell trophies in 1963 and won nine games for Navy that season. Staubach went on to serve in Vietnam and came back to the States to only become one of the greatest NFL QBs in history with the Cowboys.
Army: Doc Blanchard, RB
Army has had some pretty historic players, but Blanchard was the business.
To those around West Point, Blanchard is simply known as "Mr. Inside." He teamed with Glenn Davis, Mr. Outside, as perhaps the greatest running back tandem in college football history. Ed McKeevey, then-head coach at Notre Dame, called Blanchard "Superman."
Thirty-eight touchdowns, 1,908 yards, Time magazine cover, 1945 Heisman—enough said.
Virginia Tech: Michael Vick, QB
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OK, first, I know that Bruce Smith was fantastic in Blacksburg.
While there are still millions and perhaps billions of people who hate Vick for what he did in his dog fighting scandal, he may be perhaps the greatest athlete to play QB in the history of the position.
Vick was amazing in Blacksburg. He was a remarkable physical specimen that had a cannon for an arm and was among the very fastest players in the country. In fact, you can make an argument that Vick may have the strongest arm and be the fastest player in the NFL.
His career numbers may not be too impressive at VaTech since he left after his sophomore season, but we all know he was special for the Hokies.
Georgia Tech: Joe Hamilton, QB
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Hamilton was not the biggest or most physically imposing QB in the world, but he was one of the best playmakers you ever watched play. That's why he goes down as the top QB in Yellow Jackets history.
About 5'10" tall, Hamilton still eclipsed records in the ACC for total offense, total touchdowns and touchdown passes. He nearly won the 1999 Heisman, finishing second to Ron Dayne. Today, he is a QB for the Arena League's Orlando Predators.
Duke: Sonny Jurgenson, QB
Jurgensen was a seldom-used backup on the 1954 Duke team, but really played more as a defensive back. When the 1955 year came, he started both ways at QB and DB and led the Blue Devils to a piece of the ACC title.
Jurgensen's numbers don't look good on paper, as he only finished with 1,119 yards, six touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Yet he was a leader and a gamer and even turned down a plea to join the hoops team.
Wake Forest: Aaron Curry, LB
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Curry was the top defensive player in the country in 2008, as he took home the Butkus and was a first team All-American and All-ACC pick. He's a 6'2", 255-pound LB that can play the "Sam" and "Will" (weak-side linebacker)" and can even put his hand down and rush well.
North Carolina State: Philip Rivers, QB
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Rivers is one of my favorite QBs to watch, college or NFL. He's the definition of a gamer, and I like the fact the fact that he's a bit cocky, has some moxie and has won wherever he's been. At 6'5", 225 pounds, he has a funky delivery but is accurate, smart and a great leader.
I think he maybe should have won MVP this past year with the Chargers if they had made the playoffs. However, at NC State, Rivers was money in the bank, winning MVP of every bowl game he played in and setting various passing marks.
Penn State: Curt Warner, RB
Nittany Lions fans, the honorable mention for this one is highly debatable: Lenny Moore, Curtis Enis, Ki-Jana Carter, Blair Thomas or Larry Johnson on RBs alone, then Kerry Collins, LaVar Arrington and a slew of others, but I think Warner is the right pick.
He won a national title for the PSU in 1983 and led the squad in rushing from 1980-1982. He finished his career as the school's all-time leading rusher at 3,398 yards, and 42 records in the Penn State books were attached to Warner's name.
Boston College: Doug Flutie, QB
Here's another no-brainer.
A symbol and outcome of determination, toughness and grit, Flutie has been magic anywhere he has played. Whether it be at BC, the CFL, NFL or wherever, Flutie has always been a winner. At 5'10" and merely 180 pounds, he just got it done from the QB spot.
Matt Ryan could have gone here, but come on—Flutie was instrumental in what may be the top college football play of all time with his Hail Mary throw versus Miami in 1984. He left BC as the NCAA's all-time leader in passing yards and was an All-American who also got it done in the classroom.
West Virginia: Major Harris, QB
Pat White and Steve Slaton could have easily taken home the honors, but Harris gets the nod.
Harris is another example of how important recruiting and impressions can be for prospects. The story has it that he originally wanted to attend Pitt, but Mike Gottfried wanted to make him a defensive back. Harris was interested in only scoring touchdowns, not breaking up passes.
So he went to rival West Virginia and lit it up. He totaled over 7,300 yards of offense, including ranking eighth on the Mountaineers rushing list with just over 2,100 yards. Keep in mind he played QB, not running back.
Virginia: Tiki Barber, RB
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Barber made his mark in football more so with the New York Giants, yet he was a mid-round pick out of Virginia. Undersized at 5'9", 205 pounds, Barber went on to become one the top backs of the decade.
Honorable mention to Matt Schaub and Chris Long.
North Carolina: Lawrence Taylor, DE/LB
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You know and I know the legend that is LT. He was just a dominant, fierce, passionate, freakish and overwhelming football player.
Thomas is one of the greatest players of all time, regardless of position. He played a DE/LB hybrid role and is regarded as the premier pass-rusher in football history.
Honorable mention to Julius Peppers, Ronald Curry, Darian Durrant and Hakeem Nicks.
Arizona State: Terrell Suggs, DE/LB
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Suggs played defensive end for the Sun Devils, but plays OLB for the Ravens today. At 6'3", 260 pounds, he is one of the most exciting pass-rushers in the NFL.
He had 163 tackles and 44 sacks for Arizona State, including tying an NCAA record of 24 in a season as a junior.
Oregon: Joey Harrington, QB
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Yeah, I stuck with Harrington over Dan Fouts, Haloti Ngata and Jonathan Stewart, among others. Fouts set a lot of records during his tenure in Eugene, as did Stewart, but Harrington eclipsed many of them and won 25 out of 28 games as a three-year starter for the Ducks.
I still think Oregon was robbed of playing in the BCS title game vs. Miami in 2002. Yet Harrington posted fabulous career numbers for the Ducks. He threw for a total of 6,911 passing yards along with 59 passing touchdowns. Harrington rushed for another 18 touchdowns and had over 7,100 yards of total offense.
Honorable mention also goes to LaMichael James.
Washington: Steve Emtman, DL
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I mulled between Moon and Steve Emtman. I really, really did.
I'm going with Emtman because we remember Moon a bit more for his NFL accomplishments and Emtman a bit more for his college accomplishments. With this being a read more towards college football, Emtman wins out.
Emtman was a big DE at 6'4", 295 pounds and was a college superstar in Seattle. A College Football HOF member, talk is, Emtman was the undisputed best player on the U-Dub '91 national title team.
Aside from being a unanimous All-American, Emtman also won the Outland, Lombardi and Willis trophies and was the UPI Lineman of the Year. He also finished fourth in the Heisman race.
Miami: Ray Lewis, LB
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For The U, I mean, seriously, take your pick. Feel free to tell me who you think should be here. I'm going with Lewis, but there's no wrong player here.
When I worked for the Giants, my boss told me a story of how when he was a scout with the Broncos, he was asked to watch film on a LB from Miami that everyone was raving about.
My boss goes on to tell me that he watched the LB, and the player couldn't run and was not impressive at all. He writes his report and gives him a low grade. He then reads his report some time later at a draft meeting, and the rest of the scouting staff asks him what games he watched on film.
Come to find out the games he watched the LB play, the LB was playing with a broken leg. The LBs name? Take a guess.
Maryland: Randy White, DE
White played fullback during his freshman year but moved to defensive end as a sophomore. His speed and quickness was his biggest asset, and White went on to win ACC POY honors, along with Lombardi and Outland trophies in 1974.
He's now in the College Football Hall of Fame and was the No. 2 overall pick by the Cowboys in 1975, where he became a nine-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler.
Honorable mention to Boomer Esiaison and LaMont Jordan.
Michigan State: Bubba Smith, DE
At 6'7", 265 pounds, Smith was a two-time All-American for the Spartans in 1965 and 1966. He was one of the star draws in the Game of the Century game vs. Notre Dame in 1966 and had his No. 95 jersey retired by the Spartans in 2006.
The big DE was the No. 1 overall pick by Colts in 1967 and was a two-time Pro Bowler.
Michigan: Tom Harmon, RB
Harmon was a great RB for Michigan in the late '30s and early '40s, winning the Heisman in 1940. Many Michigan historians claim he's the best player in school history.
He went out in style, beating Ohio State 40-0 with a dazzling performance.
But here's the thing that's so crazy about Harmon's performance in that game: It was so good, that Ohio State, yes Ohio State, fans gave him, a Michigan player, a standing ovation at the end of the game.
Come on now.
Stanford: Andrew Luck, QB
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John Elway. Steven Stenstrom. Jim Plunkett. Yes, they all went to play on The Farm.
But I think when we look back at it, the face we'll remember most with Stanford football in Luck's. Just on the hype alone, it'll always pop into your head.
That's why, if I'm building a Mt. Rushmore, it's his face that I'm carving out to represent Stanford.
Syracuse: Ernie Davis, RB
I really wanted to go with Jim Brown. Also, Don McPherson and Donovan McNabb as well.
But what all Davis did, under the obvious negative circumstances, goes dwon as one fo the all-time feats in college football hsitory. Syracuse is proud of a lot of moments, a lot fo teams and a lot of players in it's rich history.
A 6'2", 215-pound RB when an elite skill set for the position, Davis became the first African-American to win the Heisman, capturing CFB immortality in 1961.
He was inducted into the CFB HOF in 1979 and had a movie made about his career and times at Syracuse called "The Express."
He's beloved by 'Cuse brass due to the mental toughness, grit, competitiveness and will he displayed during the trying times of his career due to his race.
Baylor: Mike Singletary, LB
Singletary is the Bears all-time leader in tackles for career with a silly 662 stops. Wow. He also set the season record of 232 in 1978.
Known for his focus, drive and wide eyes, Singletary wasn't overly big, but he brought the wood at every collision and was a fierce leader and competitor.
USC: Reggie Bush, RB
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USC gets the Miami treatment folks. Again, just going on my personal preference, as there could be a major list of who should be here, so you tell me.
I'm sure USC would not allow for this, as they have washed their hands with Bush. But the combination of his greatness on the field and the scandal off the field kind of leads me to have him here.
This was perhaps the very toughest Mt. Rushmore face to do decide on. You try choosing between Charles White, Carson Palmer, OJ Simpson, Keyshawn Johnson, Ricky Bell, Matt Leinart, Pat Haden, Marcus Allen, Junior Seau, Sam Cunningham, Anthony Davis, Willie McGinest, and LenDale White among others.
Heck, even Matt Barkley is putting up numbers this year that have him as an HM name for this.
Arizona: Chris McAlister, CB
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McAlister was just too good in Tuscon. Trung Candidate, Willie Tuitama and Nick Foles would be HM names.
At 6'1", 206 pounds, McAlister combined great size with amazing athletic ability and cover skills. He was one of the greatest corners of the past decade and was a two-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler. He left Arizona with 18 career picks and made the first team All-Pac-10 squad three straight years.
Nebraska: Tommie Frazier, QB
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Frazier was the leader of that powerhouse '95 Big Red squad that won the second of back-to-back national titles. He was an excellent athlete that ran the option offense to perfection for Nebraska.
Tom Osborne started recruiting more speed to match up with the Big Three in Florida to give the Cornhuskers a better chance in their bowl games. Frazier came in as a prized QB recruit and left Nebraska as the top QB in school history.
He won 33 out of 36 games, two national titles and four conference rings and set marks for total offense, touchdown passes and rushing scores for a QB in a season. He's one of the greatest college football players of all time.
Many other names could be here.
Purdue: Drew Brees, QB
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Could have gone with Ron Woodson and Leroy Keyes.
Brees, who's ultra-competitive, always played with a chip on his shoulder and still does. Barely 6'0" tall, Brees wowed everyone at Purdue with his accuracy, moxie and will to win. He may be one of the best QBs of all-time, let alone the top passer from Purdue.
Notre Dame: George Gipp, HB
The Gipper may be the most famous college football player of all time, as he is still beloved by Irish eyes to this very day.
He was a sheer baller as a half back who also could toss the rock around and played some shut down corner for the Golden Domers.
He died in 1920 during the season, as some say he got pneumonia from being forced to sleep outside due to a door being locked in his dorm, while others say it was from giving punting lessons in the cold.
He's the subject of perhaps the most famous pre-game speech ever delivered in sports history.
UCLA: Troy AIkman, QB
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I was very, very close to going with either Gary Beban, J.J. Stokes, Maurice Jones-Drew or Cade McNown, but I selected Aikman. He transferred to Westwood from Oklahoma with the help of Barry Switzer who wanted to see Troy thrive in a passing offense.
Aikman did, and then some. He left school with the O'Brien, DC Club, UPI MVP and AFCA Coaches Choice trophies in his backpack. Aikman had a quick release, cannon arm and was a sheer natural passer. He finished fourth in Heisman voting in 1988 and was the No. 1 overall pick to the Cowboys in 1989.
Ohio State: Archie Griffin, RB
The only player ever to win two Heismans. I gave Griffin the nod over Eddie George. I never saw Griffin play, but his highlights and the stories I've heard are otherworldly. He rushed for at least 1,450 yards in three straight years at Ohio State.
His top year was 1974, where rushed for 1,695 yards and 12 scores, the first year he won the Heisman.
Okalhoma: Lee Roy Selmon, DT
I could have gone with Brian Bosworth, Josh Huepel, Sam Bradford, Marcus Dupree and of course, Billy Sims.
But it's Selmon, who was a stout defensive end and one of the great players off the 1974 squad's staunch defense. Barry Switzer called Selmon the best player he'd ever coached.
Back-to-back national champs in '74 and '75, OU saw Selmon win the Outland and Lombardi awards and become a two-time unanimous All-American. He was the No. 1 overall pick to the Bucs in 1976, was a six-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro.
Alabama: Joe Namath, QB
Namath is best known for his days as the QB of the Jets and making the most famous guarantee in sports history. But he started his legend in Tuscaloosa under Bear Bryant from 1962-1964.
Some say that Namath is extremely overrated, but you can't knock him for being a winner. He won 29 of 33 games as a three-year starter for the Tide, and Bryant called him the best athlete he ever coached.
Namath's laid-back persona and Bryant's stern demeanor were opposites, but there was also a mutual love for one another.
Pitt: Tony Dorsett, RB
I didn't forget Hugh Green nor Dan Marino. Just going with Dorsett, folks.
Dorsett is one the best overall running backs of all time, college or pro. At 5'11", 190 pounds, he had very good speed and quickness. He combined that with excellent feet, agility and vision to just do work.
At Pitt, Dorsett was a three-time All-American, and in 1976, he won the Heisman, Maxwell and Camp awards after he ran for 1,948 yards. He finished his career as the NCAA's all-time leading rusher with 6,082 yards.
Florida State: Deion Sanders, CB
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Again, I urge you tell me who you feel should be here, as Florida State has a number a players that fit the Mt. Rushmore qualifications.
Sanders is regarded as the greatest cover corner of all time. His athleticism, feet, burst, quickness, agility, hips, size and instincts make him one of the exciting players to ever play. His game and flare still are evident in today's game as many corners try to compare themselves to him.
He is the last pure and true "shutdown corner." There are some great ones in the NFL today, but they aren't quite on Prime Time's level. He's the top defender to come out of talent-rich Florida State, and that is a huge feat in itself as the honorable mention list is very long.
Clemson: Woody Dantzler, QB
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Steve Fuller could have gone here for Clemson, but I went with Dantzler. He just made play after play, week after week, with his arm and his legs for the Tigers.
Today, we use the term "dual threat" a lot in regards to various QB prospects, and Dantzler was one of the originals. The 2001 season was a huge year for him, as he became the first QB in NCAA history to pass for 2,000 yards while rushing for 1,000. He also chipped in 21 touchdowns and was a Heisman finalist.
Steve Fuller, Terry Kinard, C.J. Spiller and Gaines Adams are names that could have gone here too.
Illinois: Red Grange, RB
The Galloping Ghost easily takes the cake for Illinois. Dick Butkus got consideration, but Grange just did work. Some say he's the best college football player ever. And they say it emphatically too.
He was dominant in his day. Sheer magic and production. He played in 20 games and ran for 3,362 yards, threw for 575 yards and caught 14 passes. He scored 31 total touchdowns, and nine of them were from 50 yards out.
I can go on and on about The Ghost, but I'll just look him up and see how dominant he was.
Oklahoma State: Barry Sanders, RB
This was a tough call to make, as I could have also went with Thurman Thomas, but Sanders was too dazzling. He may be the best running back of all time. Period. At any level.
Sanders was Thomas' understudy for a few years, then took over when the Bills selected Thomas. His 1988 season was just silly. Sanders rushed for over 2,600 yards, averaging a 7.6 yards a carry, 200 yards per game and had four 300-yard games.
He scored 39 touchdowns that season and totaled 3,248 all-purpose yards. Oh, right, he also won the Heisman too that year. Almost forgot that.
Texas: Ricky Williams, RB
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This was an easier selection and sentimental choice for yours truly. I idolized Williams when I played and adapted much of his running style when I was a rock-toter in the prep ranks. At 5'10", 230 pounds, Williams had 4.4 speed, quick feet, power, great vision and natural run instincts.
He finished his career in Austin as the Longhorns and NCAA career leader in rushing yards with 6,279, though Ron Dayne broke the NCAA mark the next year. His 2,124 yards in 1998 is a single-season record at Texas, and he scored a record 452 career points.
Williams holds several other records for the Longhorns, although Vince Young, Earl Campbell, Colt McCoy, Roy Williams and Cedric Benson are a few others who could have been named here.
Texas A&M: Dat Nguyen, LB
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Nguyen was an undersized, yet tough and instinctive LB for the Aggies. He took home the Lombardi, Bednarik and Lambert awards in 1998 and was Butkus finalist. At 5'11", 238 pounds, Nguyen was a three-time first team All-Big 12 pick and the 1998 DPOY in the conference
Texas Tech: Zach Thomas, LB
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Thomas had the heart of a lion. A stout and tough 5'11", 240-pound LB, he was a tackling machine throughout his entire career. Thomas was a Butkus finalist, Conference DPOY and All-American in both his junior and senior years.
He left Lubbock with 390 career stops and had a Hall of Fame NFL career.
Honorable Mention to Michael Crabtree, Ricky Williams (Red Raiders' RB), Kliff Kingsbury and Graham Harrell.
TCU: Sammy Baugh, QB
Baugh's impact alone puts him on here, but TCU is moving to the Big 12, so I felt I'd add them as a late enrollee for fun.
"Slingin' Sammy" goes down as the best TCU QB ever. Period. Although I must say that I did like Casey Printers, and I honestly believe Andy Dalton may end being a solid starter in the NFL, it's Baugh for the Horned Frogs.
Baugh went to TCU because he was allowed to play football, baseball and basketball. Other schools were a bit worried he might be stretched too thin. However, all he went on to do was become a two-time All-American and toss 39 career scores. He finished fourth in the Heisman race in 1936 and went on to become a legend with the Redskins.
HM goes to LaDainian Tomlinson.
Boise State: Kellen Moore, QB
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I mean, come on—he has been one of the best QBs in the country since he took over for the Broncos.He has to be on a Mt. Rushmore for BCS , right?
Moore's not very big at 6'0", 190 pounds, nor very fast or uber-athletic. But Moore beats you with his mind, awareness, instincts and preparation. He watches a ton of film and has an understanding of the game that is very, very natural.
He has set Bronco marks in almost every category, and I expect him to challenge for some of the top passer efficiency marks this year yet again.