The 50 Greatest College Football Players of All Time

Tom PerryCorrespondent IOctober 3, 2011

The 50 Greatest College Football Players of All Time

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    Barry Sanders had one of the greatest seasons in college football history when he won the Heisman Trophy for Oklahoma State in 1988.

    However, is he the all-time greatest college football player? With almost 150 years of college football history to evaluate, Sanders and many more have to be considered near the top.

    Remember, this is all about a player's performance in college, so how he did in the NFL really doesn't matter.

    Let's be honest—what separates the greatest from the great is pretty slim, so there's almost no way everyone will agree with the final results.

    Stay with us until the end to see if your guy made Bleacher Report's top 50 college football players of all time.

Nos. 51-100

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    51. Lawrence Taylor, LB, North Carolina

    52. Jim McMahon, QB, BYU

    53. Howard Cassady, RB, Ohio State

    54. Billy Cannon, RB, LSU

    55. Michael Irvin, WR, Miami

    56. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Pittsburgh

    57. Lee Roy Jordan, LB-C, Alabama

    58. Matt Leinart, QB, USC

    59. Randy Moss, WR, Marshall

    60. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas

    61. Johnny Lujack, QB, Notre Dame

    62. Doc Blanchard, RB, Army

    63. George Gipp, HB, Notre Dame

    64. Rich Glover, DT, Nebraska

    65. LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, TCU

    66. Lynn Swann, WR, USC

    67. Raghib Ismail, WR, Notre Dame

    68. Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas

    69. Davey O’Brien, QB, TCU

    70. Charles White, RB, USC

    71. Ron Dayne, RB, Wisconsin

    72. Ricky Williams, RB, Texas

    73. Desmond Howard, WR, Michigan

    74. Jack Tatum, S, Ohio State

    75. Warren Sapp, DT, Miami

    76. Jerry Rice, WR, Mississippi Valley State

    77. Mike Singletary, LB, Baylor

    78. Vinny Testaverde, QB, Miami

    79. Sam Huff, LB, West Virginia

    80. Paul Hornung, QB-FB, Notre Dame

    81. Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State

    82. Pat White, QB, West Virginia

    83. Charlie Ward, QB, Florida State

    84. Ted Hendricks, DE, Miami

    85. Mike Reid, DT, Penn State

    86. Steve Young, QB, BYU

    87. Grant Wistrom, DE, Nebraska

    88. Jonathan Ogden, OT, UCLA

    89. Ozzie Newsome, TE, Alabama

    90. Tony Boselli, OT, USC

    91. Aundray Bruce, LB, Auburn

    92. Lance Alworth, WR, Arkansas

    93. Frank Sinkwich, RB, Georgia

    94. Joe Namath, QB, Alabama

    95. Doug Flutie, QB, Boston College

    96. George Rogers, RB, South Carolina

    97. Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

    98. Tim Brown, WR, Notre Dame

    99. Eric Dickerson, RB, SMU

    100. Brett Favre, QB, Southern Mississippi

50. Anthony Carter, WR, Michigan

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    Anthony Carter was a big-time threat on a Bo Schembechler offense that liked to ground it out and chew up time.

    Carter was one of the game's more exciting players, and he was a three-time All-American for the Wolverines.

    At a slight 5'11", 160 pounds, Carter was quick and elusive. He finished with 37 touchdown receptions, including 14 in his final season.

    Years: 1979-82

49. Kenny Easley, S, UCLA

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    Kenny Easley was a force during his career at UCLA and was known as one of the fiercest defenders during his time.

    He recorded 324 tackles and 19 interceptions as a three-time All-American for the Bruins. UCLA honored his great career by retiring his No. 3.

    The Seahawks drafted him No. 4 in the 1981 draft, but an interesting fact is the Chicago Bulls drafted him in the 10th round (however, he never played in the NBA).

    Years: 1977-80

48. Eric Berry, S, Tennessee

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    Eric Berry was a two-time All-American as well a two-time winner of the Jack Tatum Award as one of Tennessee's greatest players.

    He started every game in his college career and left early for the NFL, where he was drafted fifth by the Chiefs.

    Berry had 14 career interceptions, including three returned for touchdowns. His best season was his sophomore year, when he had seven interceptions.

    Years: 2007-09

47. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

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    Ndamukong Suh became one of the best stories of 2009 and was even considered a Heisman front-runner after a dominating performance on the defensive line. Suh's fourth-place finish tied for the best by a defensive lineman since Nebraska's Rich Glover was third in 1972.

    The 6'4", 300-pound Suh was the first defensive player to win the Associated Press College Player of the Year Award since the inception of the honor in 1998.

    Suh won the Outland Trophy for the nation's top interior lineman.

    Years: 2006-09

46. Anthony Munoz, OT, USC

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    Despite being injured for most of his senior season, Anthony Munoz still remains one of the best offensive linemen to ever play the game.

    At 6'6", 278 pounds, Munoz had a unique skill set for linemen, as he was agile, strong and quick. Thus, he was able to block bruising defensive linemen and also faster defensive ends with the same success rate.

    If you aren't sold on his overall athletic ability, then consider that Munoz was talented enough to pitch for USC's 1978 national championship baseball team.

    He was a two-time All-American who went on to have a Hall of Fame professional career with the Cincinnati Bengals.

    Years: 1976-79

45. Derrick Thomas, LB, Alabama

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    When Derrick Thomas arrived on Alabama's campus in 1985, coach Ray Perkins knew he had something special.

    Thomas was one of the most dominant defenders of his era. He racked up an obscene 27 sacks in 1988, and he finished with 52 for his career.

    Thomas went on to have a great NFL career, but his life was cut short following his death at the age of 33. After surviving a serious car accident for 16 days, Thomas died from a pulmonary embolism.

    Years: 1985-88

44. Bubba Smith, DT, Michigan State

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    Bubba Smith wanted to play for the Texas Longhorns, and coach Darrell Royal would have loved to bring him to Austin. However, in the 1960s, the Southwest Conference was not integrated yet.

    Smith instead headed north to Michigan State to play for Duffy Daugherty, where he won a national championship in 1965 and played in the "Game of the Century" against Notre Dame in 1966.

    Smith was the game's most dominant defensive player during his four years in East Lansing. Smith made only 30 tackles during his senior year, but that was because opponents constantly double- and triple-teamed him or ran away to avoid the 6'7", 275-pounder.

    Michigan State retired his No. 95 in 2006.

    He's also well known for his Miller Lite commercials.

    Years: 1963-66

43. Ronnie Lott, S, USC

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    Ronnie Lott developed a reputation as one of the hardest-hitting safeties in the nation during his days at USC.

    He was part of the 1978 national championship team and also played in the 1979 and 1980 Rose Bowls.

    He was a unanimous All-American in 1980.

    Lott had a Hall of Fame career with the San Francisco 49ers and is still one of the greatest to ever play at USC.

    Years: 1977-80

42. Merlin Olsen, DT, Utah State

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    Merlin Olsen put the Utah State Aggies on the map in the early 1960s, especially his senior season, when they finished 10th in both the AP and UPI polls.

    In his senior year, Olsen anchored a defense that gave up an average of 50.8 rushing yards and 139.4 total yards.

    The Aggies had a combined 18-3-1 record while winning back-to-back conference championships during Olsen's final two seasons at Utah State.

    Years: 1959-61

41. Dave Rimington, C, Nebraska

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    Dave Rimington, a 6'3", 290-pound beast at center, was a four-year letter winner and three-year starter for Tom Osborne.

    He won the Outland Trophy in 1981 and 1982, which are the same years he earned All-America status.

    Rimington also excelled in the classroom at Nebraska. He was a two-time first-team academic All-American, and he was honored by the NCAA as a Top-Five Student-Athlete in 1982.

    The Rimington Trophy is named after him and has honored the best center in the game since 2000.

    Years: 1979-82

40. John Hannah, OG, Alabama

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    Alabama's John Hannah has been called the greatest lineman ever as a guard under Bear Bryant.

    Hannah was a two-time All-American for the Crimson Tide and was named to Alabama's 1970s All-Decade team. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

    His skills were not limited to the gridiron. Hannah also competed on the wrestling and track teams.

    Years: 1970-72

39. Billy Sims, RB, Oklahoma

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    Injuries plagued Billy Sims during his first two seasons at Oklahoma, but Barry Switzer got the star running back he recruited the next two years.

    He won the 1978 Heisman Trophy after rushing for 1,762 yards on 231 carries for a crazy 7.6 yards per carry average for the regular season. He added another 134 yards in the postseason to reach 1,896 yards, a total yardage school record that stood until 2004, when freshman Adrian Peterson had 1,925.

    He led the nation in rushing with 1,896 yards and had 22 touchdowns in 1979, but he finished second in the Heisman voting.

    Sims' pro career was cut short to injuries, but nothing can take away those two amazing seasons in Norman, Okla.

    Years: 1976-79

38. Mike Rozier, RB, Nebraska

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    Mike Rozier's 1983 campaign is still one of the greatest single-season performances in college football history.

    Rozier rushed for 2,148 yards and scored 29 touchdowns, as Nebraska went 11-0 but eventually fell to Miami in the Orange Bowl 31-30, losing the national championship.

    He finished his Nebraska career with 4,780 yards on 668 carries (7.2 yards per rush) and 49 touchdowns.

    In 1983, he won the Heisman, Maxwell and Walter Camp awards.

    Years: 1981-83

37. Tommy Nobis, LB/OG, Texas

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    The 1965 Outland Trophy winner is still considered one of the best linebackers to ever play in college.

    Tommy Nobis was a true iron man, starting on both offense and defense for Darrell Royal.

    He averaged nearly 20 tackles a game and was part of the 1963 national championship team.

    Years: 1963-65

36. Ray Lewis, LB, Miami

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    As good as Tommy Nobis was for Texas, Ray Lewis was better.

    It's different eras, but Lewis redefined how linebackers played the game during his time in Coral Gables.

    Lewis started the final five games of his freshman season and went on to become a two-time All-American as a sophomore and junior.

    He recorded more than 300 tackles over his final two seasons before leaving early for the NFL.

    Years: 1993-95

35. O.J. Simpson, RB, USC

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    A two-time All-American, O.J. Simpson became USC's second Heisman Trophy winner in 1968 after rushing for a then-NCAA record 1,709 yards.

    Simpson tied or eclipsed 19 NCAA, conference and school records.

    In just two seasons with the Trojans, Simpson rushed for 3,423 yards, which ranks him fifth all-time in USC history.

    He went on to have a Hall of Fame NFL career, and later he had some small roles in movies and as a football analyst on TV.

    However, today he is more known for what he did away from the field.

    Years: 1967-68

34. Orlando Pace, OT, Ohio State

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    Orlando Pace impressed the Ohio State coaches so much that he became just the second true freshman to start his first game with the team.

    Pace was so dominant that he didn't allow a sack his final season with the Buckeyes, and the term "pancake block" became synonymous with Pace.

    He won the Outland Trophy in 1996 and finished fourth in the Heisman balloting.

    The 6'7", 325-pounder also lined up on the defensive line in goal-line situations.

    Years: 1994-96

33. Peyton Manning, QB, Tennessee

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    Peyton Manning arrived at Tennessee with huge expectations, and he lived up to most of them.

    He started by winning the SEC Freshman of the Year award and finished his career as the runner-up in the Heisman voting.

    He chose to return for his senior season even though it was clear he'd be the No. 1 overall selection, which he was a year later.

    Manning's record as a starter was 39-5, and he finished with 89 touchdown passes, 11,201 yards and 863 completions.

    Manning was both an All-American and an Academic All-American.

    Years: 1994-97

32. Ed Reed, S, Miami

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    Ed Reed starred at strong safety on one of the nation's best defenses ever as Miami won the 2001 BCS championship.

    He finished that final season with nine interceptions, 18 pass breakups and 44 tackles.

    Reed was a three-year starter who was a unanimous All-American his final season and was named the National Defensive Player of the Year.

    He finished his four years with the Hurricanes with 21 interceptions and 288 tackles.

    Years: 1998-2001

31. Charley Trippi, HB-QB, Georgia

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    Charley Trippi was a two-time All-American, even though his career was interrupted by World War II.

    The 1942 team went 11-1 and won the national championship, and Trippi was named the MVP of the 1943 Rose Bowl when the Bulldogs beat UCLA 9-0.

    ESPN ranked him No. 20 on its all-time list of college football players.

    Years: 1942, '45-46

30. Tom Harmon, HB, Michigan

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    Tom Harmon was known at Michigan as "Old 98" as he streaked across the field for the Wolverines.

    He became Michigan's first Heisman Trophy winner following the 1940 season.

    In three seasons, Harmon rushed for 2,134 yards, scored 33 touchdowns and kicked the same number of extra points. He also kicked two field goals for 237 career points while throwing 16 touchdown passes.

    He is the father of TV star Mark Harmon, who also starred at UCLA in the 1970s.

    Years: 1938-40

29. Marcus Allen, RB, USC

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    Marcus Allen will always be remembered for being college football's first 2,000-yard rusher when he finished 1981 with the outrageous total of 2,427 yards.

    Of course, he won the Heisman Trophy that season after setting 14 NCAA records and tying two others.

    Allen is USC's second-leading rusher all-time with 4,810 yards. He also finished with 46 career touchdowns.

    Years: 1978-81

28. Ernie Nevers, FB, Stanford

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    Ernie Nevers was legendary for playing against Notre Dame in the 1925 Rose Bowl on two broken ankles. The Cardinal lost the game, but Nevers still managed to rush for 114 yards and intercept a pass while earning MVP honors.

    He was an All-American football player, but he also starred at Stanford as a discus thrower on the track squad and played outfield and pitcher on the baseball team.

    He also played both professional football and baseball.

    Years: 1923-25

27. “Mean Joe” Greene, DL, North Texas State

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    Mean Joe Greene, a 6’3”, 270-pound tackle, garnered his nickname in reference to North Texas State's nickname, Mean Green.

    North Texas went 23-5-1 during Greene's years with the team.

    He had an uncanny ability to use his speed to pursue a ball carrier, but also the strength to handle any offensive lineman.

    He went on to star in the NFL and win four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers as part of the Steel Curtain defense.

    Years: 1966-68

26. Reggie Bush, RB, USC

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    Reggie Bush will always be remembered as the player who had his Heisman Trophy rescinded, but it doesn't take away from how good he was on the field.

    Bush made an immediate impact for Pete Carroll as a running, receiving and returning threat for the Trojans.

    He was a two-time All-American and was the player of the year in 2005.

    A crazy stat about Bush is he started only 14 of 39 games he played in as a Trojan.

    Years: 2003-05

25. Deion Sanders, CB, Florida State

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    Deion Sanders is one of the game's most recognizable corners ever.

    He was brash and cocky and even gave himself the nickname Prime Time.

    Sanders was a first-team All-American his sophomore and junior seasons and then fell to third team his final year.

    Prime Time was also one of the nation's most dangerous return men throughout his career.

    He also starred on the baseball and track teams and even played parts of 10 seasons in Major League Baseball.

    Sanders was also prominently featured in one of the worst hype videos ever.

    Years: 1985-88

24. Bronko Nagurski, FB, Minnesota

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    Bronko Nagurski is a legendary figure in college football and at the University of Minnesota.

    He played tackle and end in his first varsity season 1927, but he was moved to fullback in 1928. At 6'2", 230 pounds, Nagurski was huge for the day, and he simply overpowered everyone he encountered on the field.

    He was such a special player that he was named All-American at two positions—tackle and fullback.

    Years: 1927-29

23. Ernie Davis, RB, Syracuse

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    Ernie Davis' career at Syracuse was so inspirational that a movie was made about his life in 2008.

    Davis led the Orange to the 1959 national championship, as he was named the MVP of a 23-14 victory over Texas in the Cotton Bowl.

    He became the first African-American player to win the Heisman Trophy in 1961 and eventually became the first black drafted No. 1 overall by the NFL.

    However, he never played a down for the Cleveland Browns, as he was diagnosed with leukemia and died on May 18, 1963.

    Years: 1959-61

22. Dick Butkus, LB, Illinois

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    Dick Butkus is one of only two players to have his number retired at Illinois (the other is Red Grange, who just may appear later).

    Butkus was a two-time consensus All-American while playing center, fullback and linebacker. As a junior, he had a huge 23-tackle game against Ohio State, and the Illini went on to win the Big Ten championship.

    He also had a big game, including an interception, in Illinois' 17-7 win over Washington in the Rose Bowl that season.

    As a senior, Butkus was once again an All-American and was a surprising third-place finisher in the Heisman voting.

    He went on to star for the Chicago Bears in the NFL and is a College and Pro Football Hall of Famer.

    Years: 1962-64

21. Lee Roy Selmon, DL, Oklahoma

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    Lee Roy Selmon, who recently died, was an imposing figure on Barry Switzer's Oklahoma defense in the mid 1970s. He joined his brothers Lucious and Dewey on the defensive line.

    He finished with 325 tackles and 40 sacks, including a career-high 18 in 1974. He was an All-American in both 1974 and 1975.

    Selmon won the Outland and Lombardi awards in 1975.

    The Sooners won national championships in 1974 and 1975. Selmon was drafted No. 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he had a Hall of Fame career.

    Years: 1972-75

20. Tommie Frazier, QB, Nebraska

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    Tommie Frazier left the fertile recruiting grounds of Florida for Nebraska and made a name for himself with the Cornhuskers.

    The most important statistic anyone really needs to know is his career record: 33-3. You need more?

    Frazier is the last quarterback to win back-to-back national championships in 1994-95. The 1995 team is considered by many to be the best college football team ever.

    From 1993-95, Frazier led Nebraska to three straight undefeated regular seasons.

    He didn't play as much as he would have liked in 1994 because of issues with blood clots. He started the season strong and was considered a serious Heisman candidate.

    Years: 1992-95

19. Hugh Green, LB, Pittsburgh

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    Hugh Green was such a dominant force for Pittsburgh that many considered him a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy in 1980.

    He won many player of the year awards but finished second to South Carolina's George Rogers in the Heisman Trophy voting.

    His blazing speed and fierce play made him the most dominant defensive player of the 1970s.

    His finished his stellar career with 53 sacks, 460 tackles, 24 forced fumbles, four interceptions and two blocked kicks.

    Years: 1977-80

18. Johnny Rodgers, WB, Nebraska

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    The Jet still owns one of the greatest punt returns in college football history against rival Oklahoma in 1971, a game Nebraska won 35-31.

    Playing wingback, Johnny Rodgers had 942 receiving yards, 267 rushing yards, 618 punt return yards and 184 kickoff return yards. He also totaled 16 touchdowns for the Cornhuskers.

    His best game may have been his last—a four-touchdown performance against Notre Dame in the 1973 Orange Bowl.

    Rodgers was shifted to the I-back position, and he scored on runs of eight, four and five yards, while he caught a 50-yard pass for another score. Adding insult to injury, Rodgers threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Frosty Anderson.

    Years: 1970-72

17. Jim Brown, RB, Syracuse

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    It's hard to believe Jim Brown arrived at Syracuse without a scholarship and the only black player on the freshman team.

    But Brown made the No. 44 jersey at Syracuse an honor to wear, and he is considered the greatest all-around athlete in SU history after earning 10 varsity letters in four sports (basketball, football, lacrosse and track).

    There are many who believe Brown should have won the 1956 Heisman Trophy, but instead it went to Paul Hornung from a Notre Dame team without a winning record. Apparently, voters weren't ready to give the award to a non-white player.

    Brown actually finished fifth in the balloting, as many voters also doubted the strength of opponents the Orange played.

    He finished with 2,091 rushing yards and 26 total touchdowns.

    Years: 1954-56

16. Vince Young, QB, Texas

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    Vince Young had one of the single greatest seasons in college football history when he led Texas to an upset of USC in the BCS championship in the 2005 season.

    He led the Longhorns to an 11-0 regular season and the Big 12 championship and entered the championship game as the No. 2-ranked team with a 12-0 mark.

    While Reggie Bush won the Heisman, Young put on a performance in the 2006 Rose Bowl for the ages.

    He amassed 467 total yards and three rushing touchdowns, including a nine-yard scramble on fourth down with 19 seconds to play that lifted Texas to a 41-38 victory.

    At the time, Young promised to return for his senior season, but he later decided to head to the NFL.

    Years: 2003-05

15. Glenn Davis, HB, Army

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    Glenn Davis teamed with Doc Blanchard at Army to form one of the best backfields of that era.

    Davis was called "Mr. Outside" because of his ability to hit the end sweeps and his speedy open-field running.

    After finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1944 and 1946, Davis finally claimed the honor in 1946.

    Davis' exploits on the field had a positive impact on the nation and the troops who were overseas fighting in World War II.

    Years: 1944-46

14. John Elway, QB, Stanford

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    It's not often you'll find a player this high on a list like this that didn't lead his team to a bowl game, but that doesn't define John Elway.

    Yes, he thought he was going to pull it off in his senior season, but then The Play cost him and the Cardinal a winning record.

    Despite the glaring hole in his college résumé, Elway still accumulated some impressive statistics in four seasons. He completed 774 passes for 9,349 yards and 77 touchdowns despite Stanford's 20-23 record with him as a starter.

    He was a consensus All-American and finished second in the Heisman balloting in 1982.

    Elway was also a standout baseball player at Stanford and was drafted by the Yankees six spots ahead of future Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.

    Years: 1979-82

13. Earl Campbell, RB, Texas

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    Earl Campbell is one of college football's best power backs.

    While he had breakaway speed, Campbell also delivered devastating blows on defenders who tried to tackle him.

    He was an All-American in 1975 and 1977, as well as the Heisman Trophy winner his senior season for the Longhorns.

    He was honored by the old Southwest Conference as its best back every season Campbell played, and he finished with 4,444 yards.

    Years: 1974-77

12. Charles Woodson, CB, Michigan

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    Charles Woodson became Michigan's third player to win the Heisman Trophy in 1997, and all he had to do was beat out Tennessee's Peyton Manning.

    Woodson remains the only true defensive player to win the award, but even he was helped by the fact that he returned punts and played some receiver during the Wolverines' 12-0 season, which resulted in a share of the national championship.

    He had a knack for making big plays, and that also helped him gain favor in the Heisman voting his junior year.

    Years: 1995-97

11. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida

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    Where do you start with Tim Tebow?

    He's one of the most loved and hated players to ever play the game, but you can't deny his success as Florida's quarterback.

    He played a role in the Gators' championship season during his freshman season in 2006 and followed that up as the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy.

    While he never picked up the second Heisman, he was always in the running and also led Florida to the 2008 BCS championship.

    Tebow finished with some gaudy statistics, including 88 touchdown passes and 57 touchdown runs. He was only intercepted 15 times in four years.

    Years: 2006-09

10. Bo Jackson, RB, Auburn

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    Bo Jackson became the face of Nike and the "Bo Knows" campaign as a two-sport star with the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Royals.

    But before all of that, Jackson was a stud football and baseball player at Auburn.

    In 1985, Jackson rushed for 1,786 yards and averaged 6.4 yards per rush, which at the time was the best single-season average in SEC history. That showing earned him the Heisman Trophy.

    Auburn retired his No. 34, and he was ranked No. 8 in ESPN's top 25 players.

    Years: 1982-85

9. Roger Staubach, QB, Navy

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    Roger Staubach remains the greatest player in Naval Academy history.

    Staubach won the Heisman Trophy after his junior season in 1964, when the Midshipmen finished 9-1 and No. 2 in the nation.

    He also led Navy to two victories over Army.

    Despite being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, Staubach had a commitment to the Navy to fulfill. Instead of requesting a spot in the U.S., he chose to do a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam.

    He didn't join the Cowboys until 1969 as a 27-year-old rookie. Of course, he went on to have a Hall of Fame career.

    Years: 1962-64

8. Sammy Baugh, QB, TCU

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    Slingin' Sammy was a three-sport star at TCU, and he may have actually considered baseball his best sport.

    He was a two-time All-American and led the Horned Frogs to consecutive bowl victories over LSU (3-2) and Marquette (16-6) in the inaugural Cotton Bowl.

    Baugh threw for 40 touchdowns in his three years, but this was during an era when the forward pass was still a small part of any offense.

    Years: 1934-36

7. Tony Dorsett, RB, Pittsburgh

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    Tony Dorsett is a little guy who ran fast and made a lot of defenders miss him.

    He played at Pitt when the Panthers were relevant on the national scene. He led Pitt to the 1976 national championship while earning the Heisman Trophy.

    He made first-team All-American three times (1973, 1975 and 1976), and he finished his career with 6,082 rushing yards, a record that would stand until Texas' Ricky Williams broke it in 1998.

    Dorsett was eventually the No. 2 overall pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 1977, who he went on to have a Hall of Fame career with.

    Years: 1973-76

6. Jim Thorpe, RB, Carlisle Indian

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    It seems there was nothing Jim Thorpe couldn't do on a football field, a baseball diamond or an Olympic track.

    Thorpe's name is synonymous with athletic prowess, and he did the same at Carlisle Indian.

    He was an All-American in 1911 and 1912.

    He also led Carlisle to an 18-15 upset of Harvard in which he scored every point, and the team finished 11-1.

    In 1912, Carlisle won the national championship mainly because no one could stop Thorpe.

    Years: 1907-12

5. Barry Sanders, RB, Oklahoma State

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    During Barry Sanders' first two seasons at Oklahoma State he was pretty much an unknown as the backup to Thurman Thomas.

    Once he got his chance to be the featured back, Sanders delivered what many consider the greatest single season in college football history.

    Sanders rushed for 2,628 yards while averaging 7.6 yards a carry and cruising to the 1988 Heisman Trophy.

    He also had 42 touchdowns when you include his outstanding performance in the Holiday Bowl that season.

    He left for the NFL after the season.

    Years: 1986-88

4. Archie Griffin, RB, Ohio State

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    As the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, Archie Griffin easily earns top-five honors.

    Griffin earned the starting tailback spot as a freshman under Woody Hayes, and he delivered with some epic performances.

    He rushed for more than 1,400 yards in each of his final three seasons, but his junior year was his finest, when he rushed for 1,695 yards and 12 touchdowns in 1974.

    Griffin remains a living legend in Columbus.

    Years: 1972-75

3. Doak Walker, HB-DB, SMU

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    Doak Walker won the 1948 Heisman Trophy as a junior at SMU after rushing for 537 yards.

    He was also called on to throw a number of passes each year, as well as play defensive back and kick.

    Walker finished with 1,928 rushing yards, 454 receiving yards and 1,654 passing yards.

    Years: 1946-49

2. Red Grange, HB, Illinois

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    Red Grange earned the nicknamed "The Galloping Ghost," and he lived up to it during an outstanding career at Illinois.

    In his first game, he rushed for three touchdowns against Nebraska.

    In 20 games, Grange rushed for 3,362 yards and had an additional 253 rushing yards for a total of 31 touchdowns.

    He also completed 40 of 82 passes for 575 yards while earning All-American honors in three straight years.

    Years: 1923-25

1. Herschel Walker, RB, Georgia

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    Herschel Walker was the best running back to ever play the game, and he exploded on the scene as a freshman at Georgia in 1980, the same year the Bulldogs won a national championship.

    Walker followed up his amazing freshman season with 1,891 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns; however, he finished second in the Heisman voting to USC's Marcus Allen.

    He finally won the coveted prize his junior year, when he rushed for 1,752 yards and 16 touchdowns.

    Walker discovered a way to skip his senior season and turn professional with the new USFL. While he would have given Archie Griffin a run for multiple Heismans, his early departure does not detract from his greatness.

    Years: 1980-82

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