1. Herschel Walker- RB, Georgia
He burst into the college scene right away with a HUGE freshman season where he set 5 freshman records, including rushing yards and TDs. He holds 11 NCAA records, 16 SEC records, and 41 UGA records. He was a consensus All-American from 1980-82. He rushed for 5,259 yards in his career, a SEC and UGA record as well as a NCAA mark for most yards in three seasons. He won the Heisman in 1982, and even competed for Georgia’s track and field team, where he was a two-time All-American selection (outdoor 400-meter relay, indoor 60-yard dash) as well as a member of the SEC championship team in the 400-meter relay in 1981.
2. Barry Sanders- RB, Oklahoma State
Barry spent his first 2 seasons at Oklahoma State backing up Thurman Thomas, but when Thomas left to go to the NFL Sanders started on what would be a HoF career. In his first season starting at RB, he had the most impressive singe season in college football history, rushing for 2,628 yards and scoring 39 TDs (37 rushing) with an average of 7.8 YPC. He had 5 straight games where he rushed for 200 yards and 4 games in that amazing season where he went over 300 yards. In the final game of his season, he rushed for 222 yards and scored 5 TDs but those stats were not added to his season stats.
3. Archie Griffin- RB, Ohio State
Griffin holds his place among OSU fans as a folk hero. He is the only person in college football history to win 2 Heisman trophies in his career and the only player to lead the Big 10 in rushing for 3 straight seasons. He is also one of 2 players to play in 4 Rose Bowls (Brian Cushing is the other player). In his second game of his freshman season he set the OSU single game rushing record with 239 yards, a record that stood for 27 years. He also holds the record for the most consecutive games with 100+ rushing yards, with 31 games (he had 34 games where he went over 100 yards rushing)
4. Sammy Baugh- QB, TCU
One of the most athletic players in sports history, Sammy Baugh played 3 sports (football, baseball and basketball), but he excelled at football, leading TCU to 2 bowl wins and throwing 39 TDs in his 3 seasons there. He was a 2 time All-American and finished 4th in the Heisman voting in 1936.
5. Dick Butkus- LB/C, Illinois
At the University of Illinois he played center and linebacker from 1962-1962. He was twice voted as a unanimous All-American in ’63 and ’64. He was named the college football player of the year in 1964. In 1963, he finished 6th in the Heisman voting and 3rd the following year, a huge achievement given his position, as Heisman voters are notorious for their strong bias against defensive players. He is also one of 2 players to have their number retired by the University of Illinois (Red Grange is the other player).
6. Dave Rimington- C, Nebraska
Dave Rimington set the standard in which all Centers coming out of college are measured by. He won the Outland trophy (nation’s best lineman) in ’81 and ’82, the Lombardi Award, and the UPI award in 1982. In 1982, he placed 5th on Heisman ballot, and his #50 jersey was retired, becoming one of the 16 players in Husker football history to receive that honor. He and Orlando Pace are the only three-time winners in the Outland/Lombardi category. In 1997, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
7. Jim Thorpe- RB/DB/K/P, Carlisle
Thorpe gained nationwide attention for the first time in 1911 as a running back, defensive back, placekicker, and punter for his school’s football team in when Thorpe scored all of his team’s points: four field goals and a touchdown, in an 18–15 upset of Harvard. His team finished that season 11–1. The following year, Thorpe led Carlisle to the national collegiate championship, scoring 25 touchdowns and 198 points. Carlisle’s 1912 season included a 27 6 victory over Army. In that game, Thorpe scored a 92-yard touchdown that was nullified by a penalty incurred by a teammate; however, Thorpe then scored a 97-yard touchdown on the next play. Thorpe was awarded All-American honors in both 1911 and 1912.
8. Desmond Howard- PR/WR, Michigan
During his college career at the University of Michigan, Howard set or tied five NCAA and 12 Michigan records. He also led the Big Ten Conference in scoring with 138 points during the 1991 season, onwards his way to winning the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, and earning first-team All-American honors. Howard captured 85% of the first place votes in balloting for the Heisman, the largest margin in the history of the trophy at that time. And who could forget the most famous pose of all time? The striking of the Heisman pose during the 1991 game against Ohio State!
9. Mike Ditka- TE, Pittsburgh
Ditka played for the University of Pittsburgh from 1958-1960. He started all 3 seasons and is widely considered one of the best tight ends in college football history. In addition to playing tight end, he also served as the team’s punter. He led the team in receiving in all three of his seasons with them, and was a first team selection on the College Football All-America Team in his senior year. In 1986, he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
10. Eric Dickerson- RB, SMU
Initially, he shared carries with Craig James and Charles Waggoner, all three blue-chip recruits in 1979. Waggoner got hurt returning a kickoff their freshmen season, so Dickerson and James led SMU’s “Pony Express system”, a system that neither Dickerson nor James liked at first. However, Dickerson started to like the system and his stats reflected the success he had with it as he gained 4,450 yards on 790 carries to break Earl Campbell’s Southwest Conference record for yards and attempts. His 48 career touchdowns tied Doak Walker’s SMU total for career scoring. In his senior year, despite splitting time with James, Dickerson finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting. He was also a First-team All-American in 1982 and a Second-team All-American in 1981.
What do you think? Did we miss anyone? Is someone on the list that shouldn’t be? Let us know with a comment below.
Written by MiamiXCanes and BigHungry702, edited by 2ToN
wheres ed reed??????????
seriously! reed and woodson! defensive players get no love! last i heard "defense wins championships"
at least this bum didnt put tebow or vince young in the top 10 like the rest of the lists ive seen
Very cool article. Thats tough breaking it down to 10 players but you guys did a great job.
wheres tim tebow
I dont think Desmond Howard should not be in there. Tim Tebow deserves it more than him, I’m from Ann Arbor and I still dont think that Desmond should be in there. He was great, but not top 10. Tebow’s credentials dont lie.
Desmond Howard might have been a stretch to go on this list, but i am not sold on tebow replacing him
Charles Woodson for Desmond Howard and I’m fine with the list
Howard set or tied five NCAA and 12 Michigan records. ho wmany records did tebow break? not 5 of them and not 12 school records
Where the hell is Bo Jackson, Jim Brown, or hell Ernie Davis?
Ernie Davis belongs on this list in my opinion. At least somewhere.
archie at third i dont know but i am bias .but bravo guys spot on