The Greatest Players from College Football’s Greatest Programs

Hurricanes 560x354Every dedicated sports fanatic out there does three things regularly. They love their teams unconditionally, regardless of how poorly the front office decisions were during the past season, or seasons. They recruit friends and strangers to join them as a member of their favorite team’s fan club while sharing their passion about the game. Finally, they love to talk about sports, all of the time.

When those sports fanatics get together, discussions and debates, sometimes heated, arise over which player is best, what team had the best season, who was the best coach of all time, and about ten thousand other easily debatable subjects and questions about sports.

As sports fanatics ourselves, we decided to jump in while the water was hot and give you all something else to debate with our pick for the single greatest college football player, of all time, from each of the nation’s 25 most prestigious football schools.

The choice of which 25 schools we decided to go with was based on a variety of qualifications including how many national and conference titles they have won, as well as overall winning percentage, road dominance, etc… Enjoy.

25) Stanford: John Elway, QB

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  • Years: 1979-1982
  • Games: 42
  • Record: 19-22-1
  • Passing: 774 of 1,246, 62.1%, 9,349 Yards, 77 Touchdowns, 39 Interceptions
  • Rushing: 259 Carries, 5 Touchdowns
  • Awards
    • 1982: Pac-10 Player of the Year, All-American, College Football Hall of Fame

24) Wisconsin: Ron Dayne, RB

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  • Years: 1996-1999
  • Games: 47
  • Rushing: 1,220 Car, 7,125 Yds, 71 TD
  • Receiving: 31 Rec, 304 Yds
  • Awards
    • 1999: Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, Chic Harley Award, Doak Walker Award, Jim Brown Award, Big Ten POY, AP POY, SN POY, Consensus All-American
    • Career: NCAA Record for Most Rushing Yards, Wisconsin Badgers No.33 Retired, College Football Hall of Fame

23) Oregon: Marcus Mariota, QB

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  • Years: 2012-2014
  • Games: 41
  • Record: 36-5
  • Passing: 779 of 1,167, 66.8%, 10,796 Yds, 105 TD, 14 INT
  • Rushing: 337 Car, 2,237 Yds, 29 TD
  • Awards
    • 2014: Heisman Trophy, Manning Award, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, Davey O’Brien Award, AP College Football POY, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, and the ESPY for Best Male College Athlete

22) Georgia Tech: Calvin Johnson, WR

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  • Years: 2004-2006
  • Games: 38
  • Receiving: 178 Rec, 2,927 Yds, 28 TD
  • Awards
    • 2004: 1st Team Freshman All-American, ACC Rookie of the Year
    • 2006: ACC Player of the Year, Biletnikoff Award, Paul Warfield Trophy
    • Career: 2x 1st Team All-American (2005, 2006), 3x 1st Team All-ACC (2004, 2005, 2006)

21) Texas A&M: Dat Nguyen, LB

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  • Years: 1995-1998
  • Games: 48
  • Defense: 517 Tackles, 6 INT
  • Awards
    • 1998: All-American, Chuck Bednarik Award, Jack Lambert Award, Lombardi Award, 1st Team All-Big 12, Big-12 Defensive POY
    • Career: Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame, Big 12 10th Anniversary Team, Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame, AP All-Time Big 12 Team, Texas Sports Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame

20) Washington: Warren Moon, QB

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  • Years: 1975-1977
  • Games: 30
  • Record: 19-15
  • Passing: 242 of 496, 48.8%, 3,277 Yds, 19 TD, 17 INT, 110.1 Rating
  • Rushing: 239 Car, 429 Yds, 9 TD
  • Awards
    • 1977: Pac-8 Player of the Year

19) UCLA: Gary Beban, QB

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  • Years:
  • Games: 31
  • Record: 24-5-2
  • Passing: 243 of 465, 4,087 Yds, 23 TD, 23 INT
  • Rushing: 462 Car, 1,271 Yds, 35 TD
  • Awards
    • 1967: All-American, Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, SN Player of the Year, Chic Harley Award, Pop Warner Trophy, College Football Hall of Fame

18) Georgia: Herschel Walker, RB

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  • Years: 1980-1982
  • Games: 33
  • Rushing: 994 Car, 5,259 Yds, 49 TD
  • Receiving: 26 Rec, 243 Yds, 3 TD
  • Awards
    • 1982: Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, Sporting News POY, UPI Player of the Year
    • Career: 3x SEC Player of the Year, 3x All-American, 3x 1st Team All-SEC, Georgia No.34 Retired, College Football Hall of Fame

17) Auburn: Bo Jackson, RB

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  • Years: 1982-1985
  • Games: 45
  • Rushing: 650 Car, 4,303 Yds, 43 TD
  • Receiving: 26 Rec, 272 Yds, 2 TD
  • Awards
    • 1985: Heisman Trophy, Walter Camp Award, Sporting News Player of the Year, UPI Player of the Year
    • Career: 2x Consensus All-American (1983, 1985), 3x 1st Team All-SEC (1982, 1983, 1985), Auburn No.34 Retired, College Football Hall of Fame

16) Michigan State: Bubba Smith, DE

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  • Years: 1965-1966
  • Games: 21
  • Awards
    • Career: 2x All-American, Michigan State No.95 Retired, College Football Hall of Fame

15) Clemson: Vic Beasley, DL

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  • Years: 2011-2014
  • Games: 48
  • Defense: 89 Tackles, 48 Tackles for Loss, 33 Sacks, 7 Forced Fumbles
  • Awards
    • 2014: ACC Defensive Player of the Year
    • Career: 2x Consensus All-American (2013, 2014), 2x 1st Team All-ACC (2013, 2014)

14) Florida: Tim Tebow, QB

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  • Years: 2006-2009
  • Games: 55
  • Record: 48-7
  • Passing: 661 of 995, 66.4%, 9,285 Yds, 88 TD, 16 INT
  • Rushing: 692 Car, 2,947 Yds, 57 TD
  • Awards
    • Career: SEC All-Freshman Team (2006), 3x All-American (2007-2009), 3x 1st Team All-SEC (2007-2009), 2x SEC POY, 2x SEC Conference Champion, 2x BCS National Champion
    • 2007: Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, AP Player of the Year, SN Player of the Year
    • 2008: Manning Award, Maxwell Award

13) Tennessee: Peyton Manning, QB

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  • Years: 1994-1997
  • Games: 45
  • Record: 40-8
  • Passing: 863 of 1,381, 62.5%, 11,201 Yds, 89 TD, 33 INT
  • Rushing: 153 Car, 12 TD
  • Awards
    • 1997: Davey O’Brien Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Maxwell Award, James E. Sullivan Award, SEC Championship Game MVP, Citrus Bowl MVP, SEC Player of the Year
    • Career: SEC Freshman of the Year, 3x All-SEC Team, 2x All-American (1996, 1997), 1998 ESPY Award Winner for Best College Football Player, College Football Hall of Fame

12) Miami (FL): Sean Taylor, S

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  • Years: 2001-2003
  • Games: 35
  • Defense: 190 Tackles, 14 Interceptions
  • Awards
    • 2003: Big East Defensive Player of the Year, Unanimous All-American
    • Career: 2001 BCS National Champion

11) LSU: Tommy Casanova, DB

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  • Years: 1969-1971
  • Games: 25
  • Defense: 7 Interceptions, 3 Forced Fumbles
  • Awards
    • Career: 3x 1st Team All-American (1969-1971), 3x 1st Team All-SEC (1969-1971), LSU No.37 Retired, College Football Hall of Fame

10) Penn State: Jack Ham, LB

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  • Years: 1967-1970
  • Games: 43
  • Defense: 251 Tackles
  • Awards
    • Career: College Football Hall of Fame

9) Texas: Earl Campbell, HB

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  • Years: 1974-1977
  • Games: 40
  • Rushing: 765 Car, 4,443 Yds, 40 TD
  • Receiving: 6 Rec, 128 Yds, TD
  • Awards
    • Career: College Football Hall of Fame, Texas Longhorns No.20 retired
    • 1977: Heisman Trophy, Davey O’Brien Memorial Trophy, All-American

8) Florida State: Deion Sanders, WR/KR

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  • Years: 1985-1988
  • Games: 44
  • Punt/Kick Returning: 1,455 Return Yds, 3 TD
  • Defense: 14 Interceptions
  • Awards
    •  Career: College Football Hall of Fame

7) Michigan: Charles Woodson, DB/WR

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  • Years: 1995-1997
  • Games: 34
  • Rushing: 9 Car, 167 Yds, 2 TD
  • Receiving: 21 Rec, 370 Yds, 3 TD
  • Defense: 16 Interecptions
  • Awards
    • 1997: Heisman Trophy, National Champion, Walter Camp Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Jim Thorpe Award, Sporting News Player of the Year, Big Ten POY, All-American

6) Notre Dame: Johnny Lujack, QB

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  • Years: 1943-1947
  • Games: 28
  • Record: 26-1-1
  • Passing: 144 of 280, 51.4%, 2,080 Yds, 19 TD, 24 INT
  • Rushing: 81 Car, 438 Yds
  • Awards
    • Career: College Football Hall of Fame, 3x National Champion (1943, 1946, 1947)
    • 1947: Heisman Trophy, SN Player of the Year, AP Athlete of the Year, All-American

5) Nebraska: Tommie Frazier, QB

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  • Years: 1992-1995
  • Games: 35
  • Record: 32-3
  • Passing: 232 of 469, 49.5%, 3,521 Yds, 43 TD, 11 INT
  • Rushing: 342 Car, 1,955 Yds, 36 TD
  • Awards
    • Career: College Football Hall of Fame, Orange Bowl MVP (1994), Fiesta Bowl MVP (1996)
    • 1995: Orange Bowl MVP, Big 8 Offensive POY, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Quarterback of the Year, Consensus All-American

4) USC: Ronnie Lott, DB

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  • Years: 1978-1981
  • Games: 36
  • Defense: 14 Career Interceptions
  • Awards
    • Career: College Football Hall of Fame, Consensus All-American (1980), National Champion (1978)

3) Alabama: Derrick Thomas, LB

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  • Years: 1985-1988
  • Games: 34
  • Defense: 204 Tackles, 74 Tackles for Loss, 52 Sacks, 10 Forced Fumbles
  • Awards
    • Career: College Football Hall of Fame, Consensus All-American (1988), Dick Butkus Award (1988)

2) Ohio State: Archie Griffin, HB

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  • Years: 1972-1975
  • Games: 46
  • Rushing: 924 Car, 5,589 Yds, 26 TD
  • Receiving: 30 Rec, 350 Yds, TD
  • Awards
    • Career: College Football Hall of Fame, 2x Heisman Trophy (1974, 1975), 2x Walter Camp Award (1974, 1975), 2x SN Player of the Year (1974, 1975), 2x UPI Player of the Year (1974, 1975), 2x Big Ten MVP (1973, 1974), 3x 1st Team All-American (1973, 1974, 1975), 3x 1st Team All-Big Ten (1973, 1974, 1975)

1) Oklahoma: Lee Roy Selmon, DL

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  • Years: 1972-1975
  • Games: 40
  • Defense: 325 Tackles, 8 Tackles for Loss, 40 Sacks
  • Awards
    • Career: College Football Hall of Fame, Consensus All-American (1975), John Outland Trophy (1975), Vince Lombardi Award (1975)