Saturday, December 08, 2007

Saturday 12/08 (Very) Quickie: Tebow!

So: Who is your personally favorite college football player ever?

Tim Tebow's college career might not be halfway over, but I think Tebow is my favorite college player of all time. Between that and my excitement over Tebow poised to break through the Heisman's "Class Ceiling"*, I'm really excited about the award ceremony tonight.

But this isn't about the Heisman: It's about that first idea -- who is your personal favorite college player of all time?

Source material: For some, it's a player from their formative age of fandom (my wife's favorite college player of all time is Emmitt Smith); for others, it's a player who happened to star while they were in college (or just graduated); for others, it's an annual September-December fling with the nova stars that define college football -- spectacular Saturdays today, gone tomorrow... either to the NFL, or more likely, obscurity.

It will probably not surprise you to know that I have representation in all three categories. But there's something about Tebow -- the combination of skills, charisma, humility... obviously, the fact that he plays for my favorite team.

As other Gators fans will attest, Tebow presented a near-instant idolization from fans. Among Florida fans, I don't think it's crazy to say that he is already the most popular player in school history -- more than Emmitt Smith or Danny Weurffel or anyone else.

But the real question is back to you: Do you have a favorite college football player of all time? It could be a player from your youth, from your college years... hell, like me, he could have emerged THIS year.

Call it your personal lifetime Heisman: The "I-sman." Who wins?

* - Thanks for the name-check hat-tip on that "Class Ceiling" phrase on NPR's "All Things Considered" yesterday, Stefan Fatsis; you made my mother's week.

Very quickly through today's top headlines:

Bonds pleads not guilty: Could he have put this behind him with fans by New Year's Day if he had pleaded guilty? Particularly since...

The Mitchell Report comes out next week. Apparently Thursday. If MLB is lucky, it will be a Friday, muting its impact. Going to be fascinating.

Georgia Tech hires Navy's Paul Johnson: Who else thinks Johnson short-sold himself, and if he waited another week, he'd be coaching Michigan?

NBA: Celtics off to best home start in 23 years. I always love any Celtics mark from this year's team that bests the 1986 team.

CBB: OK, so apparently, Lute Olson needs to take the entire season off because he's going through a divorce? Still seems a little sketchy.

NFL: Reggie Bush has bad knee injury. Will keep him out of Monday's game, and possibly out for the rest of 07. Dud end to dud year for him.

Meanwhile, there's this new book coming out about Bush's improprieties at USC that will push the ball forward to strip him of his Heisman. Would be wild to let Heisman voters decide his fate, although it's easier for the Heisman Trust board to strip it from him.

Let's hope they do the right thing and award the Heisman to that year's runner-up, Vince Young, rather than vacate the award for that year. I don't think any fan will complain. In fact, I think most fans would approve.)

-- D.S.

44 comments:

lowlife said...

Okay this is coming from an Ohio State fan - so Craig Krenzel would have to be my favorite player. I was just getting into OSU football (more than just a casual fan) that year and we unexpectedly win the title and it's mainly due to Mr. Krenzel's smart decisions and playmaking. Plus he graduated with a degree in molecular genetics. Dude was smart. And the guy was from enemy territory - so it's nice that for a change, Ohio State got a defect from TSUN. I think he will go down in Buckeye lore as one of the more clutch players for OSU.

Tim H. said...

DS - Did you see any of the Richmond-App. State game last night (semifinal of FCS)? How Heisman-esque was the performance of Armanti Edwards: 14/16 passing (182 yds.), 313 yds. rushing!!!

What a fun game to watch.

Pete said...

My favorite college player ever is also the same man mentioned at the end of today's post: Vince Young.

He should have won the Heisman, and he practically won the national championship on his own (as well as every other game that year, and the Rose Bowl the year before). The phrase "Vince Young just wins football games" started at Texas.

Benji Lovitt said...

As a Texas alum, any guesses? Not Ricky. Not Vince. Nope...Major Applewhite. This guy was like the Joe Montana of college football. We were never out of a game, rallying back from double-digit deficits in bowl game, beating Nebraska in Lincoln, coming up just short in a comeback against Colorado in the Big 12 championship game (after golden boy Chris Simms stole his job and threw all his success away.) Although he was small in the size department, there was no greater leader at the time. No doubt he would have been a Heisman finalist if not for Mack Brown's tremendous brainlock, taking his job away from him.

Sparty said...

I have to say Plaxico Burress is my all-time favorite college football player.

He helped us to our last top 10 finish in the polls. Something we had not done in 12 years previous to that.

He was a man among boys his final year at State. My most vivid memory of him was against Michigan. The Wolverines were trying to turn David Terrell into a two-way stud, ala Charles Woodson but Terrell being a primarily offensive player. Well they made the mistake of lining him up on Plax and on a run play (you may have seen the highlights of this play before, they always show it when we play U of M), and Burress just absolutely levels him to him to the turf on just a regular stalk block. If you watch Plax now, he is excellent downfield blocker, but this was ridiculous. He just blasted the Woodson wannabe to the floor. Beautiful! Oh, and we won!

Mark said...

I'm mildly shocked that Darnell Autry didn't isn't your favorite college player...

My favorite of all time is Ki-Jana Carter from Penn State, particularly the year they went undefeated and lost out on the national title to Nebraska.

Matt T said...

Favorite college football player of all time:

For now, its DJ Shockley, the guy gave it all at Georgia, he could have transferred but wanted to stay because he loved the school and the year he got to be the starter he won the SEC championship.

I have a feeling that Knowshon Moreno is well on his way to becoming my favorite.

And when Tebow gets his award, it will pave the way for Moreno to win it next year (hopefully).

Lawdog1214 said...

Vacate the award. Vince was the 2nd best player that year.

James said...

as a kid, desmond howard. as a (more) grown up, josh heupel.

BobbyStompy said...

Craig Krenzel? I think I just threw up.

Antwaan Randel El, QB, Indiana -- and this is coming from a Michigan fan. He truly was like watching a video game.

Runner-Ups: Woodson, DJ Shockley, Braylon Edwards, Mike Hart, Steve Breaston, Dennis Dixon

Scott said...

Despite the fact that I was 7 when he won the Heisman, and maybe watched 4 of his games, for me it's Charlie Ward. For some reason, I was a "diehard" FSU fan back in those days, and he was the only player whose name I knew. Since I now claim allegiance to no college football team, I believe the title will stay with Ward for the foreseeable future.

The heroin sheik said...

My all time favorite college player was without a doubt James Bates who played the gatorback/lb for the gators on their first natl title team. Not only was he in one of the funniest football movies ever the waterboy but he also showed up to a press conference on halloween wearing a jack-o-lantern. Oh and he was a madman on the field.

Close second would be monty grow who put the hardest hit i have ever seen on someone in the sugar bowl against west virginia.

Andy Roberts said...

Brady Quinn is easily my favorite college player of all time. I've followed football for probably 15 of my 21 years of life and never have I felt more comfortable or confident with a QB than I did when Quinn was leading my Irish.

Favorite Quinn Moments: In 2005, when Stanford went ahead of ND 31-30 and a BCS bid was on the line, my mom (also a huge ND fan) was stewing hugely about how we were going to lose. I turned to her and said, "Mom, Quinn's going to take us down the field, score a TD, and win this game." And that's exactly what happened.

In 2006, a similar situation unfolded against UCLA, when I told a group of my friends that "this movie always ends with a Quinn TD pass" when he took the field with a minute to go and the Irish down 3. And that's exactly what happened.

We miss you, BQ.

Steve said...

Following as a Michigan alum, my favorite player of all time is still Charles Woodson. Played both sides in college AND ran back kicks. Will never forget that pick against State either. Even named my dog Woodson in tribute.

Travis said...

It's stupid, money didnt make Bush a better player, regardless of what boneheaded choice he made, he was still the best player in college football that year.

High Desert Liz said...

So your favorite player of all time is someone who's only played 1 full season?

Good to see you stay consistent at least.

Favorite Player of all time: Reggie Bush.

Simply stated : unstoppable.

Mike said...

Larry Fitzegerald was definitely my favorite. His last year, which should have been a Heisman season - Fill 'er up with 89 octane, Jason White - was simply amazing to watch. I have never seen a receiver dominate the attention of an entire defense the way Fitz did. Any time Pitt's offense got into the red zone, the entire stadium knew the fade was coming. The defense knew the fade was coming. The fade came, touchdown. Simply awesome.

FoxMulder said...

My favorite college player of all time would have to be Ron Dayne. Totally unstoppable at Wisconsin.

mirthywvu said...

easy question, easy answer...I spent my youth in West Virginia, loving the Mountaineers...and was around 10 years when Major Harris set the world on fire. He was before his time and took WVU to an undefeated regular season. I still have a ticket stub from 1987 with his picture on it.

if I had a 2nd favorite it would be as a WVU student in the late 90's...then that would be a tie between Amos Zereoue and Marc Bulger.

Mark said...

Darian Hagan for this CU Buff fan. 3 straight Big 8 titles, 1 (half) national championship. The pitch to Flannigan in the 1989 Nebraska game is one of the best option plays ever.

DanShanoff.com said...

These are really -- I'm serious: REALLY -- great answers, everyone. I hope that visitors to the blog during "weekday" hours will contribute their own favorite CFB players. It's a really cool list we've generated, with an amazing variety of all-time legends, regional heroes, childhood memories, current favorites and more. These are my favorite kind of posts, because they generate my favorite kind of comments. Well done, everyone.

Natsfan74 said...

My favorite college FB player of all time is Keith Byars. He's another guy who should have won a Heisman, but got screwed because of his class. He was the MAN at OSU when I was a kid.

He also had a good, but not remarkable NFL career. He almost made me want to switch from QB to RB when I was a kid....

bird said...

My favorite college football player of all time is a Gator (sort of!). When I was in junior high (what middle school used to be called!), I had a chance to see the annual junior varsity game between the University of Miami and the University of Florida which was always played in the soon-to-be-demolished Orange Bowl in Miami. Back in the day, kiddies, freshmen were not allowed to play on the varsity squads, so they had junior varsity games for the future sophomores to participate in! The quarterback for the Gator JV team was one Steve Spurrier, and that night, I became a Gator fan and a Spurrier fan. Even though he's now coaching at South Carolina, he does show up in Gainesville every so often for various awards, so I suppose he's still a Gator! My runner-up is Carlos Alvarez, the Gator wide receiver from 1969 to 1971. I was attending UF during that time, and Alvarez ran some of the prettiest wide receiver patterns ever seen!

Who we are... said...

Seneca Wallace and Michael Vick. It's not PC to say Vick anymore, but I was just getting into college football, and I remember seeing, I believe, VT-Temple in Vick's freshman year and just being dumbfounded at his ability. Same goes for Wallace--I found him more dynamic than Vick because he was a passing threat as well. He was the most dominant player I've ever seen (I'm young, so I didn't get to see Barry Sanders, etc.) on a week to week basis.

Oh, and I have no connection to either school.

Natty Bumpo said...

gator for life, and danny wuerffel fan for life.
danny was my role model growing up, much as he was tim tebow's role model. danny thrived under coach spurrier's pressure, led his team to its first ever national title, and represented the big JC in all he said and did.
tebow may be the new-and-improved, next-generation, "robocop" wuerffel...but danny came first and should always be first in the hearts of florida fans.

Richard K. said...

Favorite college football player? Well since I'm a Georgia Tech alum, you'd think Calvin Johnson would be the easy choice.

Hold on a sec. There's a few other candidates: George Godsey, Tashard Choice, PJ Daniels, Kelly Campbell, Kerry Watson...

Who the hell am I kidding?

Calvin Johnson!!!

Emma Brand said...

A well-deserved award for Tebow...I think he will end up being the epitome of "great college football player" but I don't think his skills are gonna transfer to the NFL

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

My favorite college football player is Ahman Green. It is because of a personal connection. We were in the same class at Nebraska and he was in our group of friends our freshmen year. He is a very humble guy but I always whupped his ass in College Football on Sega.

GatorGabe said...

I have to go with Fred Taylor. He was amazing at UF and probably would have won a heisman trophy if it weren't for splitting carries with Elijah Williams and Terry Jackson. Runner ups are Shane Matthews and Errict Rhett who were the first players I idolized when I started following sports.(1989, I was 7)

A.P. Boynton said...

Jim freaking Brown.

All American in football, lacrosse, and track. Greatest syracuse athlete ever.

BD said...

Ron Dayne. I saw about 1/2 of his college games live. I saw his record breaking game in Pasadena. For some odd reason, I told my parents no when they offered to fly me home for his record breaking game against Iowa. I still regret that decision.

Benny said...

i have to give special recognition to peyton manning. he is a God here in Tennessee and if it wasn't for the ESPN hype-machine, he would have easily won the Heisman. with that said my favorite all-time college football player is joe washington of Oklahoma. he was such a stud.

Ben said...

Tim Dwight - the original IGWWR from Iowa. (h/t to BlackHeartGoldPants for that acronym)

Dude was the fastest little white man Iowa has ever seen, and to top it off, he had such a killer mindset.

kenjab said...

Interesting, we make a big deal that the Heisman always goes to offensive players, and yet almost everyone's favorite player is an offensive player. I'll go with two defensive players as my favorites:

EJ Henderson (I went to MD)
Lavar Arrington

tonytouch said...

Edge from the U! My favorite college player. And Tebow is off to a great start and the Heisman is well deserved but I think it's still a bit premature to start putting him up on all-time lists. He has some work to do yet before that is a reasonable statement.

You discredit a lot of amazing college football careers when you do that.

T-Mill said...

My favorite college player is by far Drew Brees. He took my boilers to Pasadena while I was a student at Purdue, so it will be very hard for anyone to top that. Only if Purdue ever wins a national title, and I am not delusional enough to think that will happen.

verbal97 said...

The 5 best I've seen live...

Donovan McNabb - SU
Mike Vick - VT
William Green - BC
Larry Fitzgerald - Pitt
Matt Ryan - BC

honorable mention - Jeremy Shockey - Miami, Matthias Kiwanuka - BC, Ken Dorsey (I guess)...

My favorite from whom I've seen are McNabb and Ryan, all-time favorites include Marvin Graves (SU), Doug Flutie (BC), Tim Biakabutuka (Mich) and my all-time favorite player is...

Barry Sanders (Okla St)

Fan Equity said...

My favorite college football player of all-time is Auburn's Jason Campbell. I always admired his attitude and talent, but he really put it all together his senior season (despite many believing he would be the team's weak link) and lead Auburn to 13-0and an SEC Championship. Runners-up would be Dameyune Craig, Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown, Stephen Davis and, from my boyhood days watching South Carolina football with my dad, Todd Ellis and Sterling Sharpe.

Real Men Eat Haggis said...

As another tOSU homer, it has to be a Buckeye. The tough part is which one - so many great players, so many choices. Some well-known, some obscure but great anyway...

Archie, Chris Spielman, Randy Gradishar, O-Pace, Rex Kern (QB of the team that beat the OJ-led Trojans), C Carter, Byars, Troy Smith, even Krenzel...

But #1 by a nose is Eddie George - a man among boys in college, a man among men in the NFL

Jen said...

Eddie George is my favorite college player. The Titans were my second favorite NFL team while he was there.

Second: Joe Montana My brothers and I were kids when he was at ND.

slaskaris said...

My favorite player would have to be Tee Martin. Although he is constantly overshadowed by his predecessor Peyton Manning, Tee was the QB who led Tennessee to the undefeated season and National Championship. It was my freshman year of college at UT and Tee was such a dynamic player who could scramble like McNabb yet loved to throw the long ball like Manning.

Stephen said...

Donavan McNabb. There is no second place. He was out of this world, running past everyone, and rifling TD throws across his body while running the other way. If not for losing to eventual Nat'l Champ Tennesse in their first game of the season, the Orangemen would have won the championship.

And I'm not even a Cuse fan!

chipp said...

Steve Emtman - DT, UW: Won the Outland and Lombardi and finished 4th in the Heisman his Junior year (left for NFL).
Lincoln Kennedy - LT, UW: Started every game beginning as a true freshman. In four seasons, never gave up a sack. One of the best college OL ever.

Jakob said...

My homer choice would be Al Wilson from Tennessee. He was amazing to watch and was the undisputed leader of the great defenses UT had in the mid 90's.

My favorite Non-Vol would be Matt Jones from Arkansas. Before he became a mediocre wideout in the NFL, he was an amazing QB to watch. When he was on it was really fun to watch.