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Greatest Kansas Football Players of All-Time Bracket: McCormack vs Schnellbacher

(3) Mike McCormack vs (2) Otto Schnellbacher

Carolina Panthers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

Mike McCormack finds himself in the Sweet 16 after eliminating Fred Hageman and a close matchup with John Zook. He is opposed by Otto Schnellbacher, who knocked out Ron Warner and snuck past Aqib Talib to get to this point.

(3) Mike McCormack

In a sentence, McCormack leveraged an amazing college career into an 8-year professional playing career, a long coaching career, and eventually a GM job in the NFL.

Mike played offensive line for the Jayhawks from 1948-50. While at Kansas, McCormack became first team All-Conference in his senior season. He would be taken #34 overall in the 1951 NFL Draft.

He is widely regarded as one of the best offensive linemen ever to play in the NFL. After his playing career, he spent 17 years as a head coach in the NFL with various franschises: the Eagles, Colts, and Seahawks, as well as several stints as an assistant.

McCormack was instrumental in founding the Carolina Panthers, and served as their GM from their founding in 1993 until 1997.

Mike is in the Ring of Honor at KU's Memorial Stadium, has a statue at Carolina's stadium, and was called by legendary Browns owner Paul Brown "... the finest offensive tackle who ever played pro football." He was the second Jayhawk to be enshrined in Pro Football's Hall of Fame, an honor he achieved in 1984. He is one of three Jayhawks in Canton (Sayers, Riggins).

(2) Otto Schnellbacher

“The Double Threat from Sublette” was another one of those amazing all around athletes. He played both offense (WR) and defense (CB), plus, he was first team All-Conference four times in basketball for the Jayhawks.

He laced it up on the gridiron for KU from 1942-43 and 1946-48. He was named first team All-Conference in 1943, 1946, and 1947.

He was a co-captain on the 1947 Orange Bowl squad, the same year he (alongside Ray Evans) became KU’s first ever first team All-Americans in football. In the “three yards and a cloud of dust” era, Otto was credited with 58 receptions and 1069 yards in his KU career, school records that stood for 22 years.

Otto was drafted 231st overall by the Chicago Cardinals (you read that right) in the 1947 NFL Draft. His professional career wouldn’t start until 1948 with the New York Yanks. He was an interception machine in his NFL career, averaging nearly an interception per game. At the same time, Otto played professional basketball in the NBA.

Schnellbacher’s name - all 13 letters of it - is inscribed in the Ring of Honor in KU’s Memorial Stadium.


Who was the greater Jayhawk? Log your vote in the comments. Check out the other matchups here.