Gale Sayers. Ray Evans. Todd Reesing. Kerry Meier. Otto Schnellbacher.
Don't forget Cromwell, Riggins, Jaynes, McClinton, Mrkonic, Henley, Cornish. Even guys like David Lawrence, Clint Bowen.
Believe it or not, Kansas has a very proud football tradition - NFL Hall of Famers, first team All-Americans, top 10 draft picks, and more. There are 14 names etched in the Ring of Honor in KU's Memorial Stadium. Unfortunately for us, most of that tradition comes pre-1980.
So as a hopefully fun summer exercise, RCT is putting on a bracket-style tournament to determine the best football player of all-time at the University of Kansas. Sure, maybe Todd Reesing wins this thing in a landslide. But then again, maybe not.
Not to take away from our "Know Your KU History" series, this tournament will introduce some of the greats of yesteryear to our younger audience and attempt to put what they accomplished into perspective. Yeah, it's gonna be difficult to compare David Jaynes to Todd Reesing should they go up against each other, but you'll get a compelling case for each. After all, Jaynes is the only Heisman finalist in KU history.
We'll actually be doing four separate brackets, and then playing the winners off in a final four. The brackets are: QB, RB, WR, and D/ST/OL. So not only will we eventually name the top KU footballer of all-time, along the way we will also name the top KU player at QB, RB, WR, and Other. The D/ST/OL bracket is double the size of the other three for what I hope are obvious reasons.
The list of nominees is below. Not everyone will make the tournament. Automatic qualifiers include the 14 men on the Ring of Honor and anyone who was named First Team All-American. The rest are "at-large" bids. AA denotes All-American, RH denotes Ring of Honor. Players are sorted by year.
First, QBs and RBs:
|Dick Gilman||1948||Wade Stinson||1950|
|John Hadl - RH, AA||1959-61||Bud Laughlin||1951|
|Bobby Douglass - RH, AA||1966-68||Curtis McClinton - RH, AA||1959-61|
|David Jaynes - RH, AA||1971-73||Gale Sayers - RH, AA||1962-64|
|Nolan Cromwell - RH||1975-76||John Riggins - RH||1968-70|
|Frank Seurer||1980-83||Laverne Smith||1973-76|
|Mike Orth||1983-87||Norris Banks||1975-77|
|Mike Norseth||1984-85||Kerwin Bell||1980-83|
|Kelly Donohoe||1986-89||Tony Sands||1988-91|
|Chip Hilleary||1989-92||L.T. Levine||1992-95|
|Asheiki Preston||1992-94||June Henley||1993-96|
|Mark Williams||1994-95||Eric Vann||1994-97|
|Dylen Smith||1999-00||David Winbush||1997-00|
|Bill Whittemore||2002-03||Clark Green||2002-05|
|Adam Barmann||2003-06||Jon Cornish||2002-06|
|Todd Reesing||2006-09||Brandon McAnderson||2004-07|
|Jordan Webb||2010-11||Jake Sharp||2006-09|
Now, WRs and D/ST/OL:
|Emmett Edwards||1972-74||Ray Evans - RH, AA||ATH/QB/DB||1941-42, 1946-47|
|Bruce Adams||1972-74||Otto Schnellbacher - RH, AA||WR/DB||1942-43, 46-48|
|David Verser||1977-80||Bryan Sperry||DB||1946-48|
|Bob Johnson||1981-83||Mike McCormack - RH||OL||1948-50|
|Richard Estell||1983-85||George Mrkonic - RH, AA||OL/DL/P||1950-52|
|Willie Vaughn||1985-88||Oliver Spencer - RH, AA||OL||1950-52|
|Quintin Smith||1986-89||Hal Cleavinger||DB||1950-52|
|Ashaundai Smith||1992-95||Galen Fiss||LB||1950-52|
|Isaac Byrd||1995-96||Gil Reich||DB/QB/HB||1952|
|Termaine Fulton||1997-01||Fred Hageman||C, MLB||1956-60|
|Harrison Hill||1997-01||John Zook - RH, AA||DE||1965-69|
|Brandon Rideau||2001-04||Emery Hicks||LB||1967-69|
|Mark Simmons||2002-05||Larry Brown||TE, OT||1967-71|
|Marcus Henry||2004-07||Kurt Knoff||DB||1973-76|
|Derek Fine||2004-07||Mike Butler||DE||1973-77|
|Dexton Fields||2005-08||Leroy Irvin||CB||1976-80|
|Kerry Meier||2006-09||Kyle McNorton||LB||1978-81|
|Dezmon Briscoe||2007-09||David Lawrence||OL/TE||1978-81|
|Johnathan Wiilson||2007-10||Bucky Scribner||P||1979-83|
|Daymond Patterson||2008-12||Bruce Kallmeyer - AA||K||1980-83|
|Jimmay Mundine||2011-14||Willie Pless - RH||LB||1983-85|
|Clint Bowen||DB||1990, 1992-93|
|Anthony Collins - AA||OL||2004-07|
|Aqib Talib - AA||CB/WR||2005-07|
|Chris Harris Jr||CB||2007-10|
Seeding is underway at this very moment. Most consideration will be given to college production and First Team All-Conference nods. NFL draft position and NFL production will be noted but will not be given much weight in seeding.
Who should be top seeds? Is anybody missing that should have been nominated? Now is your chance to speak up.
Let the debate begin!