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The Best KU Football Players of All-Time: The Ultimate Bracket

It's the offseason, and what better way to kill the dog days of summer than a bracket!

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

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
James Sims 2010-13

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
Milt Garner DB 1984-87
Curtis Moore LB 1987-90
Dana Stubblefield DL 1989-92
Gilbert Brown DT 1989-92
Clint Bowen DB 1990, 1992-93
Dan Eichloff P/K 1990-93
Chris Maumalanga DL 1990-94
Kwamie Lassiter DB 1992-94
Dorian Brew DB 1992-96
Ron Warner LB 1996-97
Algie Atkinson DL/LB 1998-01
Carl Nesmith DB 1999-00
Nick Reid LB 2002-05
Charles Gordon DB 2003-05
Anthony Collins - AA OL 2004-07
Scott Webb K 2004-07
Kyle Tucker P 2004-07
Aqib Talib - AA CB/WR 2005-07
Darrell Stuckey DB 2006-09
Jake Laptad DL 2007-10
Chris Harris Jr CB 2007-10
Ben Heeney LB 2011-14
Trevor Pardula P 2013-14

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!