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Greatest Kansas Football Players Bracket: Oliver Spencer vs Darrell Stuckey

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(9) Oliver Spencer vs (24) Darrell Stuckey

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(9) Oliver Spencer

Ollie Spencer played on the offensive line for the Jayhawks from 1950-52.  A native of Ulysses, KS, how Spencer ended up at KU is a story in and of itself.  The short version: Don Fambrough, then a KU assistant, was recruiting Spencer, but Ollie's father didn't think they could spare him off the family farm.  Ollie's father eventually decided that the rest of the family could do the extra work, and he wanted Ollie to have a chance to go to college.  But once Ollie got to Lawrence, he and teammate Galen Fiss were so intimidated by the "big city" that they almost went home their first night.  Both players went to head coach J.V. Sikes house and were reassured into staying.

Part of that reassurance was surely Ollie's motivation - he wanted to succeed and graduate, make his family's sacrifices for him worth it.  He wanted a chance to play professionally, to make enough money to buy the land that his family had been sharecropping for so long.

Spencer took over the left tackle spot from graduating senior Mike McCormack, earning first team All-Big 7 honors in 1951 and 1952, as well as first team All-America honors in 1952.

Spencer would be drafted by the Detroit Lions with the #73 overall pick of the 1953 NFL Draft.  He would start for the Lions in his rookie year as they captured the 1953 NFL Championship.  Spencer would then spend two years away from the gridiron doing military service before returning in 1956.  He would play 8 total seasons in the NFL with the Lions, Packers, and Raiders, and would later spend 17 years as an assistant coach for the Raiders.

He is enshrined in Memorial Stadium along the Ring of Honor.

And yes, he bought that land for his family.

(24) Darrell Stuckey

Stuckey played for the Jayhawks from 2006-09.  By his sophomore year, Darrell was starting at safety for the Jayhawks, helping to lead KU to one of the most memorable seasons in school history, 12-1 and an Orange Bowl victory.  He finished fourth in the team in tackles.

Stuckey's junior year, statistically, was even better, finishing second on the team in tackles and leading the Jayhawks with 5 interceptions, while his senior year saw him finish as a Jim Thorpe award semifinalist.  Stuckey was a first team All-Big 12 nod in both 2008 and 2009.

Darrell's 295 career tackles are second-most for a defensive back in school history, and he is tied for 10th in career interceptions at KU.  Stuckey was taken #110 overall in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, where he has primarily been a special teams player.  Stuckey has been the Chargers' special teams captain from 2012-2015.

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