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Auburn’s appreciative history in academy football has produced some of the best athletes the action has anytime seen. There are the three Heisman Bays winners who are consistently affiliated to abounding of the program’s best moments and again there are the legends who paved the way for success on added title-worthy squads.
So, one can brainstorm how boxy it is to try to abbreviate all that history of alone abundance into aloof a top-10 account of players.
Last summer, I acquaint my account of the top 10 players in Auburn Tigers football history. But afterwards digging added into the almanac books, account the immediate accounts of the school’s accomplished greats and growing into an beforehand and wiser academy football analyst, I begin myself analytic several of my selections. (OK, maybe that aftermost allotment is a bit of a stretch.)
Still, there aren’t any appropriate or amiss answers for the top 10 football players in Auburn history already you get accomplished the top three—and alike the adjustment of that leash can be up for debate.
With that actuality said, here’s an adapted admission of the 10 best players to anytime clothing up for the Tigers, which was based on individual awards, All-American honors, academy annal captivated and cardinal of aggregation titles. As always, amuse feel chargeless to account your own top 10 in the comments below.
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Cutting Auburn’s history of abundant players bottomward to aloof 10 men was abundantly tough, so here’s a account of 15 added players who were advised for this year’s countdown. They deserve atonement acknowledgment and so abundant added for their outstanding careers on the Plains.
RB James Brooks
LB Aundray Bruce
QB Jason Campbell
QB Dameyune Craig
RB Joe Cribbs
C Reese Dismukes
OL Walter Gilbert
OL Ed King
QB Nick Marshall
RB Tre Mason
OT Marcus McNeill
DE Jimmy Phillips
OT Ken Rice
LB Takeo Spikes
QB Stan White
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Nick Fairley alone played two seasons at Auburn afterwards demography the JUCO route, but the abrupt recruit larboard the Plains as one of the best ascendant defenders in academy history and a key allotment to a civic championship team.
After a able admission division in 2009, Fairley was the brilliant of Auburn’s 2010 aegis by relentlessly activity afterwards quarterbacks and battlefront up the absolute aggregation with his playmaking. While best of the nation focused on Cam Newton’s exploits, Fairley racked up 24 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks and 21 quarterback hurries.
His game-changing means on aegis acceptable him accord All-American ceremoniousness and the SEC Arresting Amateur of the Year award. He became the additional amateur in Auburn history to win the Lombardi Award—the added actuality his arresting band drillmaster at the time, Tracy Rocker—and he recorded three huge tackles for accident in the BCS Civic Championship Bold win over Oregon.
Fairley was the 13th all-embracing aces of the 2011 abstract and spent his aboriginal four seasons in the alliance with the Detroit Lions. Afterwards a quick stop in St. Louis aftermost division with the Rams, Fairley active a one-year accord with the New Orleans Saints beforehand this year.
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Auburn has produced several ascendant arresting linemen over its continued history, but the aboriginal of its above stars up advanced was conceivably its best.
Zeke Smith went from a baby aerial academy active aback to alien advancement centermost at Auburn to a backstab All-SEC adenoids guard, starring in advanced of the Tigers’ ascendant aegis from 1957-1959. Afterwards allowance the Tigers win a civic championship as a sopre, Smith was a accord All-American in 1958 and Auburn’s aboriginal Outland Bays champ as the sport’s best autogenous lineman.
“He was the agitator of a Tiger aegis that captivated Tennessee to minus-33 yards breach and no aboriginal downs. Smith was alleged All-SEC afterwards that year,” Smith’s bio on AuburnTigers.com reads. “Bobby Dodd, again Georgia arch coach, alleged Smith and Kentucky lineman Lou Michaels ‘the greatest lineman in the SEC in the accomplished 10 years.'”
The backstab All-American afterwards played both breach and aegis for the Baltimore Colts, New York Giants and the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos. Although injuries kept him from acceptable an all-around abundant in the able ranks, he was still one of the best linemen in Auburn history.
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When addition is bigger than the allegorical Bo Jackson in an best career hasty almanac at Auburn, that addition deserves a aerial atom on a account like this. That someone, in this case, is Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, who has the best hasty touchdowns in Tigers history with 45 in four seasons.
Williams bankrupt out as a apprentice and became the starting tailback by the end of the season, but injuries kept him from finishing the campaign. He additionally absent a ample allocation of his green attack with a leg injury, which makes his atom aloft the best touchdown archive alike added impressive.
Cadillac started 2003 administration first-team hasty duties with Ronnie Brown, and both of their careers took off as active backs. Williams set a single-season touchdown almanac at Auburn that would afterwards be burst by Tre Mason in 2013, with one of his best memorable array that year advancing on the aboriginal comedy of the Iron Bowl adjoin Alabama.
Williams was again alleged fifth all-embracing in the 2005 NFL abstract afterwards Auburn’s best 2004 run to the SEC title, and he won an abhorrent Rookie of the Year accolade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played seven seasons in the NFL and came aback to Auburn to accomplishment his folklore amount in 2014.
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Back in the canicule aback two-way players were the barometer in academy football, Tucker Frederickson was exceptional. His adeptness to appulse the d on both breach and aegis is unparalleled in Auburn history, and he racked up absolutely a few accomplishments alternating the way.
According to Phillip Marshall of 247Sports, who watched Frederickson play, the able Tiger was the best active back and the best assurance in the SEC for the 1964 season. He took home accord All-American ceremoniousness that division and was alleged the SEC Abhorrent Amateur of the Year, which was arresting because Auburn had a subpar 6-4 division that year.
Frederickson won the SEC’s Jacobs Blocking Accolade alert in his career, and he led the alliance in interceptions in his chief season. Marshall declared him as a “freak athlete before anyone had heard the term,” as he was bigger, faster and stronger than about anybody abroad on the field.
Legendary Auburn arch drillmaster Shug Jordan is said to accept alleged Frederickson “the best complete football player” he had anytime seen. He was the No. 1 all-embracing aces for the New York Giants in the 1965 NFL draft, and he played seven seasons afore a knee abrasion affected his retirement.
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One of Auburn’s above accolade winners who accept been accustomed with a behemothic banderole on the alfresco of Jordan-Hare Stadium, Carlos Rogers was the arch amateur on the 2004 Tigers aggregation that controversially absent out on arena for the BCS Civic Championship.
Rogers was a lockdown bend who started all but bristles amateur in his four years at Auburn. He fabricated a huge burst his apprentice division with a dozen canyon deflections. Over the aing two years, alone abrasion could accumulate him out of the starting calendar as he best off passes and fabricated abiding tackles for one of the nation’s stingiest defenses.
The Georgia built-in absitively to acknowledgment to academy for his chief year, and he fabricated the best of his aftermost lap about the Plains. Rogers won the Thorpe Award, which is accustomed to the nation’s top arresting back, and was a finalist for several civic arresting amateur of the year honors.
After Auburn’s 13-0 campaign, Rogers headed to the NFL, area he was a top-10 aces by Washington. He afterwards played in the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl as a affiliate of the San Francisco 49ers, and he retired in 2014 afterwards 10 seasons in the league.
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Terry Beasley is the best receiver in Auburn football by a ample margin. He had added than 2,500 yards in three seasons, which is acme in Tigers history. He additionally had 29 touchdowns in that time span, which is 11 added than the No. 2 Tiger in that category, Ben Obomanu.
Beasley was the go-to ambition for Heisman-winning quarterback Pat Sullivan, who appears a little afterwards in this countdown. The assured advanced receiver helped accomplish Sullivan an Auburn legend, and the affairs accustomed that by backward his No. 88 with the No. 7 of Sullivan and the No. 34 of Bo Jackson.
“A backstab all-conference selection, Beasley was the arch scorer and receiver in the SEC and angry the NCAA almanac for yards per t with 20.2 in 1970,” reads his AuburnTigers.com bio afterwards he was inducted into the Academy Football Hall of Fame in 2002. “He accomplished his career ranked third nationally in accepting touchdowns with 29 and eighth in accepting yards with 2,507.”
The 1971 accord All-American became a first-round aces by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1972 NFL draft. Tragically, though, a continued history of assorted concussions concluded his career afterwards four seasons and led to several above bloom issues in contempo years.
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Tracy Rocker racked up the awards and ceremoniousness during his time at Auburn aloof like he did with tackles and sacks on the arresting line. There were a lot of them, and they never seemed to stop.
In his four years at Auburn, Rocker was a three-time All-SEC selection, a backstab first-team All-American (including a accepted nod in his chief season), an SEC Amateur of the Year, a backstab SEC champion, a Lombardi Accolade champ and an Outland Bays winner. Few arresting players, if any, in the history of the SEC can bout that affectionate of resume.
Rocker ranks fourth best in Auburn history for career sacks and seventh in absolute tackles—quite absorbing numbers, because he played a arresting accouterment position that usually doesn’t get as abounding stat-padding affairs as arresting ends and linebackers. He is additionally a affiliate of the Academy Football Hall of Fame.
The Auburn abundant had a brief NFL career afore acceptable a coach, which has taken him from Auburn Aerial Academy in the aboriginal 1990s to the Tennessee Titans of the NFL beforehand this decade. Rocker is currently an accessory arch drillmaster and arresting band drillmaster at battling Georgia.
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Auburn’s aboriginal Heisman Bays winner, Pat Sullivan racked up affluence of yards and touchdowns able-bodied afore avant-garde offenses such as Gus Malzahn’s invaded the Plains. Sullivan’s 71 absolute touchdowns in aloof three seasons are best in Auburn history, and that cardinal is 13 added than second-place holder Dameyune Craig.
Sullivan won the 1971 Heisman Bays afterwards arch the nation in yards per comedy and absolute breach in 1970. He wasn’t activity to be shafted the additional time around, though, as he tacked on a career-high 21 casual touchdowns for the Tigers. That year, Auburn won nine beeline amateur and accomplished the division ranked No. 5 in the country beneath arch drillmaster Shug Jordan.
“There is no way adolescent Auburn admirers could acknowledge what Pat Sullivan meant to Auburn in the backward ’60s and aboriginal ’70s. He brought about a activation of Auburn football,” above Auburn AD David Housel told Charles Goldberg of AuburnTigers.com. “I anticipate Pat Sullivan did for Auburn what Bo Jackson did for Auburn — he gave Auburn hope.”
The approaching TCU and Samford arch drillmaster is captivated in the accomplished attention about Auburn, as his No. 7 was retired anon afterwards his bookish arena career was over. He has a bays alfresco Jordan-Hare Stadium and aing to the afterward two players on this countdown. He was Auburn’s aboriginal accurate brilliant quarterback and has several abhorrent academy annal that accept stood the analysis of time.
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After activity aback and alternating amid Auburn’s two Heisman-winning quarterbacks, the accommodation actuality is to put No. 2 at No. 2 on this countdown. Cam Newton had conceivably the best division in academy football history in his one and alone attack at Auburn. If he would’ve played for the Tigers for at atomic one added year, the final numbers would’ve been staggering.
Cam Newton ranks sixth best in Auburn history in career absolute touchdowns, eighth in career casual touchdowns and ninth in career absolute offense. Again, he did that in aloof one season. And what a division it was. Newton led an Auburn aggregation that started the 2010 division alfresco of the Top 20 and accomplished it with a civic championship—its aboriginal in 53 years.
Entire books could be accounting on what Newton was able to do in 2010 with the Tigers. In Gus Malzahn’s offense, he led four altered comebacks from double-digit deficits. He fabricated all-powerful plays assume routine, including his touchdown dart accomplished approaching All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson adjoin LSU and his acrobatic touchdown t adjoin Ole Miss.
Newton afterwards became the No. 1 all-embracing aces by the Carolina Panthers, the 2011 NFL Rookie of the Year, a three-time Pro Bowler and, best recently, the NFL Best Valuable Amateur who led his aggregation to the Super Bowl. His address both on and off the acreage as able-bodied as his aerial athleticism accomplish him the second-best football amateur in Auburn history, alike admitting he alone gave the Tigers a baby sample size.
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Bo Jackson isn’t aloof the best Auburn football amateur of all time. He isn’t aloof the best Auburn amateur of all time, either. Jackson is arguably the best amateur of all time. Period.
But alike aback one condenses Jackson’s achievements aloof to what he did on the football acreage for the Tigers, it’s bright he’s the best. He rushed for 4,303 yards in his career, which is about 500 added than the second-best active aback on Auburn’s best list. Four of the 10 best single-game hasty performances in Tigers history accord to Jackson.
He was a accord All-American in 1983 and a accepted All-American in 1985, aback he won the Heisman Bays on an 8-4 team. That’s how absurd Jackson’s aptitude and adroitness for creating appropriate moments were, including “Bo Over the Top” to beating off Alabama as a apprentice in 1982 and “Bye Bye Bo” in 1983’s Iron Bowl victory.
Jackson went on to become an Pro Bowler in the NFL and an All-Star in MLB—the alone amateur anytime to do that—before adversity a freak, career-ending hip abrasion as a affiliate of the Los Angeles Raiders. He is alike with Auburn football and some of the greatest moments in affairs history. There’s aught agitation here.
Stats and annal address of the 2015 Auburn football media guide.
Justin Ferguson is a Civic Academy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report. You can chase him on Twitter @JFergusonBR.
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