Texas and Washington have both fielded football teams since the 1890s, so paring each school's list of players down to the best at each position is a daunting task. Is the player with the best numbers automatically the best at his respective position? Are his accomplishments diminished or highlighted by the record of the teams he played on? Good questions, but we don't have the definitive answers. Many positions proved too hard to call, so our breakdown will include more than one player and leave it up to the users to decide which is worthy of being called the best.
The number of quality quarterbacks to come through Seattle makes this a tough choice. Based on numbers alone, Marques Tuiasosopo wins the debate. He holds the school records for career rushing yards (1,346) and attempts (346) by a quarterback, and ranks in the top five in career passing yards, attempts and completions. Tuiasosopo is also the only player in NCAA history to rush for over 200 yards and pass for over 300 yards in the same game. But don't forget the accomplishments of career yardage leader Brock Huard, attempts leader Sonny Sixkiller and other greats like Mark Brunell, Chris Chandler, Cary Conklin, Don Heinrich, Damon Huard, Steve Pelluer and Warren Moon. But if winning games is what quarterbacking is all about, then consider the fact that Washington never lost a game (27-0) that Billy Joe Hobert played in from 1990-92 (including four as a punter) and won a national championship with Hobert at the helm in 1991.
Texas has a less storied quarterback tradition, thanks in large part to the run-oriented offenses the Longhorns ran for so many years, but UT has seen its share of great QBs. Basing the qualifications solely on numbers will give a clear winner in Austin, too. Major Applewhite holds the Texas records for single-game (408), single-season (3,357) and career (8,353) passing yards, as well as at least a share of 37 other school records. But, again, winning games comes into play. James Street won all 20 games he started from 1967-69 and won a national championship in 1969, but never completed more than 69 passes in a single season. So that leaves Bobby Layne, the College Football and NFL Hall-of-Famer who won more games (28) than any other Texas QB, was the Outstanding Back of the 1948 Sugar Bowl, scored all of Texas' 40 points in the 1946 Cotton Bowl, played both ways, also played baseball and went on to an All-Pro NFL career. Too close to call.
Corey Dillon played only one season for Washington and Greg Lewis and Napoleon Kaufman had outstanding supporting casts around them and Greg Lewis, but Hugh McElhenny was truly a star who carried his team. McElhenny was the first Huskies running back to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season (1,107 in 1951), scored 233 points in his career, the most in school history by a non-kicker, and averaged a school-record 151.2 all-purpose yards during his career. Furthermore, McElhenny holds the single-game rushing record (296 yards), returned a punt 100 yards for a touchdown against USC in 1951 and is the only Husky player in history with a punt return, kickoff return and run from scrimmage that exceed 90 yards.
When talking about Texas running backs there are only two names: Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams. Both won the Heisman Trophy. Both were two-time All-America selections. Both were three-time first-team all-conference selections. Campbell led the nation in rushing and scoring in 1977, Williams set Texas records in those categories in 1998. Campbell led the NFL in rushing in each of his first four seasons, while Williams has over 4,000 total yards in his first two-plus pro seasons. Campbell is a member of the College Football and NFL Halls of Fame, but Williams holds the NCAA career all-purpose yardage record (7,206) and is second in the all-time rushing list (6,279 yards). Hard to separate one from the other.
|Ricky Williams won a Heisman at Texas and now stars for the Saints.|
This position is really a two-horse race at Washington, with Mario Bailey and Jerome Pathon running neck-and-neck. Pathon had the best single season in school history in 1997, setting records for receptions (69), yards (1,245) and yards per game (113.2). Bailey holds the single-season TD record with 17 and the career record with 26, and his 2,093 career receiving yards are also a record. But for his career, Pathon has only 60 fewer yards and six fewer receptions than Bailey despite playing one fewer season. And then there's Paul Skanski, the Huskies' all-time leader in receptions (138), and Dane Looker, the career and single-season leader in receptions per game. But we'll take Pathon.
The best wideouts to come through Texas may have been through recently. Kwame Cavil caught 100 passes in 1999, 42 more than the next-best season in school history. His 174 career receptions are just three shy of the record held by Mike Adams, but took just three seasons ('97-99) to amass compared to four ('92-96) for Adams. Cavil also set the single-season yardage record in '99 with 1,188. Adams does hold the career yardage record, though, and his 3,032 yards are nearly 800 more than Cavil. Many Texas fans will also recall Hub Bechtol, a three-time All-America end from 1944-46 and the first Longhorn ever to earn consensus All-America honors. Bechtol was Bobby Layne's favorite target, catching nine passes for 138 yards in the Cotton Bowl his senior year, and he also earned two basketball letters while at Texas. And don't forget current Texas sophomore Roy Williams, who is making a serious bid to join this group.
A look at the roster of former Washington tight ends shows a number of players who had or are still having successful pro careers: Eric Bjornson, Mark Breuner, Cam Cleeland, Ernie Conwell and Aaron Pierce. But it is Breuner who stands out among the group. His 90 career receptions are 15 better than the next Husky tight end and his 1,016 yards rank third, but Breuner was also a tremendous blocker who helped the Huskies average over 180 yards rushing in each of his four seasons. The current Pittsburgh Steeler gets the nod as the complete package.
Tight end is one of the few positions where a Texas player has a clear advantage. Pat Fitzgerald is Texas' all-time leader in receptions (80), receiving yards (1,106) and TD receptions (12) by a tight end and was a first-team AP All-America selection in 1996. He has two of the top three single-season reception and yardage totals by a tight end, and shares the single-game record with three TD catches.
Bern Brostek preceded him and Benji Olson, Olin Kreutz and Chad Ward followed him, but no Washington offensive lineman has dominated like Lincoln Kennedy. A unanimous All-America selection in 1992, Kennedy was a two-time first-team All Pac-10 player and twice won the Morris Trophy as the top offensive lineman in the Pac-10. He allowed just two sacks in his four-year career, helped Washington average 387.6 yards of total offense in 1992, including over 190 rushing yards per game, and was the ninth overall selection in the 1993 NFL Draft.
|Lincoln Kennedy was one of the UW's best ever and now is a standout for the Raiders.|
How do you pick the best offensive lineman in the history of a school that has run the ball with effectiveness over several decades? Can it be done? You could choose Dan Neil, Tom Sisemore or Bob Weunsch, two-time All-America picks who led lines that produced some of the best offensive seasons in school history. Or you could pick Mike Babb, Blake Brockermeyer or last season's No. 2 overall draft pick, the 370-pound Leonard Davis. Hard to go wrong.
Steve Emtman was simply the most dominant and most decorated defensive lineman in Washington history. He anchored a defense that allowed just 67.1 rushing yards and 9.2 points per game in the Huskies' national championship season in 1991, winning both the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy and finishing fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting before becoming the first overall pick in the 1992 NFL Draft. Jason Chorak had more sacks while coming off the end and Dave Pear and Charles Jackson had more total tackles, but none were the focal point of opposing offenses like Emtman.
At Texas, defensive line is a position that has produced many outstanding players. Casey Hampton was a two-time All-America who led the team in total tackles in both 1999 and 2000 and is second all-time in tackles for loss (54), while Steve McMichael also earned All-America honors two seasons in a row and recorded over 360 career tackles and 28.5 career sacks. Tony Brackens was a consensus All-America pick in 1995 and a two-time consensus All Southwest Conference selection. Ken Sims earned back-to-back consensus All-America honors in 1980-81 and won the Lombardi Award in 1981. All were terrific players,
When Dave Hoffman earned back-to-back All-America honors in the 1991 and 1992 seasons, he became the first Washington linebacker since Rick Redman in 1963-64 to accomplish that feat. Hoffman also led the Huskies in tackles in each of his final three seasons, becoming the first to turn that trick since Dave Rill from 1985-87. Rill was no slouch himself, setting the career record for tackles by a linebacker with 532. There is also a case to be made for Michael Jackson, who holds the overall career record with 569 total tackles, has three of the top four single-game tackle totals in Washington history and once recorded 20 solo tackles in a game.
In a group that includes players like Britt Hager, Bruce Scholtz and Winfred Tubbs, Tommy Nobis tops the list. Nobis played linebacker and guard from 1963-65, was a two-time All-America selection and a three-time All-Southwest Conference pick, and won the Outland Trophy and Maxwell Awards in his senior year. He was the only sophomore starter on the Longhorns' 1963 national championship team, averaged almost 20 tackles per game at Texas and was often the primary blocker on touchdown runs. Nobis was a first-round draft pick by the Atlanta Falcons after his senior year and went on to a 10-year career that saw him named to the NFL's All-1960s team.
Two Washington defensive backs made strong cases for themselves by displaying different skills. Al Worley still holds the NCAA single-season record with an average of 1.4 interceptions per game in 1968, when he led the nation with 14 picks. His 18 career INTs are the Huskies' career record, and he had two separate three-game interception streaks in 1968. Milloy, on the other hand, made his name as a tackler. He led Washington in tackles in both 1994 (106) and 1995 (115), becoming the first defensive back in school history to lead the team in tackles in consecutive seasons. Milloy was an All-America selection in 1995, a two-time All-Pac-10 honoree and the 36th overall pick in the 1996 NFL Draft.
Quentin Jammer, who broke up a single-season record 24 passes this season, is the latest in a long line of brilliant defensive backs at Texas. Noble Doss holds the school record with 17 career interceptions and shares the single-season mark of seven INTs with Jerry Gray, who is second on career INTs with 16. Bryant Westbrook was an All-America selection in 1996, but does not hold any significant records because his terrific coverage skills scared off most quarterbacks. Johnny Johnson rounds out the group as a two-time consensus All-America pick (1978-79) who was a first-round pick of the Rams in 1980 and played 10 years in the NFL.
Jeff Jaeger was not only the most prolific field goal kicker in Washington history, but he also holds the NCAA record with 80 career field goals and is Washington's career scoring leader with 358 points. Steve Bramwell holds the school record with 1,143 kickoff return yards, while Beno Bryant holds the single-season (560) and career (1,019) records for punt return yards.
Mike Adams is the Longhorns' all-time leader in kickoff return yards (1,591), while Eric Metcalf leads in punt return yards (1,076) and also holds most of the Texas receiving records for running backs. Russel Erxleben was the longest kicker in UT history, kicking an NCAA-record 67-yard field goal in 1977 and hitting a record three 60-yarders in his career. He also holds the NCAA record for average field goal distance at 42.4 yards.
Rico Longoria is a researcher for ESPN.com.