Hailing from Warren, Ore., Green played three seasons for the Sun Devils. He rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of those campaigns and finished with 40 total touchdowns. Green claimed consensus All-American honors in both 1972 and '73, finishing eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting in his final year. Green was drafted in the first round of the 1974 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Compton, Calif., native was one of only three players in school history to earn consensus All-American honors in two separate seasons. He left school third all-time in solo tackles (192) and is the school’s all-time leader with 18 career interceptions. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the second round of the 1983 NFL Draft. Richardson won a Super Bowl with the Bears and also played for the 49ers during his seven-year NFL career.
One of two elite tight ends (Todd Heap) in school history, Miller is the most decorated Sun Devil at this position . He was a consensus All-American and John Mackey Award finalist in 2006. The dangerous 6-foot-5, 255-pound weapon finished with 144 receptions, 1,512 yards and 14 touchdowns before being drafted in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders.
Known for his big hits, “Fo-Rock” was one of the three two-time consensus All-Americans to play at Arizona State. He earned AA honors as a sophomore and junior in 1984 and '85. He was drafted in the third round by the Bengals and earned three trips to the Pro Bowl.
A walk-on from in-state power Chandler High School, Archuleta played in every game of his redshirt freshman season and started for three full seasons. He earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors as both a junior and senior and capped his outstanding career with the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year award in 2000. Archuleta totaled 127 stops and 93 solo stops (second-best all-time in ASU history) that year. He finished sixth all-time in school history with 53.0 tackles for loss. He was drafted in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Rams and played in the Super Bowl as a rookie.
Hailing from Boise, Idaho, Jake “The Snake” made a quick name for himself in the college ranks at Arizona State by starting nine games as a freshman. He then threw for three straight 2,000-yard seasons en route to a magical senior season in 1996. He led the Sun Devils to an unbeaten regular season and the Pac-10 Championship with 2,575 yards and 23 TDs. Plummer was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, was a consensus All-American and finished third in the Heisman voting. His ability to make something of nothing and lead his team to improbable victories will go down in ASU history. Plummer was taken with the 42nd overall pick in the second round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the home-state Arizona Cardinals.
Since Athlon Sports' inception in 1967, only two Sun Devils uniforms have been retired and White's is one of them. The Mesa, Ariz., prep star went 33-4 as a starter at Arizona State, winning three Fiesta Bowls in the process. He set numerous NCAA and school passing records during his time in Tempe and was named an All-American in 1973 when he threw for 2,609 yards and 23 TDs — which led to a ninth-place finish in the Heisman voting. White went to the Memphis Southmen before leading the Dallas Cowboys to victory in Super Bowl XII. He also was an excellent punter during his time on campus. White was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
The massive blocker has the distinguished honor of being the only NFL Hall of Famer born in the state of Arizona. McDaniel helped lead the Sun Devils to the school’s first-ever Rose Bowl in 1987 as the Pac-10’s Morris Trophy winner. He was eventually inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. One of the game’s greatest blockers, McDaniel went to 12 Pro Bowls while playing for the Vikings and Bucs during his 14-year NFL career. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
In just three years, this talented pass-rusher from famed Chandler (Ariz.) High rewrote the record books in Tempe. Suggs owns the school record for career sacks (44), forced fumbles (14) and tackles for loss (65.5). He also set an NCAA record with 24.0 sacks in 2002, earning the star defensive end the Morris, Nagurski and Bill Willis Trophies as well as the Hendricks and Lombardi Awards. The unanimous All-American finished his career with 163 tackles and was drafted with the 10th overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. He helped lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl-winning season in 2012.
Tillman may not be the most talented or productive player in the history of Arizona State football, but there is little doubt that he isn’t the greatest player to ever wear the Sun Devils uniform. The undersized tackler from San Jose (Calif.) Leland worked his way into the starting lineup and helped lead the Sun Devils to an unbeaten conference crown as a junior. The following year, Tillman earned Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year honors and collected his second Academic All-American honor. After being drafted in the seventh round of the 1998 NFL Draft, Tillman earned a multimillion dollar extension following the 2001 season. Yet, Tillman, motivated by the attack on the World Trade Center, turned down the money to enlist in the U.S. Army. He would lose his life fighting for his country at age 27 in Afghanistan. His jersey is one of only two to be retired by Arizona State since the 1950s. The the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award was renamed the Pat Tillman Award in 2004 and he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
The defensive end from Salem (Ore.) Sprague had three elite seasons in Corvallis. He capped his Oregon State career off in 2004 when he became the first Beavers player to be named conference (then Pac-10) Offensive or Defensive Player of the Year, dating back to the award’s inception in 1975. He also claimed the Morris Trophy, given to the league’s top defensive lineman as voted on by the Pac-10’s offensive linemen. Swancutt is Oregon State’s all-time sack master by a wide margin with 37.0 career QB sacks, including three consecutive seasons with 11.5 sacks. He also leads OSU with 59.5 tackles for a loss. He was selected by the Detroit Lions in the sixth round of the 2005 NFL Draft.
The Woodland (Calif.) High product had one of the best three-year careers in Corvallis. As a star center, Didion led the Beavers to three AP Top 20 finishes in all three years and was a leading member of the famed “Giant Killers.” He was a two-time All-American, garnering unanimous first-team honors in 1968. The seventh-round pick played linebacker in the NFL for six seasons in Washington and New Orleans. He is on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame voting in 2013.
Hailing from Richmond (Texas) Lamar, Rodgers was one of the most dynamic and productive players in school history. He owns the OSU school record for career all-purpose yards with 6,377 — his 2,578 receiving yards are fifth all-time. He added 1,410 yards rushing and 2,385 return yards and scored 30 total touchdowns. His 222 career receptions were first all-time in school history when he departed (since broken) and his 91 catches in 2009 is still tied for the single-season school record. Rodgers is considered by many to be one of the most influential Beavers of all-time both on and off the field.
If there is a tackle record in the Oregon State books then Brown’s name is there leading the way. He owns the single-game record with 22 tackles (tied) against Stanford in 1972. He owns the single-season record with 186 stops in 1972. And he is the school’s all-time leading tackler with 415 stops — in just three seasons. He never played in the NFL.
The star tailback from Pittsburg (Calif.) High made his mark immediately at Oregon State. He rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons, culminating in the Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame during the historic 11-1 2000 campaign. His 1,559 yards that year were tops in school history at the time and his 1,486-yard sophomore season was No. 2. He is still the school’s career leading rusher with 5,044 yards and his 366 points (59 TDs) are still No. 1 all-time for a non-kicker (Alexis Serna). Simonton deserves credit for not only leading Oregon State to a share of the conference title in 2000, but beginning the elite running back tradition in Corvallis.
The younger brother of OSU great James Rodgers (No. 8 on this list), “Quizz” exploded onto the scene as a 5-foot-6 freshman. He rushed for 1,253 yards as a freshman, 1,440 as a sophomore and 1,184 as a junior while scoring 51 total touchdowns. The Richmond (Texas) Lamar product was a three-time all-conference selection and earned Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2008. His 3,877 rushing yards are second all-time, and, had he stuck around for his senior year, he could have broken the all-time record. He was taken by the Atlanta Falcons in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
The Portland (Ore.) Jesuit High School walk-on receiver might be the most decorated Beavers player in history. After one season on special teams, Hass became the first Pac-10 player to produce three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, which are three of the 10 such seasons in school history. His 1,532 yards in 2005 set an Oregon State record, breaking his own mark set the previous season (1,379), and led the nation by a wide margin. Hass also was honored with the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top wide receiver that season. In 2004, he set OSU single-game records for receptions (14) and yards (293) in separate games.
The Dallas (Ore.) native was a three-sport athlete at Astoria High School and is one of the greatest players to set foot in Corvallis. He stared in baseball, basketball and football at Astoria and was talented enough to be drafted by the Florida Marlins. He instead went to Oregon State and played in all 13 games as a freshman. Three seasons and 153 tackles, 13 interceptions, 36 passes deflected, 3.0 sacks, 2,032 return yards and four total touchdowns later, the consensus All-American departed OSU as one of the most versatile and talented players in school history.
The big defensive tackle came to Oregon State from Auckland, New Zealand by way of Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. In three years in Corvallis, Paea posted 129 tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss, 14.0 sacks and nine forced fumbles from his nose tackle position. One of the strongest Beavers to ever play, Paea was a consensus All-American, Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and Morris Trophy winner — given to the league’s top defensive lineman as voted on by the offensive lineman — in 2010 and was drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bears in April 2011.
Many in Corvallis believe that Jackson is the most physically dominating athlete to ever suit up for the Beavers. And at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, they are right. After a promising freshman season behind Ken Simonton (390 yards, 5 TD), Jackson took over as the starter in 2001 and set the single-season rushing record in his first year (1,690 yards). He carried the ball 669 times for 3,235 yards and 34 touchdowns while catching 61 passes for 635 yards and five more touchdowns in just two seasons as the starter. His 2,015 all-purpose yards in 2003 were No. 2 all-time in school history and his 132 points set a school record as well. His 4,545 all-purpose yards — in just three seasons — was No. 2 all-time when he left (No. 5 now). The No. 24 overall pick by St. Louis in the 2004 NFL Draft, Jackson has already added his name to the record books with eight consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons for the Rams (2005-12).
Who are the greatest college running backs of the BCS era?
Greatness is defined in so many different ways. Statistical production, individual awards, team success, longevity, supporting cast, level of competition, raw talent and athletic ability all factor heavily in determining overall greatness. Sometimes, you simply know greatness when you see it.
So all factors were considered when trying to determine who the greatest running backs of the BCS era have been. Here are the Top 50 ball carriers since the BCS was implemented in 1998:
Can the Golden Bears top three victories in Sonny Dykes first season?
After 11 seasons under Jeff Tedford, California decided it was time for a change. Tedford was fired after the season finale, and former Arizona offensive coordinator and Louisiana Tech head man Sonny Dykes was hired as the team’s new coach.
The Golden Bears have plenty of talent in the program but slipped to a disappointing 3-9 mark last year. If the pieces come together, California could challenge for a bowl game in 2013.
Oregon's Marcus Mariota ranks as the Pac-12's top quarterback for 2013.
Even though coach Chip Kelly left for the NFL, Oregon’s offense is in good hands with quarterback Marcus Mariota. After earning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors last year, Mariota should be the Pac-12’s No. 1 quarterback in 2013 and could be in the mix for All-American honors.
The pecking order in the Pac-12 North is pretty clear. Oregon and Stanford should be the top two teams in the division, while Washington and Oregon State are likely battling for third place.
Washington had a disappointing 2012 season, as the Huskies had hopes of being a top-25 team. However, despite a much-improved defense, the offensive line struggled, and quarterback Keith Price was never able to get on track.