One of the most physically gifted players to ever play at South Carolina, Rice redshirted as a freshman and left after only two seasons in Columbia — which was plenty of time for Rice to make his mark. He, at the time, posted the No. 1 (1,143 yards) and No. 3 (1,090 yards) receiving seasons in school history (broken in 2010 by Alshon Jeffery’s 1,517 yads). His 72 (2006) and 70 (2005) catches were good for third- and fourth-best all-time (again, Jeffery set the current record with 88 last fall). Rice’s 13 TDs in 2005 still stands as the school’s all-time single-season record. Rice ranks fourth all-time with 2,233 yards, first with 23 TD catches and is the only Gamecock to ever score five TDs in a game (FAU, 2006). In two bowl games, Rice set every USC postseason receiving mark with 12 receptions for 191 yards against Mizzou in 2005 Independence Bowl. He followed that up with an eight-catch, 39-yard, TD performance the next year against Houston in the Liberty Bowl.
This talented All-Pro defensive end led the team in sacks four straight seasons, finishing with 23.5 total quarterback traps – good for third all-time in school history. The All-SEC performer was selected with the 13th overall pick in the first round of the 200 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.
This smooth, handsy receiver is No. 2 all-time in school history for TD catches with 19, No. 4 all-time in receptions with 156 and No. 6 all-time with yards at 2,211. He went on to win a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers as a consummate professional. His longest lasting legacy on the football field would have to be the advent of the “Lambeau Leap.”
Provence ranks No. 2 in school history in many of the most important defensive statistics. His 401 career total tackles, 26.0 career sacks and 35.0 career tackles for a loss each rank No. 2 in Gamecock history. He set the single-season sack record with 10 in 1982 (since broken). Provence was drafted by his home state Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 1983 NFL Draft.
Ellis completely rewrote the passing record books at South Carolina. He claimed 20 different school records in his time as the starter in Columbia. His 425 yards against ECU in 1987 were a single-game school record. His 53 attempts against Virginia Tech in 1988 were a school record. His 241 completions in 1987 were a single-season school record. His 20 passing TDs in 1986 were a school record. His 46 career TDs were also a school record. All of these have since been broken by the guy on the next slide, but Ellis is still prominently featured in the “career” section of the record book. His 1,350 career attempts and 9,953 yards are still tops at South Carolina. His 3,206-yard 1987 season is still the best in school history as well. The three-time team MVP led the Cocks to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history.
If it was up to Steve Spurrier, Lattimore might be the greatest Gamecock of all-time. The in-state five-star recruit immediately produced at an elite level, scoring a touchdown in each of his first six college games. He rushed for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns as a true freshman on the first SEC East championship team in Columbia. Unfortunately, his next two seasons were cut short by horrific knee injuries. For his career, Lattimore scored 41 total touchdowns in just 29 games while producing 118.8 yards from scrimmage for his career. He was unstoppable when on the field and was just as important to the Cocks off the field and in the locker room as he was in the backfield. There is a reason that 2010-12 is the most successful three-year run in school history.
After Todd Ellis totally reworked the passing record books, Taneyhill came through and rewrote many of the same records. Taneyhill has the best two games passing in school history with a 473- and 451-yard performances. He has the top four games in school history in terms of completions. He owns the single-season TD mark with 29, completion percentage record with 67.1% and total completions with 261. He obliterated the career TD mark of 49 with his 62 scoring throws. The SEC Offensive Freshman of the Year finished No. 2 on the all-time yards chart with 8,782 yards. Most importantly, however, the trademark longhaired gunslinger led South Carolina to its first-ever bowl win in the 1995 Carquest Bowl victory over West Virginia. Taneyhill was the MVP.
After just two seasons, Clowney has quickly established himself as one of the school’s greatest players. And after his junior season this fall, he could easily become the program’s single-best player. The freakish defensive end has 90 total tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss, 21.0 sacks and eight forced fumbles over two seasons in Columbia. The SEC Freshman of the Year (2011) also earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors (2012) and won the Hendricks Award as the nation’s best defensive end (2012). The unanimous All-American is all but assured to add some trophies to his case in 2013.
As high school standout in Georgia, Sharpe left an indeliable mark on South Carolina football. He set school records for receptions with 169, yards with 2,497 and touchdowns with 17 (all of which have since been broken). He also set the single-season catches record with 74, touchdowns with 10 and was the first receiver to ever top 1,000 yards in a season (1,106). He is still only one of three players to ever top the 1,000-yard mark. The two-time All-American also set a Carolina record with a 104-yard kick return – the longest play in school history. A perennial All-Pro with the Green Bay Packers, Sharpe saw his stellar career cut short with head and neck injuries. Is the brother of Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe.
There is little doubt who the best player in South Carolina history is as Rogers not only holds most every rushing record but also has the school’s only Heisman Trophy. The All-American led the nation in rushing in 1980 with 1,894 yards – which broke his own single-season school record when he was second nationally in 1979 with 1,681 yards. He is the Gamecocks’ all-time leading rusher with 5,204 yards, and only Marcus Lattimore player has scored more TDs than Rogers’ 33. Rogers topped the 100-yard mark in 27 of his 46 collegiate games, including an insane 22 straight 100-yard efforts to end his amateur career. As the first overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft, Rogers went on to win NFL Rookie of the Year honors with the Saints after he led the league in rushing in his first season. He went on to win a Super Bowl with the Redskins in 1988.
Brad Edwards intercepted Clemson quarterback Rodney Williams and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown to clinch South Carolina's 20-7 win over the rival Tigers. The game was the highest rankings of both teams in the storied rivalry, with USC No. 12 and Clemson No. 8 heading into the matchup. South Carolina's 'Black Death' defense surrendered just 11.8 points per game and the team finished ranked No. 15 after a loss to LSU in the Gator Bowl.
George Rogers continued his outstanding season with 177 yards and two touchdowns -- his 20th straight 100-yard game -- and South Carolina edged Wake Forest 39-38 to improve to 8-2. Rogers would go on to win the school's only Heisman Trophy with 1,894 yards and the Gamecocks finished the season with a loss to Pittsburgh in the Gator Bowl.
Former Mr. Ohio Ryan Brewer scored three touchdowns as South Carolina upset Ohio State 24-7 in the Outback Bowl to cap an amazing turnaround season. The Gamecocks had lost 21 straight games entering the season, but second-year coach Lou Holtz directed the team to seven wins in its first eight games. In the bowl game, Brewer replaced 1,000-yard rusher Derek Watson, who was suspended by Holtz, and Brewer accounted for 219 total yards.
Second-year coach Joe Morrison capped a remarkable regular season with a 22-21 win at Clemson, which still stands as the only 10-win campaign in school history. The Gamecocks, who were 5-6 the year before, defeated Georgia, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Florida State before capping the year with a win over its archrival. The Gamecocks went on to lose the Gator Bowl to Oklahoma State and finished No. 11 in the AP poll.
South Carolina clinched its first SEC East title with its first win in Gainesville, as Marcus Lattimore ran for 212 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-14 beatdown of Florida. Coach Steve Spurrier enjoyed the milestone moment at the expense of his alma mater, where he won a Heisman Trophy and coached a national championship team. The Gamecocks finished the regular season 9-3 before losing to Auburn in the SEC title game and Florida State in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
With Georgia down to Alabama, 17-10, and facing a second-and-eight from its own 27, QB Kirby Moore passed to Pat Hodgson, who lateraled to Bob Taylor. Taylor ran the rest of the way for a Bulldog touchdown. Moore threw to Hodgson for the two-point conversion to give Georgia an 18-17 victory.
Georgia fell into a 20-0 hole against Georgia Tech before rallying to take a 21-20 lead. But the Ramblin’ Wreck jumped back in front, 28-21, when Drew Hill took a kickoff 101 yards, and Tech converted a two-point try. Buck Belue then engineered an 84-yard TD drive that culminated with a 43-yard scoring pass to Amp Arnold. Arnold’s sweep on the conversion gave Georgia a wild, 29-28 win.
Freshman Herschel Walker capped a remarkable debut and a dream Bulldog season by scoring two touchdowns in Georgia’s 17-10 win over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl to win the national title. The Bulldogs took a 17-3 second-quarter lead and repelled several Irish drives after intermission to secure the win.
With only 1:05 remaining, and Georgia’s undefeated season in jeopardy, the Bulldogs took possession on their own seven-yard line, down 21-20, to Florida in the teams’ annual rivalry clash. QB Buck Belue was trapped at the line of scrimmage on first down and threw incomplete on second. Desperate for yardage, he threw a short crossing route to Lindsay Scott, who caught the ball, spun 180 degrees and took off up the left sideline. He outran the Florida defense as legendary Georgia radio announcer Larry Munson yelled, “Run, Lindsay! 25, 20, 15, 10! Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott!” Georgia won, 26-21, and was ranked number one the following Monday.
Can Kevin Sumlin lead the Aggies to a BCS bowl in 2013?
Texas A&M took the SEC by storm in his debut season, recording an 11-2 record and producing a Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Johnny Manziel.
After last year’s 11-win season, the Aggies are setting their goals even higher for 2013. Texas A&M is one of the top-10 contenders for the national title, and Manziel should be one of the frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy once again.
One of the leaders of the Wrecking Crew defense, Holland became the program's all-time leading tackler when he ended his career with 455 total tackles (later broken). He led the team in stops twice with 155 tackles in 1984 and 147 in 1986. As a second-round pick in the 1987 NFL Draft, Holland went on to an excellent pro career with the Green Bay Packers. He was inducted into the Packers, Aggies and Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame.
Tank Lewis became only the fifth player in NCAA history to eclipse the 5,000-yard mark. His 5,012 rushing yards were a Southwest Conference record. He had two of the most consistent — and best — seasons in school history when he set the school rushing record with 1,692 yards in 1988 before coming back and rushing for 1,691 yards two years later. Lewis owns school records for rushing attempts in a season (306) and a career (909) as well as career rushing touchdowns (44). Lewis played three lackluster years for the Chicago Bears before a long line of poor decisions — and the fact that he "lost the love of the game" — caused his career to end prematurely.
You can bet quarterbacks knew exactly where Green was lining up on every play. He set the single-season sack record when he terrorized offensive lines and passers to the tune of 20 sacks in 1979. His 37 career sacks were also a school record for more than a decade. The All-American also owns the career forced fumbles record with 12. Green was a two-time all-conference performer who was selected with the 10th overall pick in the first round of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Green went to two Pro Bowls.
Although he played only two seasons in College Station, Glenn quickly made an enormous impact on the Aggies program. He was an two-time All-American — and All-SWC — selection in both of his seasons as the lock-down coverman. Despite playing such a short period of time, Glenn is still all over the TAMU record book. His 20 passes broken up in 1992 remain a single-season record, while his 33 career PBUs and nine career interceptions — including one massive 95-yard INT return TD against Texas — remain in the Texas A&M record books. His runner-up finish for the Thorpe Award, given to the nation's best defensive back, remains the closest an Aggie has ever come to winning the award. The 1992 Southwest Conference Newcomer of the Year was the 12th overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. Glenn was a three-time Pro Bowler.
Adams started all three years of his career in College Station. As a freshman, Adams garnered freshman All-America honors to go with his SWC Newcomer of the Year award. He vaulted to first-team all-conference in his second season after 56 tackles and 4.5 sacks. However, Man Mountain's tenacity and downright nastiness got national accliam in 1993 when Adams led the Aggies in tackles for a loss (13), sacks (10.5), forced fumbles (5) and fumble recoveries (3). He also made an impressive 78 tackles from his interior line position. He was a consensus All-American and Sports Illustrated Defensive Player of the Year nationally. Adams, who also starred on the track and field squad, was inducted into A&M's Hall of Fame in 2001. He posted 169 tackles, 23 TFLs, 20.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles and was selected with the eighth overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks.
Arguably the most feared and productive defensive lineman ever to play for Texas A&M, Childress is the only post-1970 Aggie to be inducted into the NCAA Hall of Fame. As a junior, Childress posted 15 quarterback sacks and 117 tackles and was as a first-team All-American in 1983. As a senior in 1984 he was a consensus All-America selection. He was also a two-time All-Southwest Conference pick. As a senior, he anchored an Aggie defense that ranked No. 5 nationally in pass defense (127.5 yards per game). That year, he recorded 124 tackles and 10 sacks. His 25 career sacks were then a school record for a non-linebacker, and his 360 tackles then ranked fourth on A&M’s career list.
As a 220-pound defensive end, Miller earned All-Big 12 Freshman honors. After nearly quitting the team after his freshman season, Miller bounced back under the new coaching regime and produced a solid season — now at weakside linebacker. As a junior, Miller was moved to the 'jack' position where his pass rushing skills shone brightly. His 17 sacks and 21.5 tackles for a loss led the nation, and Miller was named a first-team All-American. After his fourth position change in four seasons — now to outside linebacker — Miller posted 10.5 sacks and 17.5 TFLs despite being slowed early on by a minor injury. The consensus All-American was named the Butkus Award winner as the nation's best linebacker. Miller was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos.
As a redshirt freshman, Manziel set the college football world on fire with both his arm and legs. He led the SEC in rushing with 1,410 yards (and 21 TDs) and led the nation in total offense with 393.5 yards per game. The Texas A&M quarterback led his team to 10 wins in a new league and claimed the school's second Heisman Trophy. He accounted for 47 total touchdowns and led TAMU to the biggest win of the season by any team over No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He capped his record-setting season by posting one of the greatest bowl performances in the history of Texas A&M, Cotton Bowl, SEC and Heisman Trophy history. He threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 229 yards and two more scores in a blowout win over Oklahoma.
Known better for his lock-down cover corner skills in the NFL, Hayes got his nicknames "The Judge" and "Lester the Molester" for his physical bump-and-run coverage. However, Hayes got his start on the gridiron as an elite ball-hawking safety at Texas A&M. His 14 career interceptions rank second on the all-time Aggie list, while his eight INTs during his final season in 1976 rank third all-time. Hayes was selected in the fifth round of the 1977 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He would go on to five Pro-Bowls, two Super Bowl Championships and the 1980 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.
The artist formerly known as "Fat" Nguyen turned his burly 5-foot-11, 240-pound freshman frame into a muscular, fercious tackling machine. Nguyen defined the terms hard-hitting and tough-nosed, leaving the A&M program with statistics that will be very difficult to ever duplicate. Nguyen won the Bednarik and Lombardi Trophies during his time in College Station as the nation's top defensive player. He also came a single vote shy of winning the Butkus Award — the closest vote in the history of the award. His 517 tackles are a school record, as are his 51 consecutive starts and 10.7 tackles per game. The four-year starter was a three-time all-conference selection and earned consensus All-America honors in 1998. Nguyen was selected in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys and is widely considered the best defensive player in the short history of the Big 12 conference.
1986: A&M held a tenuous 23-16 lead over Auburn in the Cotton Bowl when Auburn drove the ball 88 yards to the Aggie six-yard and looked ready to tie the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter. But Texas A&M’s defense stiffened, stuffing Heisman winner Bo Jackson four times to preserve the lead and key a 36-16 triumph.
Second-ranked A&M had lost seven straight and 16 of 18 toTexas, but the nasty Aggie defense and hard-running backs Bubba Bean and George Woodard keyed a thrilling, 20-10 win over the fifth-ranked Longhorns.
The Aggies were a pedestrian 5-4 when top-ranked, 8-0,defending national champion Oklahoma came to town for what looked to be a mere speed bump en route to another shot at the title. Freshman quarterback Reggie McNeal came off the bench to throw four TD passes in a 30-26 victory.
Number one Kansas State held a 27-12 lead at the beginning ofthe fourth quarter of the Big 12 title game, but backup QB Branndon Stewart, who had hyperextended his knee earlier in the game, led a comeback that forced overtime. In the second extra session, he completed a TD pass to Sirr Parker for a 36-33 win and the conference championship.
Although the Aggies had been a regional powerhouse, theyhadn’t gathered any credibility outside of Texas until the ’40 Sugar Bowl, when they took on Tulane on the Green Wave’s turf. Led by John Kimbrough’s 159 yards and two touchdowns, the last a game-winner from 24 yards out, A&M dumped Tulane, 14-13, to claim the national title.
Zach Mettenberger needs a big season for LSU to contend in the SEC West.
LSU had national title aspirations in 2012 but losses to Florida and Alabama pushed the Tigers to a 10-2 mark at the end of the regular season.
Getting LSU to a spot in the national championship will be even more challenging for Les Miles in 2013, as the Tigers lost a handful of key contributors on defense, and the offense is still a question mark.
Mississippi fans are still angry about this one. With 0:04 to play, LSU quarterback Bert Jones faded back, pump faked and threw an interception – in only three seconds. Or so said the Tiger clock operator. The one second remaining on the clock gave Jones the chance to hit Brad Davis in the corner of the end zone to give the Tigers a 17-16 win over the Rebels and extend the LSU winning streak to 12 games.
Trailing underdog Kentucky on the road, 30-27, with just 0:11 left and the ball on their own nine, the Tigers made history. After a 17-yard toss from Marcus Randall to Michael Clayton, Randall heaved the ball downfield, where it was tipped and wound up in the hands of Devery Henderson, who finished the 74-yard TD hookup. Kentucky players had already doused coach Guy Morriss with Gatorade, and some fans were tearing down the goalposts to celebrate the upset, but LSU’s “Bluegrass Miracle” spoiled the fun.
LSU spotted Ohio State a 10-0 lead and then roared back to score 31 consecutive points en route to a 38-24 win over the Buckeyes and a second BCS championship. QB Matt Flynn, who missed the SEC title game win over Tennessee with an injury, threw four touchdown passes to help the Tigers become the first two-loss champ of the BCS era.
The Tigers’ stifling defense controlled Oklahoma’s Heisman-winning QB, Jason White, holding him to 13-of-37 passing, and LSU used TD runs from Skyler Green and Justin Vincent and an interception return by Marcus Spears to overcome the Sooners, 21-14, and win their first BCS title.
The top-ranked and defending national champion Tigers were down, 3-0, in the fourth quarter of their Halloween night game with Mississippi, when all-America and eventual Heisman winner Billy Cannon took a punt at his own 11-yard line. Heading up the right sideline, Cannon shrugged off seven would-be Rebel tacklers and went 89-yards to give LSU the lead. Later in the game, he secured LSU’s 7-3 win by teaming with Warren Rabb to stop an Ole Miss runner at the Tiger one on fourth down.
Capone is one of only eight LSU players in history to be named a two-time All-American, as he earned such recognition in 1972 and 1973. He led the Tigers to three straight bowl appearances. Inducted into the LSU Hall of Fame in 1988, Capone is considered one of, if not the, best linebacker in LSU history. After one year in the World Football League, Capone played a few years in the NFL with Dallas and New Orleans. (Editor’s Note: This one was a brutal decision as Charles Alexander, Al Richardson and Ben Wilkerson all got serious consideration for this slot).
After his redshirt seasons, Faneca was voted SEC Freshman of the Year by the Knoxville News Sentinel in 1995. He was a second-team All-American the following year and became an Outland Trophy finalist by the 1997 season – the first in school history. He started 36 games in his LSU career and allowed only one sack, finishing with 210 pancake blocks. He was selected by the Steelers with the 26th overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. He went to nine Pro Bowls and won Super Bowl XL.
As a true freshman, Landry started 10 games on what turned out to be the first LSU National Championship team since 1958. The elite safety is credited with 48 straight starts for the Tigers, finishing with 315 tackles and 12 interceptions – good for seventh and third highest in school history. A three-time All-SEC performer, Landry earned All-American honors as a senior before being drafted with the sixth overall pick in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins.
This talented cornerback is probably the best coverman in school history. A two-time All-American – the school’s first in nearly two decades – Webster anchored the outside of the 2003 National Championship team. Webster tied an LSU single-game record with three interceptions against Florida in 2002 and finished second all-time in school history with 16 interceptions. He also owns the school record for passes broken up with 49. He totaled 115 tackles and was selected in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He was a key member of the Super Bowl XLII team that stopped the most prolific offense in NFL history, the New England Patriots.
Originally a tight end, Spears switched to defensive end after his freshman season and became one of the most dominant D-lineman to ever play at LSU. Spears started 38 of his 50 total games at end and finished with 152 tackles, 19 sacks and 34.5 tackles for a loss. He won two SEC Championships and helped lead the Tigers to the 2003 BCS National Championship. A game in which his most memorable play took place. Early in the third quarter, Spears intercepted an Oklahoma pass and rumbled 20 yards for a touchdown that turned out to be the game-winning points of the 21-14 title victory. Spears was selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
Reed re-wrote the LSU and SEC record books in 2001 when he caught a school record 94 passes for an SEC record 1,740 yards on his way to becoming a consensus All-American selection. As the Biletnikoff Award winner – given to the nation’s best receiver – Reed led the country in yards and yards per game (145.0). He finished his career as the SEC’s all-time leading receiver with 3,001 yards on 167 receptions. In his final game as a Bayou Bengal, Reed set Sugar Bowl records with 14 catches for 239 yards and two scores. Reed owns 17 school or SEC records and was drafted in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
The best player to take snaps for LSU has to be Jones. The Tigers went 26-6-1, went to three bowl games and won an SEC Championship in Jones’ three years at LSU. His senior season, Jones became the first LSU quarterback to be named a consensus All-American. The strong-armed passer finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1972 and his 3,225 yards and 28 touchdowns were a school record at the time. Jones went on to be the second overall pick in the 1973 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts.
Faulk will go down in history as not only one of the most productive LSU Tigers in history but one of the most prolific SEC runners in history. The three-time All-SEC choice was named SEC Freshman of the Year in 1995 before leading the league in rushing as a junior and senior. He is LSU’s all-time leading rusher (4,557) and is the SEC’s career leader in all-purpose yards with 6,833. His 53 total TDs scored also set and SEC record that stood until Tim Tebow broke it. Faulk was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 1999 NFL Draft and has been a key contributor on four Super Bowl teams – three of which won the Lombardi Trophy.
There have not been too many players in any school’s history to put together a year like Mr. Dorsey did in 2007. Dorsey led his team to an SEC Championship, a BCS National Championship, he claimed SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors to go with his Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy, Nagurski Trophy and Lott Trophy. As a two-time All-American, there really wasn’t anything Dorsey had left to accomplish when he was drafted with the fifth pick in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. He started 26 of his last 27 games and finished his career with 170 total tackles, 27 tackles for a loss and 15 sacks.
This guy did it all. He played running back, return man and defensive back. He is also the only three-time All-American in LSU history and only the second LSU Tiger to be named to three All-SEC teams. Each year he played, the versatile competitor won at least nine games with the Tigers’ overall record finishing at 27-7 during his three year run in Baton Rouge. Casanova was so versatile, in fact, that only six years after being drafted in the second round by the Bengals in the 1972 NFL Draft, went into medicine AND politics. He has his medical degree in Ophthalmology and was elected to the state Senate in Louisiana’s 26th district.