In our 9th installment of College football’s greatest players ever by position, we feature the most intimidating to step on the field - the defensive linemen. Many will argue that the likes of a salivating linebacker, ala Dick Butkus, hold that crown. Maybe I'll give the linebackers nasty and mean, but the sack artists in the trenches take the crown for biggest, hairiest, and scariest!
Unlike the 9 lists that proceeded this one, all 10 players on this list have one thing in common; they are all members of the College Football Hall of Fame. Be sure to click on the link to the Original Retro Brand shirt featured for the team each player suited up for. Here are the TOP TEN best college football linemen of all time!!
10. Mike Reid, Penn State: Reid won the Maxwell Award in 1969 for College Football's most outstanding player* in addition to the Outland trophy for outstanding interior lineman. He recorded 83 tackles for the Nittany Lions and went on to win a Country Music Grammy Award for songwriting in 1985.
9. Jack Youngblood, Florida: A member of the Gators Ring of Honor, Youngblood holds the Florida team record for sacks with 14 in 1969. He was named SEC lineman of the year in 1970. He also kicked field goals and was one of the first players to test Gatorade! He went on to play 14 years in an NFL Hall of Fame career.
8. Bubba Smith, Michigan State: Bubba was a massive 6'7" 300 pounder (huge for the 1960's) who responded to the Spartan fans constant chant of "Kill, Bubba, Kill!!' Bubba played in the "Game of the Century" epic 10-10 tie vs. Notre Dame for a share of the National Championship in 1966. Bubba was the NFL's # 1 First round draft choice by the Baltimore Colts in 1967. After football, he became famous for his Lite Beer commercials and roles in the comedy movie series, Police Academy.
7. Alan Page, Notre Dame: Led the Fighting Irish to the 1966 National Championship. He recorded 63 tackles that same year and was a consensus All-American. Page was more brain than brawn, and earned his law degree at the University of Minnesota at the same time he was playing his way into the NFL Hall of Fame. Page is now serving his third term as a Justice on the Minnesota State Supreme Court.
6. Ted "The Mad Stork" Hendricks, Miami: Hendricks averaged a staggering 109 tackles per year in his 3 seasons at the "U." In 1968 he finished 5th in the Heisman voting, unheard of for a defensive player at that time. The Stork was a math nut, and when he wasn't causing havoc on opponents, he would spend his time relaxing by solving math problems.
5. Billy Ray Smith Jr., Arkansas: Billy Ray Jr. followed his dad's footsteps as an All-American lineman for the Razorbacks. The 2 time All-American had 63 tackles for loss during his career. Like Page and Hendricks, Smith had a brain, and was a regular on the dean's list. Big, hairy, scary and SMART!
4. Randy "The Manster" White, Maryland: Was a fullback as a freshman, and by the time he finished his senior year, he had won the Outland trophy as best interior college lineman of the year, as well as the Lombardi award for best lineman/linebacker. He also won ACC player of the year in 1974 and had his jersey # 94 retired.
3. Lee Roy Selmon, Oklahoma: Selmon led the Sooners to back to back National Championships in 1974 & 1975. He finished his career with 335 tackles and 40 sacks. Winner of the Outland trophy and Lombardi Award in 1975. His Sooner teams finished a combined 32-1-1. Selmon was another braniac from our list, as he was a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete in 1975. He also donated 10 hours to volunteer work, every week throughout the course of his career.
2. Bruce "The Sack Man" Smith, Virginia Tech: Another Outland trophy winner on this list, Smith had an incredible 22 sacks in his junior season and finished his career with 71 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The Sack man would end his NFL Hall of Fame career sitting alone atop the sack heep with 200.
1. Hugh Green, Pitt: Green was the first Defensive End to ever win the Maxwell Award in 1980. He also won the Walter Camp award, and came in second place in the Heisman trophy voting; That was the highest ever for a defensive player until Charles Woodson won the award for Michigan in 1997. He finished his career with 463 tackles and 53 sacks and had his # 99 retired.
* The Walter Camp, and Heisman Trophy awards are also awarded for most outstanding College player of the year with the Heisman being the most prestigious.
Did I leave anybody off the list? As usual, the answer is, OF COURSE I DID!