Auburn’s 15 Greatest Players Over the Past 45 Years
Who are the greatest to ever wear the orange-and-blue? Today, we are going to take a shot at picking the 15 greatest Auburn football players since 1968. That’s 45 years of Auburn football. While the top picks are easy, things get much harder toward the bottom.
As with anything, this is a subjective selection. I’d love to hear your thoughts and tell me where you disagree. I’ll list them in order, from top to bottom. Here goes…
1. Bo Jackson – Perhaps the greatest running back of all times, this is a relatively easy choice. I’m sure some of our younger readers will push for Cam Newton, but if you watched Bo play with your own eyes, you know he’s clearly the top of the class.
2. Cam Newton – While we only had him for a year, it was the greatest season in Auburn history. We can only dream about how things might have been if Auburn had him at least three seasons. While Bo may take the top prize, Cam undoubtedly had the greatest single season of any Auburn player ever.
3. Pat Sullivan – In becoming Auburn’s first Heisman winner, Sullivan was a two-time All-American in 1970 and 1971. Former Alabama coach Bear Bryant said of Sullivan, “He does more things to beat you than any quarterback I’ve ever seen.”
4. Terry Beasley – Unquestionably, the greatest wide receiver in Auburn history, many still view him as the greatest receiver in SEC history. A two-time All-American, Beasley led the SEC in scoring in 1970 with 72 points.
5. Tracy Rocker – He became the first SEC player in history to win both the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy. Behind Rocker, Auburn’s defense was ranked first nationally in 1988.
6. Carnell Williams – Despite sharing time in the backfield with fellow back Ronnie Brown, Williams ranks second in yards among Auburn running backs. He helped lead Auburn to a perfect record and an SEC Championship in 2004.
7. James Brooks – With little talent around him in the late 1970’s, Brooks was one of the most exciting backs in the country. He remains Auburn’s third all-time leading rusher with 3,523 yards. He seemed to always save his best performances for Georgia.
8. Nick Fairley – Many will call him a one-hit wonder, but Fairley’s defensive performance in 2010 may be the most dominant in SEC history. Playing on a somewhat average defensive squad, Fairley was a difference maker every week. Like Cam, without him, Auburn doesn’t have its second national championship.
9. Lionel James – You won’t find his name on any All-American teams, but it’s hard to put into words what he meant to the Auburn program during the early years of the Pat Dye era. He was the team leader during Auburn’s march to the 1983 SEC Championship.
10. Brent Fullwood – He was arguably the second best running back in the country in 1985, and that’s while he was backing up Bo Jackson during his Heisman campaign. Fullwood’s breakout season came a year later when he led the nation with 8.3 yards a carry. He was a consensus All-American and finished sixth in the Heisman balloting in 1986.
11. Carlos Rogers – A consensus All-American in 2004, Rogers became the first Auburn player to win the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back. He helped Auburn lead the country in scoring defense on the way to a perfect season.
12. Marcus McNeil – He’s arguably the greatest offensive lineman in Auburn history. He was a two-time consensus All-American and one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy. As a senior he won the Jacobs Trophy as the top blocker in the SEC.
13. Greg Carr – The defensive leader on the 1983 SEC Championship team, Carr was the SEC’s most honored athlete during his senior year in 1984. He led Auburn in tackles for three consecutive seasons and was a consensus All-American during his senior campaign.
14. Ronnie Brown – Despite playing mostly second fiddle to Carnell Williams, Brown played a huge role in Auburn’s run to an undefeated season in 2004. He finished his Auburn career with 2,707 yards, ranking him seventh on the Tigers All-time rushing list.
15. Jason Campbell – He led Auburn to one of its most magical seasons ever in 2004, quarterbacking the Tigers to an SEC title and Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order): Takeo Spikes; Tommie Agee, Aundray Bruce; Joe Cribbs; Ed King; Ben Tamburello; Dameyune Craig; Bob Harris; Donnie Humphrey; Kurt Crain; Stacy Searels; David Rocker; Frank Sanders; Wayne Gandy; Karlos Dansby; Ben Grubbs; James Joseph.