This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011
Picking your favorite Auburn players is like browsing The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and settling on the two best looking models. It's damn near impossible. My favorite Tiger players over the years run the gamut from quarterbacks to cornerbacks. As you will see, it's impossible to pick one favorite or ten. Here's my best shot...
My earliest "hero" was quarterback Phil Gargis. He wore number 11 and played on some of Shug Jordan's last teams. He was the toughest player I'd ever seen. He took shots from defenders that today's quarterbacks would buckle under. You won't find his name on any all-conference teams and there's few mentions of him in Auburn's own record book. But when it came to grit and determination, there were few better than Gargis.
Speaking of quarterbacks, who can forget Dameyune Craig? Being a toddler when Sullivan played, Craig is without question the best Auburn quarterback of my generation. Were it not for some questionable dropped passes, Craig would be wearing an SEC Championship ring for his performance in 1997. He'll always be one of my favorites.
I wrote about the 1983 team earlier in the week and there are plenty on that team that remain some of my all-time favorites. Perhaps the most unique was defensive back David King. He's the hardest hitting Auburn player to dress out in my lifetime. He could flat out hurt people. I'll never forget turning on MTV one day and seeing him on-screen dressed like Prince. It was just plain weird. I can't recall the circumstances surrounding it. I just remember thinking, how could someone so tough, look so much like... Prince?
Who can forget those great Wayne Hall defenses of the 1980's? Names like Harold Hallman, Greg Carr, Tommie Powell, Donnie Humphrey, Doug Smith, Ben Thomas and Kurt Crain bring back floods of great memories. I'll never forget seeing Humphrey walk across campus one Sunday afternoon with a tshirt on that read, "Give Georgia a Bo Job."
To this day, I still wonder how Auburn managed to lose like they did in the late '70's with the likes of Joe Cribbs, James Brooks and William Andrews in the backfield. Every kid who wore an Auburn tearaway jersey worshiped those three. Andrews became one of my all-time favorites when he joined the Atlanta Falcons after leaving Auburn. And what kid didn't line up in his backyard as Charlie Trotman? I still have my orange number six jersey put away for safe keeping.
And then there were the obvious favorites - the ones who make everyone's list of all-time favorite players: Lionel James, Bo Jackson, Randy Campbell, Brent Fullwood, Tommy Agee, Lawyer Tillman, Jeff Burger, Carnell Williams, Jason Campbell, Ronnie Brown, Stephen Davis, Brandon Cox and Courtney Taylor. I could go on literally all day.
Mention their names and certain plays or games immediately come to mind. When I say Tommy Agee, how many of you immediately think of the 1983 Maryland game? When I say Brent Fullwood, how many of you think about the 1984 Florida State game in Tallahassee? When I say Lawyer Tillman do you immediately think of Grant Field in 1987?
The great thing about remembering these players and these special times are the circumstances around them. It's what makes them special all these years later. Maybe you were with your girlfriend at Jordan-Hare Stadium or your high school or college buddies. Perhaps you were sitting there with a parent who's no longer here. We have favorite players not only for the way they played, but when they played and circumstances under which they performed.
Writing this has brought back a flood of great memories; many of which I haven't thought about in years. It's what makes us love Auburn and the players associated with it. The best part is that new memories are made each year.
Who are some of your favorite Auburn players? Can you narrow the list any better than me? Good luck!