Great College Football Names - Part II

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - by B.B. Branton

Here is a second set of 20 great names from college football.

1. Knute Rockne – Wide Receiver … Notre Dame … born Knute Kenneth Rockne in Voss, Norway … third team All-American ... graduated magna cum laude … legendary coach at Notre Dame, 1918-1930 ... 105-12-5 and six national titles … coached the Four Horsemen and Charles “Gipper” Gipp.

2. Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice – Running Back, North Carolina … gained nickname while playing in the service ... “runs like a choo choo train” … led Tar Heels to 32-7-2 and three bowl games, 1946-49 … twice runner-up in Heisman Trophy vote … 2x All-South at Ashville’s Lee Edwards HS … two years for Bainbridge Navy Squad before enrolling at UNC … MVP of 1950 College All-Star Game as collegians beat Philadelphia Eagles, 17-7 at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

3. Colt McCoy – QB, Texas/Cleveland Browns … great name for a QB who could run and throw ... Daniel “Colt” McCoy … 2008 Heisman Trophy runner-up ... all-state at Jim Ned HS in New Mexico … currently with Cleveland Browns.

4. Sam Huff – West Virginia … name just sounds like a linebacker … in three football halls of fame –national high school, college and pro … played for NY Giants and Washington Redskins … member of augural class of Southern Conference HOF

5. Tracy Rocker – Defensive Tackle … Auburn/Washington Redskins … two-time All-American … 1988 SEC Player of the Year … In 1988, became first SEC player to win the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Trophy in the same year..

6. Paul “Tank” Younger – Running Back, Grambling/L.A. Rams (1950s) … born Paul Lawrence Younger … undrafted, Younger became the first NFL player from a historically black college (1949) … first black to hold a front office position – assistant GM of the San Diego Chargers – in the NFL ... College Football Hall of Fame.

7. Brian Urlacher – Linebacker, New Mexico/Chicago Bears …(urr-lacker) … All-American … 4x first team All-Pro … 2000 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year … 2005 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

8. Deacon Jones – Defensive End … born David D. Jones … known as the Secretary of Defense and a member of the L.A. Rams’ “Fearsome Foursome” in the 1960s with Lamar Lundy, Rosey Grier and Merlen Olsen … played collegiately at South Carolina State and Mississippi Vocational School … 5x first team All-Pro …. Pro Football Hall of Fame.

9. Harry Gonso and John “Punt John Punt” Isenbarger – Gonso was the quarterback and Isenbarger was halfback/punter for Indiana in 1967 … the duo led the Hoosiers to first winning season (9-2) since 1958 and an appearance in the 1968 Rose Bowl, losing to USC, 14-3 … Isenbarger had a knack for running out of punt formation ... sometimes he made the first down and sometimes not ... thus, the chant by the home crowd of “Punt, John, Punt”.

10. Eagle Day – Quarterback, Ole Miss (mid 1950s) … born Herman Sidney Day … led Johnny Rebs to SEC titles, 1954-55 … MVP of 1956 Cotton Bowl in 14-13 win against TCU … pitched Ole Miss to a win in 1956 College Baseball World Series … played with the Washington Redskins as a punter and 10 years in the CFL .. 16 letters in four sports in high school.

11. Joe Delamielleure – OL Michigan State (69-70-71) ... (duh.lom-ah-leer; as in king leer) …All-American offensive guard at Michigan State ... best known as lead blocker for OJ Simpson in his 2,000 yard season of 1973 ... part of Buffalo Bills famed Electric Company O-Line

12. Larry Conjar – Fullback, Notre Dame .. All-American fullback for the Irish in the in mid ‘60s .. (like its spelled Con-Jar) once sold programs outside Notre Dame Stadium on game day as a member of the scout team as a sophomore … tired of watching the games from the stands, he later earned starting spot as as junior and was third team All-American as a senior in 1966 for coach Ara Parseagian.

13. Randy Gradishar – Linebacker, Ohio State/Denver Broncos … (grad-ah-shar) … All-American and Academic All-America for the Buckeyes in early 1970s … member of “Orange Crush” defense for the Broncos … 5x All-Pro … member of College Football Hall of Fame.

14. Lee Roy Jordan – Linebacker/Center, Alabama/Dallas Cowboys … All-American linebacker under Bear Bryant at Alabama in early 1960s… led ’Bama to 1961 national championship … hard-nosed as they come … part of “Doomsday Defense” for Dallas Cowboys ... College Football Hall of Fame

15. Joe LaBruzzo – Running Back, LSU (mid-1960s) … Second team All-SEC but best known for scoring two touchdowns and game MVP as LSU upset of No.2 Arkansas (10-0-0) in the Jan.1, 1966 Cotton Bowl … Cotton Bowl was played in the early afternoon in the 60s and the LaBruzzo-led LSU win began domino effect for Alabama (9-1-1) to win the national championship … After the Hogs lost, UCLA then upset No.1 Michigan State in the Rose Bowl later that day, 14-12, followed by No.4 Alabama defeating No.3 Nebraska (10-0-0), 39-28, in the Orange Bowl for the title.

16. Andy Robustelli – Def. End, Arnold College ... (Row-bah-stelli) … where ? …If you know where that school is or anything about it without looking it up, you get a gold star or two in your Sunday School book … I had to look it up just out of curiosity … NFL great defensive end with the NY Giants in the 1950s … Pro Football Hall of Fame

17. George “The Gipper” Gipp - Running Back, Quarterback, Punter, Notre Dame … led Irish in passing and rushing, 1918-1919-1920 … Consensus All-American … College Football Hall of Fame … In 1920, contracted pneumonia and on his death bed told coach Knute Rockne “to win just one for The Gipper” … Rockne used that line in pre-game speech in 1928 as the Irish who upset the undefeated Army in Yankee Stadium.

18. Steve Wooster-Cotton Speyrer – Running Back/Wide Receiver, U. of Texas, late 1960s … known as “Wooster-Speyrer Sauce” ... duo along with QB James Street led Longhorns to 1969 national title … In Jan. 1, 1970 Cotton Bowl, Speyrer caught huge 4th-and-2 pass from Street for late fourth quarter, first down on Notre Dame 2-yard-line … halfback Billy Dale scored winning touchdown three plays later.

19. Fred Biletnikoff – Wide Receiver … Florida State/Oakland Raiders … (bah-lit-knah-cough) … Seminoles first consensus All-American …Super Bowl XI MVP and led the Raiders to the title … College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame

20. Bubba Smith – Defensive End … Michigan State/Baltimore Colts ... need at least one “Bubba” on your all-name team … born Charles Aaron Smith …2x All-American at Mich. State in mid-1960s ... College Football Hall of Fame … member of Colts Super Bowl V championship team.

More Names ...
John Popham from Nashville sent in this list.

Bullet Bob Hayes
Dandy Don Meredith
Fred "The Hammer" Williamson
Otis Sistrunk

Gale "The Kansas Comet" Sayers
Jack "The Throwin" Samoan" Thompson
Kenny "Snake" Stabler
Broadway Joe Namath
Jefferson Street Joe Gilliam

Jack "The Assassin" Tatum
Rocky Bleier
Slingin' Sammy Baugh
James "The Bus" Bettis
Ted "The Stork" Hendricks

Dave "The Ghost" Casper
Lance "Bambi" Alworth
Billy "White Shoes" Johnson
Johnny Unitas

Walter " Sweetness" Payton
William "The Refrigerator" Perry
Fuzzy Thurston
Curly Culp
Neon Deon Sanders
Alan " The Horse" Ameche

Contact B.B. Branton at

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