Thursday, January 13, 2011

Top 25 Players: #25-#24- Eliminate The Hazy

Putting together last summer’s Tulane retrospective, I was reminded of the really intriguing variety of players that have passed through here. Tulane has not produced many NFL players that enjoyed sustained success- so a lot of our better players get hazy through time.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about it over the last few months- and starting today I am presenting a list of my 25 best Tulane football players over my 25 years following Tulane (1987-present).

The criteria here is “best” player- and not an MVP. Thus, no intangibles, no leaders of men stuff allowed. An MVP list would be slanted toward winning teams and offense: quarterbacks, skill players in general. My list is a career award- valuing a good career over single game or season achievements. I disregarded pro careers entirely. These are Tulane’s great college players- and not good players with secondary pro careers.

I’ll start at the bottom- and work my way toward the top:

25. Brian Williams, LB (1994-1997)

In the past 25 years, Tulane has played two elite college linebackers: Richard Harvey and Anthony Cannon. Brain Williams was a step below those guys- and his legend really was hurt by laboring under the Teevens regime, then barely missing the miraculous 1998 campaign.

But he had the number one skill required by a linebacker, he could tackle. Only two players have more total tackles in this 25 year span, led the team in tackles in 1996 and 1997. There are some defensive players who had better single season (say, Dennis O’Sullivan in 1998). But coupled with Derrick Singleton and Brett Timmons, the linebackers were the best part of the Teevens regime.

24. Kenan Blackmon, DE (1999-2002)

It is difficult to separate Kenan Blackmon from his pal in backfield terror Floyd Dorsey. The relative early success Scelfo enjoyed was fueled by strong offenses and this good defensive line. And Giff Smith owes his coaching career to that tandem.

Kenan was sort of undersized- did he even weigh 250lbs?- but very, very tall and extremely quick, almost lanky. The Green Wave had good defensive linemen all over the place in those days- and no one prospered more by the inability of offensive linemen to cheat or to fixate. He is Tulane’s all-time leader in sacks and tackles for loss.

He was never exactly unblockable- but he could both get around or through OTs. He just had the frame that allowed him to keep them "guessing"- speed rush, great guy for stunts, strong enough to grab onto quarterbacks and hold on. 39 career starts.