The Greatest Players For Every BCS Conference School Part 1: The ACC


College football is starting on Thursday, September 1st. And with that in mind, I figured I’d have a little fun, stir a little debate, and perhaps write something you’d want to read over and over again. With some help from my trusty research assistant the Internet, I have found the greatest players to ever play for all 6 of the power conferences.

Why didn’t i do every single division 1-a school you ask? Simple. A: It would have taken me way too long to do. B: In some cases, there is no answer or too many answers. Do you really want to know who the all-time greatest Hawaii Rainbow Warrior is? (Answer: Mark Tuinei, with Jason Elam close behind.) Same thing with SMU. For a program that was given the Death Penalty, there’s far more options than you’d think. Try and pick between Eric Dickerson and Doak Walker. That ought to be fun.

Now, before I get to the list, some ground rules. This is a list of the greatest NFL players, but college performance is weighted equally. Therefore, Tom Brady will not be on the list for Michigan because he had trouble starting. Also, this is the 6 conferences as they are now. So Nebraska goes in the Big Ten list, and Colorado goes in the Pac-10. And we’re starting this little journey through the ACC.

Boston College: This might be the easiest one that there is so far. He’s their only Heisman trophy winner, and one of the most electrifying players in the history of football. The answer to this question is: Doug Flutie.

Clemson: And we have our first active player on the list. One of the most intimidating safeties in NFL history, a dude that is so tough, so intense, he scares other tough and intense dudes. Brian Dawkins. When your nickname is Weapon X (the nickname of Wolverine before he was domesticated and found by Professor X), and it’s not intended to be ironic in the least, that’s scary.

Duke: Rise up, Washington football fans. Sonny Jurgensen is, without doubt, the greatest man who ever slipped on a Blue Devils uniform. and when you can make an argument for giants bust Dave Brown in this position, it’s not a good look for anyone. Come on Duke. Step your game up. null

Florida State: Prime Time. Deion Sanders. is this really a pick I need to spend a whole lot of time explaining? Really? Ok, he is the NFL’s best-ever cover corner. Full Disclosure: he’s not the NFL’s best-ever all-around corner in my mind. That honor falls to Mel Blount in my mind.

Georgia Tech: This is kind of an underrated power in the ACC. This was actually harder than I thought it would be. There are so many different good players. Did y’all realize GT has had FIFTY All-Americans? That’s a surprising number for a small technical college in Atlanta. Anyway, the answer is Calvin Johnson. One of the best wide receivers in the game today, and with the current reliance on the option by the Ramblin’ Wreck, perhaps the last one they will produce for quite a long time.

Maryland: Randy White. The dude was nicknamed the friggin’ Manster. I could go on and on about all of his accomplishments in both the NFL and College, but he was nicknamed the friggin’ Manster. And he lived up to it. That settles it.

Miami: Wooosah. This one is super-friggin’ hard. Here are my choices: Ed Reed, Michael Irvin, Ray Lewis, Warren Sapp. But the guy I went with wasn’t there for the days of the U. I went with Ed Reed because you could very easily argue that he is the greatest to ever play the position of safety, while that argument is a little harder to make for any of the other guys on that list. Ray Lewis is blocked as a middle linebacker by Dick Butkus, Warren Sapp by Joe Greene, and Michael Irvin by Jerry Rice.

North Carolina: Lawrence Taylor. The greatest outside linebacker to ever do it. The dude who changed the way pro football was played. The greatest Giant defensive player. the best UNC player. End of discussion.

North Carolina State: Philip Rivers. The only other quarterback more likely to talk mess than Jay Cutler. And yet, unlike the dude who stole the name from Mr. Olympia, Philip Rivers can back it up. At this moment he is repping Dan Marino’s spot as the best Qb without a ring, but that could change. Interestingly: Dude was never an All-American at NC State.

Virginia: Boy this is hard. I mean I could go a few ways with this. But I ended up going with Ronde Barber. One of the best corners in the NFL still, even at his advanced age. Plus, he’s apparently working on being the mirror universe version of his brother Tiki.

Virginia Tech: You’d think that it was Michael Vick, right? When I planned this out, I thought it was going to be Michael Vick too. But when I did the research, I discovered how much I was wrong. The answer is Bruce Smith. BAAAAD THINGS MAN.

Wake Forest: Presented without Comment.

It’s Brian Piccolo.

6 Responses to “The Greatest Players For Every BCS Conference School Part 1: The ACC”

  1. Just for kicks, I’m going to give you a different player for each school….check this out.

    Boston College: Matt Ryan (arguably best pro QB out of BC)
    Clemson: CJ Spiller (wait till he gets more carries)
    Duke: Steve Spurrier (okay, he’s a coach…but damn)
    Florida State: Derrick Brooks (best def end in the 90’s)
    Georgia Tech: Keith Brooking (the hype behind him was so high)
    Maryland: Boomer Esiasion (should’ve got a ring vs. 49ers in SB)
    Miami: Michael Irvin (might’ve had best pro career of all Canes)
    UNC: Julius Peppers (dude could play the 4 for the Bulls now)
    NC State: Torry Holt (Every bit as good as Rivers)
    Virginia: Jamie Sharper (Forgotten on how good he really was)
    Virginia Tech: Deangelo Hall (He was so good in college, man)
    Wake Forest: Ricky Proehl (Rams don’t win the SB without him)

    Nice list Okori, awesome work.


  2. Ron Glover says:

    I’ll take William Perry over Dawkins as a collegian. Three time All-American and an anchor on their Nat’l Championship team. I’ll take Tory Holt over Phillip Rivers, Pat Swilling over Megatron and Jerome Brown over anyone at the “U”.

  3. RBD says:

    I agree with the previous poster who voted for Torry Holt at NC State. Tiebreaker with Rivers: Holt set a rookie record for receiving yards in a Super Bowl. Apples and oranges? Sure. But I’d vote for Holt at this point for longevity. Perhaps Rivers will supplant him one day.

  4. Temple3 says:

    Great stuff.

    Very creative and thoughtful stuff.

    I love your train of thought on picking Ed Reed. I’d still pick Lewis because I believe he has had a monumental impact on the game and the league and the Ravens franchise. He is clearly the face, heartbeat, and co-brains (with Reed) of that team. Both are truly phenomenal players I’ve been blessed to watch. I would say that Reed’s claim to being the best safety is all-time is limited to a consideration of COVER SAFETIES and for me, this means, he’s blocked by Ronnie Lott who could do it all. Lott was a big hitter and he began his career as a corner. Was he as prolific a cover corner or return man as Reed — not close…but when it comes to tackling, Lott’s skills more than make up for his relative ball-hawking limits…and Lott was STILL all that as a ball hawk. He does have 63 career interceptions…including 10 as a free safety and 8 as a strong safety. That’s my guy.

    Also, I’m with taking Holt over Rivers. Holt should go to the Hall fairly soon. I think he’s either second or third in career yards per game — and he’s higher up than alot of more celebrated receivers. He was excellent in all phases and has the ring. Rivers has to break through the championship ceiling to get where Torry holds court.

    Just one thing…it’s hard to say this: “This is a list of the greatest NFL players, but college performance is weighted equally.” Even with this approach, Tom Brady gets strong consideration for Michigan’s greatest player. Given how you’ve set it up, though, there can only be one answer if not Brady.

    It seems to me that even though I’m not a big fan of Matt Ryan, he’s going to knock Flutie off that perch fairly soon because Flutie simply doesn’t have much of an NFL career to eclipse. Collegiately, it’s no match, but the NFL stuff will soon be a landslide.

  5. Temple3 says:

    RG — Great call on Swilling. I couldn’t think of him but I knew Calvin Johnson wasn’t that dude — not yet. His career stats are barely better than Dwayne Bowe’s and Bowe isn’t even in LSU’s top 30.

    I think the call between Jerome Brown and Ray Lewis is close. Lewis is truly an NFL icon…moreso than any non-QB in the league can be…moreso than any accused murderer could hope to be. His is the fulfilled promise of Jerome Brown and all the other Canes who came and left the league. He’s that dude.

  6. CFB Expert says:

    As a CFB expert, I have to say BC’s best is probably Matt Ryan, even though Flutie won the heisman. Gave even SEC and Boise State fans fits. Didn’t win the heisman because of the team, but clearly better qb. Love Flutie though, as does any FB (pro or college) fan.