Before the start of the College Football National Championship Game between LSU and Clemson Monday night, Barry Sanders posted this photo on Twitter saying, “In great company here at the CFB National Championship tonight!”
Sitting in front of the some of the all-time college football and NFL greats is Tyler’s Earl Campbell, who won a Heisman Trophy at Texas and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame.
Live on ESPN at halftime, announcer Reece Davis announced loudly to the crowd and on television, “The Tyler Rose Earl Campbell” as he was named one of the top 150 players in college football history.
The list was unveiled Monday night during halftime of the College Football Playoff national championship from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Campbell, who was an All-America running back at John Tyler High School and the University of Texas where he won the 1977 Heisman Trophy, was voted No. 7 on the list, which was celebrating 150 years college football.
The blue-ribbon panel was made up of 150 media members, college administrators, and former coaches and players.
Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach (Navy) and running back Herschel Walker (Georgia) were also in the top 11.
Running back Jim Brown, who played at Syracuse, was voted No. 1, followed by Walker, RB Bo Jackson (Auburn), RB Archie Griffin (Ohio State), back Jim Thorpe (Carlisle), RB Red Grange (Illinois), Campbell, linebacker Dick Butkus (Illinois), RB Barry Sanders (Oklahoma State), RB Gayle Sayers (Kansas) and Staubach.
Other notables in the top 25 were No. 12 DE Hugh Green (Pittsburgh), No. 13 RB Doc Blanchard (Army), No. 14 DT Bronko Nagurski (Minnesota), No. 15 RB Ernie Davis (Syracuse), No. 16 RB Walter Payton (Jackson State), No. 17 RB Tony Dorsett (Pittsburgh), No. 18 RB Glenn Davis (Army), No. 19 DE Reggie White (Tennessee), No. 20 RB Billy Sims (Oklahoma), No. 21 QB Peyton Manning (Tennessee), No. 22 RB Billy Cannon (LSU), No. 23 RB Doak Walker (SMU), No. 24 QB Davey O’Brien (TCU) and RB O.J. Simpson (USC).
Campbell will be presenting the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award in Tyler on Wednesday at the Willow Brook Country Club. The award is given to the best offensive player in NCAA Division I with Texas ties, was named in Campbell’s honor.
The finalists are Charlie Brewer, junior quarterback, Baylor, Austin (Lake Travis HS); Shane Buechele, junior quarterback, SMU, Arlington (Lamar HS); J.K. Dobbins, junior running back, Ohio State, La Grange (La Grange HS); Jalen Hurts, senior quarterback, Oklahoma, Houston (Channelview HS); and CeeDee Lamb, junior wide receiver, Oklahoma, Richmond (Foster HS).
All finalists were invited to the event and the emcee is Ron Franklin, legendary sports commentator, former voice of ESPN College Football and the Houston Oilers.
Back to the photo, here are the greats in the photo, starting with Campbell who is seated and then the players from left.
Nicknamed “The Tyler Rose,” Campbell started his career as a running back as a senior at John Tyler where he rushed for 2,036 yards and led his team to a 15-0 record and the Class 4A state championship. He continued his success at the University of Texas with 4,443 career yards and 40 TDs with 1,744 yards and 18 TDs in his Heisman Trophy winning senior year in 1977. Campbell was two-time All-America (1975, 1977) and helped the Longhorns to two Southwest Conference titles.
Archie Griffin is a two-time Heisman Trophy winner and a College Football Hall of Fame member, as he led Ohio State to four Rose Bowl appearances in college. In the NFL, the Ohio native led the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl.
Barry Sanders was recently named as one of the NFL’s top 10 running backs of all-time as he ran for an amazing 15,269 yards in just 10 seasons and scored 109 touchdowns. In college at Oklahoma State, he won the Heisman Trophy when he set 10 NCAA records and had four games where he ran for over 300 yards.
Roger Staubach was known as an elusive, running and passing quarterback at Navy and with the Dallas Cowboys, earning the nickname Roger the Dodger while leading “America’s Team.” Staubach was recently named to the NFL Top 10 All-Time QB list and was a Super Bowl MVP and won the Heisman Trophy.
Tony Dorsett’s birth name is Anthony, but the initials TD made sense, as the Dallas Cowboys great and NFL Hall of Famer set the NFL record with a 99-yard touchdown run. He won the Heisman Trophy at Pitt and won a Super Bowl with the Cowboys. He’s also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Herschel Walker won a Heisman Trophy and a National Championship at Georgia and is a member of the College Hall of Fame. He played with the Dallas Cowboys with Dorsett and played for three other teams. In the USFL out of college, he ran for 5,562 yards in just three seasons. He competed in the Olympics in bobsledding and was a MMA fighter as well.
Jim Brown is considered the best running back ever to play in the NFL and was named to the top 10 all-time team. He played nine-year career for the Cleveland Browns, running for 12,312 yards and scored 126 touchdowns. In college at Syracuse University, he not only played football, but played basketball, track and lacrosse.
(Sports Editor Phil Hicks contributed to this report)