Auburn's greatest football players
The top three pillars of the program are in the video above -- now check out who just missed the cut ...
Auburn has built a tradition of developing gifted athletes into stars. Considered by many to be the greatest pure athlete that ever lived, Bo Jackson sparked an exciting time for Tigers football in the early 80s. The Pat Dye era in Auburn brought so much success to the program, it didn’t even wait until his retirement to name the field after him.
The players on this list made Auburn coaching legends like Dye and Ralph “Shug” Jordan into household names and represent the foundation of Auburn football.
Running Back | 1982-85
♦ 1985 Heisman Trophy
♦ Career: 4,303 rush yds., 43 TDs
Quarterback | 2010
♦ 2010 Heisman Trophy
♦ 2010: 30 pass TDs, 24 rush TDs
Quarterback | 1969-71
♦ 1971 Heisman Trophy
♦ Career: 6,534 pass yds., 54 TDs
Wide Receiver | 1969-71
♦ Consensus All-American (1971)
♦ Career: 2,624 rec. yds., 29 TDs
Running Back | 1977-80
♦ Career: 3,523 rush yds., 24 TDs
♦ 1979: Led SEC with 1,208 rush yds.
Running Back | 1962-64
♦ Consensus All-American (1964)
♦ Career: 1,079 rush yds., 8 TDs
Defensive Tackle | 1987-88
♦ 1988 Lombardi Award
♦ Career: 354 tackles, 21 sacks
|Carnell “Cadillac” Williams
Running Back | 2001-05
♦ Career: 3,831 rush yds., 45 TDs
♦ Led SEC in TDs in 2003 & '04
Before Pat Dye on the timeline of Auburn coaching legends was Ralph “Shug” Jordan. Jordan oversaw Pat Sullivan’s 1971 Heisman Trophy season. Sullivan’s favorite target throughout his entire Auburn career was wide receiver Terry Beasley. Beasley was All-American in 1970 and '71. Sullivan’s ’71 Heisman bid was highlighted by a 70-yard touchdown pass to Beasley in a mid-November game against Georgia, the Tigers final win that season.
“Sullivan to Beasley,” was heard 147 times from 1969 to '71, giving Beasley had a total of 2,624 receiving yards and 29 touchdowns. He led the SEC in receptions, receiving yards and scoring with his 1,051-yard, 52 reception and 72-point effort in the 1970 season where he averaged more than 20 yards per reception.
A 27-27-1 record and more importantly five losses to Alabama cast a shadow over the 1976-80 seasons at Auburn. But the beam of light to come through it all was the running back legacy of James Brooks (’80), Willie Andrews (’79) and Joe Cribbs (’81). Nobody in the history of the program has more all-purpose yards than Brooks' 5,596.
Brooks has more kick-return yardage (1,726) than any other Tiger and his 3,523 rushing yards puts him just short of Jackson and Williams for the all-time lead. Brooks averaged 7.4 yards per carry and had 10 touchdowns in 1979 and his 1,208 rushing yards led the SEC.
The top running back of the Shug Jordan era was Tucker Frederickson, a player Jordan once called the, “most complete” football player he’d ever coached. Frederickson became the first of 23 Auburn running backs to move on to play professional football when he was selected with the first overall pick in the 1965 NFL Draft by the New York Giants.
He had 1,318 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns in his three seasons at Auburn. His 4.5 yards per carry and 576 yards earned him SEC Player of the Year and All-American honors in 1964. Frederickson made it to one Bowl game in three years under Jordan, losing the 1963 Orange Bowl 13-7 to Nebraska. Frederickson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
Pat Dye caught lightning in a bottle when he was lucky enough to have Bo Jackson in his backfield in only Dye’s second season as head coach. Jackson’s emergence as a star of the program marked the early stages of Auburn being known as “Running Back U.” However, the standout in Dye’s next incoming class was a defensive tackle named Tracy Rocker.
Rocker’s senior season at Auburn in 1988, was completed by many firsts. He was the first Auburn player to win the Lombardi Award for college lineman of the year and the Outland Trophy for the best interior lineman in the same year. He was also the first player in SEC history to accomplish this feat in the same season. Rocker racked up 354 tackles and 21 sacks during his time at Auburn.
Carnell “Cadillac” Williams
Cadillac Williams partnered with Ronnie Brown to form one of the best running back duos of the past decade. When his tenure at Auburn was complete, Williams eclipsed school records for carries and rushing touchdowns. He finished his college career with 3,831 yards (second in school history behind Jackson) in 741 attempts and 45 touchdowns, surpassing Jackson’s mark of 43.
Williams' 276 points scored trail only two kickers, Wes Byrum and John Vaughn, for most all time at Auburn, it also put him past Jackson’s mark of 274 points as a Tiger (don’t worry, Bo knows Cadillac played in three more games). Williams, Brown and quarterback Jason Campbell led the Tigers to a perfect 13-0, SEC championship season in 2004, but were muscled out of national championship contention by the perfect records of USC and Oklahoma.