18 months ago, I started a project to name the All-time ASU football team. I received some great feedback from fans, and got in touch with some past players who provided invaluable insight. The project stalled for two reasons: mostly, I got distracted by work, but also, the selections proved far more difficult than I ever anticipated.
I don't want to quit, so the project is back on my front burner. But I need assistance.
First, a recap of the rules (which I set for myself): most importantly, this will be a true team, with the right number of players at each position. That means one halfback and one fullback for example. I'm not going to cheat like the NFL did when they named four quarterbacks to their 75th Anniversay All-Time team. This defeats the entire purpose: it's easy to say that Baugh, Graham, Unitas and Montana were all great; it's a lot harder to say which of them was the very best.
Players will be evaluated based on their college career, not their pro performance, and extended careers will carry more weight. So while Derrick Rodgers' performance in '96 was one of the great single seasons in Sun Devil history, it's not enough for him to make the team. Players will be judged at the position they played in college, not the pros, so Darren Woodson will have to make it as an OLB, not a SS. Football performance will also outweigh off-field contributions or all-around popularity, so while Pat Tillman was without doubt one of the greatest men ever to wear a Sun Devil uniform, he wasn't necessarily one of the two best OLBs in ASU history.
Realistically, only players from the WAC era and beyond will be considered (that's 1962 onwards). It is almost impossible to fairly evaluate players from the Border Conference days, although please let me know if you feel strongly about anyone excluded.
Some positions are relatively simple; others are very difficult. I already named the two cornerbacks: Mike Haynes and Eric Allen. Just 20 more to go. Please send me an e-mail with your suggestions or post comments to this article.