Earl Campbell Named ESPN’s No. 7 Greatest College Football Player

You really didn’t think they’d leave out The Tyler Rose, did you?

Last week, we posted the names of four Longhorns who ESPN had named to the Top 150 Greatest Players list, a celebration marking 150 years of college football. No Texas players landed in the top 50, but that wasn’t what irked Longhorn Nation. No, the question, oft marked with extra exclamation points and all-caps was: “WHERE’S EARL?!!!” If there’s one thing people like to argue about, it’s completely subjective lists.

As some astute readers quickly noted, this list did not yet include the top 25. Last night, at halftime of the LSU vs. Clemson national championship game, ESPN rolled out the red carpet for the top 11, which, for our readers’ sanity, thankfully included Earl Campbell at No. 7, behind six other running backs: Red Grange, Jim Thorpe, Archie Griffin, Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker, and No. 1 Jim Brown.

Those fans would’ve had reason to riot (at least in comments sections). Campbell, perhaps the most sought-out recruit in college football history when he enrolled at UT, was the first Longhorn to win the Heisman Trophy. A four-year starter, Campbell rushed for 100 yards 10 times in 1977, a Texas record. The two-time consensus first-team All-American finished his Texas career with 4,443 rushing yards and 40 touchdowns, which led to the Houston Oilers drafting him first overall in the 1978 NFL Draft. In 1990, he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame and then to the Pro Football Hall of Fame the following year. It would have been negligent to have left Campbell off, causing brunt-orange outrage from Austin to Zavalla.

The other Longhorns rounding out the list are Tommy Nobis (No. 54), Ricky Williams (No. 57), Bobby Layne (No.75), and Vince Young (No. 81).

With Earl given his due, now there’s nothing left to argue about. Except, wait. Ricky at 57? Andrew Luck 17 spots ahead of Vince? We could argue about this all day.


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