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Mountaineer Gameday: Staubach among players I want to see play again

By Frank Giardina

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Here are some college football players I would enjoy seeing play one more time.

TERRY BEASLEY, Auburn  - The smallish, redhead wide receiver was like Opie Taylor playing college football. In the run-oriented SEC, Beasley and quarterback Pat Sullivan lit up the college football world as a passing combination in the fall of 1971. Sullivan, now the Coach at Samford, would end up winning the Heisman Trophy.  

KI-JANA CARTER, Penn State - The former Nittany Lion Heisman runner-up led his team to an undefeated season in 1994. He was a rare combination of sprinter speed, size and strength. He would be the first pick of the draft by the Bengals in the spring of 1995, but knee injuries slowed his career.

DICK LEFTRIDGE, West Virginia - The former WVU star from Hinton was one of the first African-American players at WVU. He was a larger than life combination of speed and power as a Mountaineer running back in the mid-60s. His NFL career did not work out, but the Steelers thought enough of him to make him a first round draft pick.  

JOHNNY MUSSO, Alabama - With my Italian background, how could I not love a player nicknamed "The Italian Stallion". He was a real athlete, unlike Rocky Balboa. Musso was a beloved Crimson Tide running back that led them to play for the national championship in the 1971 Orange Bowl.

JOE NAMATH, Alabama - Namath was cool even before he became Broadway Joe with the New York Jets. In Tuscaloosa, he became a legend for his ability to throw the ball. In college, before he injured his knees, he was also a phenomenal athlete with great running ability.  

JOHNNY RODGERS, Nebraska - The former Cornhuskers star was one of the most electrifying players of the early 70s. He led the Cornhuskers to a dominating national championship run and he also won the Heisman Trophy in 1971.  

SONNY SIXKILLER, Washington - One of the great names in all of college football. Sixkiller was a national story as an under-sized native American who played quarterback for the Huskies. He is a college football legend in the Pacific Northwest.  

BUBBA SMITH, Michigan State - In the fall of 1966, people were scared of Michigan State star Bubba Smith. Spartan fans added to his intimidation by wearing buttons that said "Kill Bubba Kill." He played on one of the best teams in Big Ten history.

ROGER STAUBACH, Navy - You could make a case for Staubach as the best college football quarterback ever. He was an incredible athlete and led the underdog Midshipmen to the 1963 national championship game where they lost to Texas in the Cotton Bowl. Staubach won the Heisman Trophy in 1963.  

REGGIE WHITE, Tennessee - He was a Pro Football Hall of Famer with the Philadelphia Eagles. Before the NFL, the native of Chattanooga was a college star as a Tennessee Vol. Even in college, White was making life miserable for SEC quarterbacks and running backs.

MIKE BARBER, Marshall - I loved watching this guy play. He was also a great story. Barber was an athletic quarterback for Leon McCoy at Winfield High School in the 80s. He slipped through the recruiting cracks and eventually signed with Marshall. They converted him to wide receiver and the rest is history. He became an all-American and a college football Hall of Fame and played in the NFL with the 49ers and Bengals. Barber was the face of the 1987 Marshall team that played in the I-AA championship game.


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