18 Orange Bowl Alumni Named to FWAA 75th Anniversary All-America Team
In honor of its 75th anniversary, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) recently announced its 75th Anniversary All-America Team. The team features FWAA members’ choices for the 75 best college football players of all-time.
The list includes 18 players who took the field in games hosted by the Orange Bowl, nearly a quarter of the team. Among the Orange Bowl’s 18 alumni are 11 College Football Hall of Famers, eight Orange Bowl Hall of Famers, four Pro Football Hall of Famers, and two Heisman Trophy winners.
Of the 18, seven Orange Bowl alumni were named to the first team: TE Keith Jackson (Oklahoma, 1985-86), OL John Hannah (Alabama, 1972), OL Will Shields (1992-93), C Dave Rimington (Nebraska, 1981-82), DT Lee Roy Selmon (Oklahoma, 1976), LB Tommy Nobis (Texas, 1965), and RS Johnny Rodgers (Nebraska 1971-73).
Jackson caught a 71-yard touchdown pass in Oklahoma’s 25-10 win over Penn State in the 1986 National Championship. Selmon was on that team as well, recording 10 tackles while anchoring the defensive line. Nobis had one of the more memorable plays in Orange Bowl history as he stopped Alabama’s Joe Namath on a 4th-and-goal play to preserve a 21-17 win for Texas.
Rodgers sits amongst Orange Bowl royalty, winning three straight Orange Bowls with Nebraska, including the National Championship in 1971 and ‘72. However, it was his performance in the 1973 game that cemented his Orange Bowl legacy. Rodgers concluded his Heisman Trophy-winning season with a five-touchdown performance against Notre Dame. He rushed for three touchdowns, caught a 50-yard touchdown and even threw a 52-yard touchdown on a halfback pass play. His 24 points scored in 1973 and 30 career points scored in Orange Bowl games are both tied for first all-time.
The second team is highlighted by former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow (Florida, 2009). He is joined by LB Brian Bosworth (Oklahoma, 1986) and RS Raghib Ismail (Notre Dame, 1990-91). Tebow led his Gators to a National Championship in 2009 over Oklahoma and was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player with a pair of touchdown passes. Bosworth was on the same Oklahoma National Championship team with Jackson and Selmon, and recorded 13 solo tackles in the game.
Finally, the third team includes QB Tommie Frazier (Nebraska 1993-95), OL Barrett Jones (Alabama, 2013), OL Dean Steinkuhler (Nebraska, 1984), LB Jack Ham (Penn State, 1969-70), LB Lee Roy Jordan (Alabama, 1963), DB Troy Polamalu (USC, 2003), DB Roy Williams (Oklahoma, 2001), and P Rohn Stark (Florida State, 1980-81).
Frazier joins the list of Nebraska legends who find themselves in the Orange Bowl record books. After losing the National Championship Game at the Orange Bowl in 1994 despite being named the game’s Most Outstanding Player, he came back in 1995 and defeated Miami to clinch Tom Osborne’s first national title as the coach of the Cornhuskers. He was named Most Outstanding Player for the second year in a row and currently ranks fifth all-time in career Orange Bowl passing yards with 377. Steinkuhler was a part of one of the most famous plays in college football history on the field of the Orange Bowl as he picked up fumble and ran for a touchdown in the play that became known as the “fumblerooskie.” Jordan set an Orange Bowl record with 31 total tackles as he led Alabama to a shutout victory over Oklahoma in front of President John F. Kennedy.
Nebraska led the way with five players from its former Orange Bowl teams named to the All-America team. Oklahoma was second with four. Not coincidentally, those two teams have the two most Orange Bowl appearances of all-time. Alabama was third with three players and also is tied for third in Orange Bowl appearances. The Orange Bowl players selected span 51 years, with the oldest being Lee Roy Jordan from the 1963 game and the most recent being Barrett Jones from the 2013 National Championship.
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