Bye week boredom: another All-time Hawkeye ranking

I'd say this type of thing has been done enough, but I kind of feel like it hasn't for Iowa football.  The only all-time lists published in Iowa Football's Media Fact Book are outdated or at least not up to date, the most recent being over 10 years old.  Plus, I think it is a bit too hard to choose one player at every position, especially given how much the functions of the various positions have changed over the last 100-odd years.  Doing so leaves too many great players out.

So here's my best effort... I tried to give approximately equal weight to all eras.  This is not a measure of how well a 1920's player would stand up in today's game, nor of how a modern player would dominate in a past era.  This is meant to be an examination of how well Iowa players stacked up against their peers, what they meant to their team/the program, and a ranking of their bodies of work against one another without respect to era.

Another value I see to doing this is reflected in how Ferentz-centric younger Iowa fans can be in their thinking about Iowa football.  For instance, the recently departed Rick Stanzi was a highly successful QB, but if for lack of historical context you think he ranks among the very best Iowa QB's ever, guess again.  There was a lot of great football played around Iowa City long before Ferentz became head coach--thankfully there's been a lot of great football since then as well.

I'm not altogether wizened myself, but I'm no spring chicken either at 30 years old.  My Iowa football memory begins in the mid/late 1980's.  In addition to my own memory I've relied on a lifetime's worth of anecdotal evidence from my dad, who's followed closely since the late 1960's, and from numerous old-timer acquaintances whose football recollections date back to the Evashevski era (that's the 1950's, y'all).  Statistical research, national awards, statistical school records, conference honors and other writings/sources (such as The Director's excellent series of posts) round out the method for determining the top 5 players at each position, as well as ranking the coaches and the 15 greatest teams of all time.  It should be noted that in bygone eras, players often starred on both sides of the ball.  Therefore, in some cases, great players are ranked at more than one position here.

Enough preface already--let's get to it...afterwards you can tear me apart in the comments.


  1. Chuck Long (1982-1985)
  2. Randy Duncan (1956-1958)
  3. Aubrey Devine (1919-1921)
  4. Brad Banks (2001-2002)
  5. Chuck Hartlieb (1984-1988)

Each of the top four QB's played a huge role in raising the program to a new level and led their teams to some of the greatest seasons/records in school history.  The 5th was just absurdly prolific on two good teams.  Honorable mentions: Ken Ploen (1954-1956), Drew Tate (2003-2006), Matt Rodgers (1989-1991), Joe Laws (1931-1933), ___________ (optimistically saving space for VDB)


  1. Sedrick Shaw (1993-1996)
  2. Ronnie Harmon (1982-1985)
  3. Shonn Greene (2005-2008)
  4. Nile Kinnick (1937-1939)
  5. Tavian Banks (1994-1997)

Shaw is the most prolific career RB in Iowa history.  Harmon was a dual-threat runner/pass-catcher like none we've had before or since.  Greene had the greatest season, Kinnick won the Heisman and Banks was the fastest/slipperiest runner of them all.  Honorable mentions: Nick Bell (1988-1990), Ed Pololak (1966-1968), Willis Glassgow (1927-1929), Bob Jeter (1957-1960), Fred Russell (2000-2003), Owen Gill, (1981-1984), Albert Young, (2004-2007), Ladell Betts (1998-2001)


  1. Gordon Locke (1920-1922)
  2. Bill Reichardt (1949-1951)
  3. David Hudson (1985-1988)*
  4. Norm Granger (1980-1983)*
  5. Lew Montgomery (1989-1992)

Fullback hasn't been a real big position for us in, oh, 50 years, so I've got to acquiesce to the wisdom of earlier all-time rankings that place Locke and Reichardt at the top.  (*Hudson and Granger added upon nomination by 'Kluginator'--see comments).  Honorable mention: Jeremy Allen (1998-2001)


  1. Marvin McNutt (2008-2011) -- if not #1 already, then, barring injury, certainly four months from now
  2. Tim Dwight (1995-1998)
  3. Derrell Johson-Koulianos (2007-2010)
  4. Mo Brown (2000-2003)
  5. Quinn Early (1984-1987)

McNutt is currently on pace to break the career yardage, TD's and season TD's marks this season.  If he'd started out as a WR it wouldn't even be close--best hands I've seen at Iowa combined with speed and a huge frame.  That said, we've not exactly been a wide-out factory over the years.  Honorable mentions: Danan Hughes (1989-1992), Keith Chapelle (1978-1980), Kevin Kaspar (1997-2000), Dave Moritz (1980-1983)


  1. Marv Cook (1985-1988)
  2. Dallas Clark (2000-2002)
  3. Lester Belding (1918-1921)
  4. Erwin Prasse (1937-1939)
  5. Jim Gibbons (1955-1957)

We have been a TE factory, but I don't have time to list all of them we've sent to the NFL, so here are just a few... Honorable mentions: Jon Hayes (1981-1984), Scott Slutzker (1992-1995), Tony Moeaki (2005-2009)

OL 2-deeps (1st team, 2nd team)

    C - Jerry Hilgenberg (1951-1953), Mike Devlin (1989-1992)
    G - Calvin Jones (1953-19565, Mike Haight (1981-1985)
    G - Eric Steinbach (1999-2002), John Niland (1962-1965)
    T - Robert Gallery (2000-2003), Mike Enich (1937-1940)
    T - Duke Slater (1918-1921), Dave Crosten (1982-1986)

Again, too many great O-lineman over the decades to list... Honorable mentions: Bruce Nelson (2000-2002), John Alt (1981-1983), Casey Wiegman (1992-1995), Bryan Bulaga (2007-2009)


  1. Nate Kaeding (2000-2003)
  2. Rob Houghtlin (1985-1987)
  3. Kyle Slicher (2003-2006)
  4. Tom Nichol (1981-1984)
  5. Brion Hurley (1993-1996)


  1. Alex Karras (1956-1957)
  2. Jared Devries (1995-1998)
  3. Dave Haight (1985-1988)
  4. Mark Bortz (1979-1982)
  5. Colin Cole (1999-2002)

Honorable mentions: Mitch King (2005-2008), Karl Klug (2008-2010), Mike Wells (1991-1993)


  1. Andre Tippett (1979-1981)
  2. Matt Roth (2001-2004)
  3. Adrian Clayborn (2007-2010)
  4. Leroy Smith (1989-1991)
  5. Aaron Kampman (1998-2001)


  1. Larry Station (1982-1985)
  2. Chad Greenway (2002-2005)
  3. Pat Angerer (2006-2009)
  4. Andre Jackson (1972-1975)
  5. Brad Quast (1986-1989)

Honorable mentions: Abdul Hodge (2002-2005), Fred Barr (1999-2002), Bobby Diaco (1993-1995)


  1. Bob Jeter (1957-1959)
  2. Merton Hanks (1988-1991) (played CB at Iowa but safety in pros)
  3. Tom Knight (1992-1996)
  4. Gordon Locke (1920-1922)
  5. Ken Ploen (1954-1956)

Honorable mention: Jovan Johnson--for the ridiculous number of picks (2003-2005), Shaun Prater (2008-2011)


  1. Nile Kinnick (1937-1939)
  2. Bob Sanders (2000-2004)
  3. Tyler Sash (2008-2010)
  4. Bobby Stoops (1979-1982)
  5. Willis Glassgow (1927-1929)

Honorable mentions: Devon Mitchell (1982-1985), Sean Considine (2001-2004), Brett Greenwood (2007-2010) Plez Atkins (1994-1997)


  1. Reggie Roby (1979-1982)
  2. Ryan Donahue (2006-2010)
  3. Jason Baker (1997-2000)
  4. Nick Gallery (1993-1996)
  5. Nile Kinnick (1937-1939)


  1. Tim Dwight (1995-1998)
  2. Kahlil Hill (1999-2001)
  3. Andy Brodell (2005-2008)
  4. Ed Hinkel (2002-2005)

We had a pretty good run of return men going there for a while, didn't we?  Honorable mention goes to Earl Douthitt (1972-1974) who holds several career kick return records, though I suspect that's because they sucked so much defensively in the '70's that they were constantly returning kickoffs.



  1. Hayden Fry (1979-1997)
  2. Forest Evashevski (1952-1960)
  3. Kirk Ferentz (1998-present)
  4. Howard Jones (1916-1923)
  5. Eddie Anderson (1939-1942)(1946-1949)

Fry gets the nod for 1) reviving a dead dog program and 2) sustaining it at a very high level for two decades.  Evashevski might represent the pinnacle of the 120-year program, with two Rose Bowl victories and 3 top-three rankings.  Kirk is on his way (though floundering somewhat these past 12 months).  Before you have a fit, understand that I think he could still pass Evy with sustained success and Fry with a Rose Bowl appearance or two.  He's got time.  Jones holds the longest win streak in school history, though in fairness I think there was a good bit less parity in those days.  After Eddie Anderson there's a pretty dramatic drop off (I'm not giving much weight to the 2-season coaches of 100+ years ago who beat up on Cornell and Iowa State Teacher's College by 90 points).


  1. 1958 - B10 champs (outright), Rose Bowl Champs, AP #2
  2. 1921 - B10 champs (outright), undefeated, named Nat. Champs by two polls
  3. 1956 - B10 champs (outright), Rose Bowl Champs, AP #3
  4. 1985 - B10 champs (outright), lost Rose Bowl by 1 to UCLA on Harmon fumbles, held AP #1 for 6 weeks of season, finished AP #10
  5. 1922 - B10 champs (outright), undefeated, named Nat. Champs by one poll
  6. 1960 - B10 T-1, held AP #1 during season, AP #3
  7. 1939 - B10 2nd place, "Iron Men", AP #9
  8. 2002 - B10 T-1, record 11 wins, lost Orange Bowl, AP #8
  9. 2009 - B10 2nd place, 11 wins, Orange Bowl champs, AP #7
  10. 2004 - B10 T-1, 10 wins, Capitol One Bowl champs (barely), AP #8
  11. 1991 - B10 2nd place, 10 wins, tied Holiday Bowl, AP #10
  12. 1981 - B10 T-1, lost Rose Bowl (28-0) to Washington, AP #18
  13. 1990 - B10 T-1, lost Rose Bowl to Washington, AP # 18
  14. 2003 - B10 T-4, 10 wins, Outback Bowl champs, AP #8
  15. 1987 - B10 T-2, 10 wins, Holiday Bowl champs, AP #16

Well, there it is--thanks for sticking with me to the end.  I won't say it's definitive, but I gave it my best effort.  I'm curious to hear what you all have to add/subtract, especially any of you old-timers out there who remember the earlier eras.

Unless otherwise expressly indicated by BHGP editors, this FanPost is strictly the viewpoint of the author and is not endorsed by BHGP in any way.

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