QB: Steve Bartkowski – California: This was one of the last group of players that had to deal with freshmen not being eligible. Bartkowski had to sit out his freshman season and then he had to compete with Vince Ferragamo for playing time in 1972. They split time for two seasons before Bartkowski was named the starter for 1974 and Ferragamo transferred to Nebraska, of all places. Bartkowski led the nation in passing as a senior in 1974 and therefore made consensus All American. In the 1975 NFL Draft, Bartkowski was the first player picked but the Atlanta Falcons. He was NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and then he went on to throw for almost 25,000 yards in his 12 year career. Even though his last year was spent in Los Angeles, Bartkowski is a Falcon through and through and is on the board of directors.
RB: Anthony Davis – USC: Davis was not only a great Running Back for the Trojans, he was also a great return man and one of the more famous games in USC history was their Comeback Game against Notre Dame. Notre Dame was pounding USC until Anthony Davis’ Kickoff return turned the The Comeback Game
Davis is behind only Charles White and Marcus Allen on the all time rushing list at USC. In 1974, Davis ran for over 1,400 yards and his most notable game came against Notre Dame. He was a Notre Dame killer in both 1972 and 1974. Davis finished only behind Archie Griffin in the 1974 Heisman race. Heisman voting
Davis was known for his unique running style.
RB: Archie Griffin – Ohio State: The 1974 season was Archie’s first to win the Heisman Trophy. Even thought Griffin repeated in 1975, this 1974 season was actually his best college year with 1,695 rushing yards and 12 rushing Touchdowns. The Buckeyes finished 10-2 this season after a shocking and controversial loss at Michigan State and a one point loss to USC in the Rose Bowl. Archie Griffin kind of reminds of a ball in the pinball games and was just quick and explosive and bounced all over the place. He was not a big man at probably 5-9, 180, but when hit he often bounced and took off for more yardage. He was also tough and durable and he will always be a college football legend because of his two Heismans, his endurance and his heart.
RB: Joe Washington – Oklahoma: Port Arthur, Texas legend Washington was another smaller Running Back. But, he was also super fast and explosive. The speedster Washington ran for 1,321 yards and 13 Touchdowns for the 11-0 national champions Oklahoma Sooners. Washington’s production dropped off in 1975, but he did rush for nearly 4,000 career yards at Oklahoma and he finished 3rd in the Heisman voting in 1974 behind Archie Griffin and Anthony Davis. Washington was the 4th player picked in the 1976 NFL Draft with teammate Lee Roy Selmon going with the 1st pick. Washington had a productive NFL career and was used as a receiver coming out of the backfield a lot.
WR: Pete Demmerle – Notre Dame: Greenwich, Connecticut and New Canaan High School native Demmerle was a senior in 1974 and in his second season as a starter. He hauled in 43 receptions for over 600 yards and 6 Touchdowns. He was also a big part of the 1973 national championship team. Demmerle went to law school after college instead of the NFL and worked in the insurance industry.
Unfortunately, Pete Demmerle passed away in 2007 from Lou Gehrig Disease.
TE: Bennie Cunningham – Clemson: Considered to this day the greatest Tight End in Clemson history. Started 3 seasons for the Tigers and he was a junior in 1974. For the season, he caught 24 passes which resulted in 7 Touchdowns. After his senior season, he was picked in the first round by the NFL powerhouse Pittsburgh Steelers. Cunningham moved into the lineup pretty quickly in Pittsburgh and became a beneficial piece of the last 2 out of the 4 Super Bowl championships. Cunningham played 10 seasons for the Steelers and retired after the 1985 season.
OL: Marvin Crenshaw – Nebraska: Toledo, Ohio product that signed with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Crenshaw was 6-6, 240 and was a football and basketball star in high school which often translates well for an Offensive Lineman. Crenshaw was a 6th round NFL draft pick by the world champion Pittsburgh Steelers but he had little impact in the NFL which was surprising.
OL: Gerry DiNardo – Notre Dame: Gerry DiNardo followed his older brother, Larry, to Notre Dame. Larry was a standout on the 1968 to 1970 teams and was also an All American. Gerry DiNardo was good, but he wasn’t very big as an Offensive Guard. He went straight into coaching and he eventually became head coach at Vanderbilt, LSU and Indiana.
OL: Ken Huff – North Carolina: Californian Huff crossed the country to play for the Tar Heels and he was really good. At 6-4, 260, Huff had great size and he came to North Carolina as a Defensive Tackle. Vince Dooley’s brother, Bill Dooley was the head coach at North Carolina and they moved Huff over to Offensive Guard and the rest is history. Huff was drafted by the Baltimore Colts with the 3rd pick of the 1st round. He played 11 years in the NFL with the Colts and later with the Washington Redskins. The Redskins had an incredible Offensive Line in those year with Hall of Fame member Russ Grimm, Mark May and Joe Jacoby to name the best of them.
OL: Steve Myers – Ohio State: Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin had 2 of his Offensive Linemen on the All American team. Steve Myers was the Center and the Captain of the Offensive Line calling the plays. Myers was a 3 year starter in the lineup from 1972 through 1974.
OL: John Roush – Oklahoma: Not only was John Roush a consensus All American, but this outstanding Offensive Guard was an Academic All American. He was a smart blocker for Oklahoma’s tremendous Wishbone offense run by Quarterback Steve Davis. Roush was part of an Offensive Line that opened holes for Davis and Halfback Joe Washington to run the table in 1974. The Sooners finished 11-0.
OL: Kurt Schumacher – Ohio State: Schumacher was another fantastic Offensive Lineman for the Buckeyes and Woody Hayes running offense. Schumacher was a decent sized 6-3, 255 Offensive Tackle and he was another 1st round pick, going 12th in 1975 to the New Orleans Saints.
DL: Rubin Carter – Miami: South Florida kid, Carter chose to stay close to home and play for the
Miami Hurricanes, but remember this was not the Canes we knew a few years later. Carter was a senior this season and he played 12 years for the Denver Broncos at Defensive Tackle. After his playing career ended, Carter got into coaching and he has been very successful as an assistant on the college level.
DL: Leroy Cook – Alabama: Very productive player that was a 2 time All American starting in 1974, his junior season. Cook was a 3 year starter and a threat to the Quarterback coming off the edge for the Crimson Tide. Cook was thought of us an early draft pick until injured while celebrating before the Sugar Bowl. The Dallas Cowboys took a chance on him, but his knee never recovered.
DL: Pat Donovan – Stanford: Donovan grew up in Montana and excelled in 3 sports. Impressively, he threw the shot in track and field and also ran in some sprints. Stanford recruits nationally, and Donovan was an instant star for them as a sophomore. Very productive career player culminated by great senior season. Donovan was a 4th round pick by the Dallas Cowboys, and at 6-5, 255 they converted him to an Offensive Tackle where he was a star and never missed a game.
DL: Mike Hartenstine – Penn State: Hartenstine was a great Defensive End for the Nittany Lions coming out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Hartenstine was one of the top players on a 10-2 Penn State and he was later picked by the Chicago Bears where he played for 12 seasons including the 1985 Super Bowl year. He played an additional year for the Minnesota Vikings which was a nice career for the 6-3, 250 Hartenstine.
DL: Louie Kelcher – SMU: Beaumont, Texas native Louie Kelcher was huge for his time at 6-5, 290. He wasn’t that well known in college because he played at SMU. But, the San Diego Chargers drafted him with their 2nd pick in the 1975 NFL draft and he was a star at that level. He made the All Rookie team and All Pro several times. He played 9 seasons in San Diego, but finished his career in San Francisco where he helped win a Super Bowl.
DL: Jimmy Webb – Mississippi State: Webb signed with the Bulldogs of Mississippi State out of Jackson, Mississippi. He was a dominating 6-5, 250 Defensive End or could move inside to Tackle. The San Francisco 49ers picked him with their first pick of the 1975 NFL Draft at number 10 and he played for them for 6 seasons. He finished his NFL career with another football season in San Diego.
DL: Randy White – Maryland: One of the great players of this generation. White was considered the best high school player in the state of Delaware’s history coming out of Wilmington. He was so fast, that he could have played any number of positions but was an All American Defensive End. The Dallas Cowboys picked him with the 2nd pick of the 1975 1st round of the draft. He’s a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and he won just about every other honor that’s available. The Dallas Cowboys
tried him at Linebacker before moving him to Defensive Tackle. Great one.
LB: Ken Bernich – Auburn: The Tigers of Auburn raided Louisiana to sign Bernich who was from Marrero. Bernich was a giant of a Linebacker for his time at 6-2, 250 and was drafted in the 4th round by the San Diego Chargers. He only played a season in the NFL before getting into high school football coaching.
LB: Woodrow Lowe – Alabama: Lowe was one of my favorite Linebackers from back in the day while playing for the greatest coach, Bear Bryant. I blogged about him a while back: Woodrow Lowe
Lowe was a junior in 1974 and a 3 time All American. The Phenix City, Alabama native still holds the single season tackle record at Alabama and he is 3rd all time in tackles. The San Diego Chargers must have taken every All American from this list as they took Lowe in the 5th round of the 1976 NFL draft. Lowe was a good NFL player with 11 seasons under his belt.
LB: Rod Shoate – Oklahoma: This was a good time for Linebackers with Lowe, Shoate and Richard Wood of USC. All of them were multiple year All Americans. Shoate was also a 3 time All American and although he was never very big, he surely could run. He teamed with the Selmon brothers Selmons
and Jimbo Elrod to form one of the greatest front 7’s in all of football. Shoate was a 2nd round pick of the New England Patriots and played there 7 seasons before going to the United States Football League chasing the big bucks. He passed away in 1999 after a long illness.
LB: Richard Wood – USC: Nicknamed Batman, Richard Wood was another outstanding Linebacker from this period. Wood was another 3 time All American and a star on the 1972 Trojans team that many think was the best ever. Wood came to USC from New Jersey and then the New York Jets picked him in the 3rd round. He didn’t stay home long as the Tampa Bay Bucs and his former coach John McKay traded for him. He was a star on a bad team in Tampa, but he played their 9 seasons and 11 seasons
total. One of college football’s all time greats, and a good pro as well.
DB: Dave Brown – Michigan: Brown was recruited out of Akron, Ohio to play Wide Receiver for the Wolverines, but after his freshman season he was all Safety and return man. He was a 2 time All American and a really solid hitter at 6-1, 190. After Michigan, Brown played an amazing 15 seasons in the NFL for the Steelers, the Seahawks and the Packers. Another one of the game’s greats from this time period.
DB: John Provost – Holy Cross: An almost unknown now, what set Provost apart was his 10 interceptions in 1974 and his punt return yardage. It’s unusual for a Holy Cross player to make All America, and Provost was also named best player in New England. He never played after college.
DB: Pat Thomas – Texas A%M: Thomas played on a state champion Plano, Texas team in high school before moving on to the Aggies. He was a multi-year All SWC before being named All American. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams and played in the NFL for 7 seasons. After his playing days were done, he was a coach in the Professional leagues for quite a while.