10 Tigers Who Were All-SEC Level Without The Title

Columnist Phillip Marshall writes about 10 Auburn football players from different eras who were very good players despite never being granted All-SEC status.

As magazines hit the newstands with their predictions of who will win championships, who the top players will be in the coming season, it's wise to remember that some of them make good reading, but nobody ever won a football championship in July.

As I read preseason predictions for All-SEC and All-America teams, I started thinking about some of the players who never made any of those teams. Who, I wondered, are the best Auburn players who never took home any all-star hardware? If you have nothing better to do on a slow summer day, check out these 10:

1. Dameyune Craig, QB, 1994-97. As a senior, Craig led Auburn to 10 wins and within a point of the SEC championship in 1997 almost single-handedly. He did it with remarkable athletic ability and with a will so strong that his teammates believed he could do almost anything. I'm not sure there's ever been a better quarterback at Auburn, and that includes Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan.

2. Tommy Lorino, HB, 1956-58. In the days of two-way players and before high-powered offenses, gaudy statistics were rare. Lorino did good to get 10 carries a game, but with his speed and elusiveness, he was one of the more feared backs in college football. How different were things then? Lorino led the SEC in rushing as a sophomore, gaining 692 yards on just 82 carries, and still didn't make All-SEC.

3. Kevin Greene, DE, 1983-84. Greene walked on, was cut, bulked up and walked back on. Greene became an outstanding defensive end at Auburn and went on to a Hall of Fame career in the NFL, breaking the league record for sacks.

4. Lloyd Nix, QB, 1956-58. Nix was moved from halfback to quarterback before the 1957 season and responded by leading the Tigers to a national championship. Nix was not spectacular. He just did what it took to win. His record as a starter? 19-0-1.

5. William Andrews, FB, 1976-78. Andrews overcame injuries early in his career and became one of the more dominating blocking backs in SEC history. Giving up individual honors, he cleared the path for tailbacks James Brooks and Joe Cribbs. He went on to a spectacular career as a running back with the Atlanta Falcons..

6. Lionel James, HB, 1980-83. James, widely known as "Little Train," was one of the more popular players in Auburn history. Despite his diminutive stature, he was a devastating blocker in Auburn's wishbone and a big-play threat. He went on to an outstanding five-year career with the San Diego Chargers.

7. Fred Beasley, FB, 1994-97: Beasley started his career as a tailback, but he really blossomed at fullback. He could run, catch and block. He plays today for the San Francisco '49ers.

8. Ron Stallworth, DT, 1985-88: Stallworth came to Auburn with much fanfare. He was rated the No. 1 defensive player in the country by USA Today. Stallworth lived up to that billing, but most of the glory went to teammate Tracy Rocker.

9. Tommie Agee, FB, 1983-86: Agee was the consummate wishbone fullback, then became an outstanding I-formation fullback when Auburn changed offenses. He went on to a seven-year NFL career with the Seahawks, Chiefs and Cowboys.

10. Tony Richardson, FB, 1990-93. Richardson was a talented and versatile player who was equally comfortable running, catching or blocking. And he still is. Richardson has played the last seven seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs.

This list could have gone on and on. I probably have left out someone who is deserving, maybe more deserving than those listed here. But the point is that, while honors are nice, some talented and deserving players, maybe more talented tan deserving than those who are honored, are often overlooked. So it has always been and always will be.

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