You Make The Call — Offensive Guard

Colorado has a rich history of strong play at offensive guard. Fourteen Buffalo guards have been named first-team all-conference since 1958. The following are BSN's top 5 Colorado offensive guards of the past 50 years, listed in alphabetical order. Follow the link at the bottom of the page to a poll where you can vote your No. 1 and/or make a case for a player left off the list.

Note: Two players that would vie for a spot on this list — Joe Romig and Leon White — are not on the list because they were on the top 5 lists at other positions. Romig is on BSN's top 5 at inside linebacker, and White is on the top 5 list at center.

Joe Garten
6-3, 280 pounds
1987-90
Placentia, Calif.
CU's only unanimous All-American at guard, Garten earned the distinction for the 1990 season, when he helped lead the Buffaloes to the national championship. He was runner up in the voting for the Outland Trophy Award that same year. Garten earned first-team All-American honors as a junior as well, and was first-team all-Big Eight as a junior and senior. Garten was a four-year starter from 1987-90. A Colorado team has rushed for over 3,000 yards in a season only six times in the past 30 years, and four of them were when Garten was in the lineup, including the program-best 4,090 yards in 1989. Garten played two seasons in the NFL with Green Bay.

Andre Gurode
6-4, 320 pounds
1998-01
Houston, Texas
The mauler from Houston played center early in his career at Colorado before taking over one of the guard spots during the 2000 season, when he was CU's lone member of the postseason first-team all-conference team. Gurode repeated the honor in 2001, as he dominated the line during CU's Big 12 Championship run. That run included CU's 62-36 manhandling of then-No. 2 ranked Nebraska at Folsom. A play (called 98G) when Gurode blocked a hapless Nebraska defender all the way through the end zone and pinned him against a wall containing the north stands symbolized CU's beatdown of the Cornhuskers, and will forever be etched in Colorado fans' memories. Gurode, who has started 44 games for the Dallas Cowboys the past four seasons, earned first-team All-America honors in 2001.

Heath Irwin
6-5, 285 pounds pounds
1993-95
Boulder, Colo.
Irwin played his entire senior season — 745 snaps — without giving up a quarterback sack or pressure, and without being called for a penalty. With Irwin in the starting lineup from 1993 to 1995, the Buffs' offense had its most prolific three-year period (averaging 5,325 yards a season) in school history. Irwin earned first-team all-conference and All-American honors as a senior. He played six seasons in the NFL.

Chris Naeole
6-4, 310 pounds
1993-96
Kaaawa, Hawaii
A Playboy Preseason All-American prior to his senior year in 1996, Naeole didn't disappoint. That season, Naeole became the first native of Hawaii to be named consensus All-American in 51 years. A player with the kind of mean streak you want in a lineman, Naeole was a two-time first-team all-conference pick. He set a school record of 58 pancake blocks in 1996 and didn't allow a sack in his final 28 games at Colorado. Since 1998, his second year in the NFL, Naeole has started each game his team has played — 126. He is a 10-year NFL veteran, currently with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

John Wooten
6-2, 230 pounds
1956-58
Carlsbad, N.M.
At 230 pounds, Wooten combined good quickness and toughness, and was a big physical presence for that era. He led the Buffs' potent offensive line as a three-year starter — he was the lone sophomore starter on the '56 team — who could both lead the sweep as a pulling guard, and deliver punishing blocks on trap plays. Wooten's Buffs finished just behind Oklahoma in the Big Seven in 1956 before going on to earn Colorado's first-ever bowl win, a 27-21 victory over Clemson in the Orange Bowl. He was named first-team All-American as a senior, honorable-mention the year before, and first-team all-conference in 1957, too. Wooten was the second African-American football player at Colorado. He went on to a stellar NFL career, blazing running lanes for the great Jim Brown at Cleveland for several seasons. Following his nine-year playing career, Wooten continued to blaze trails as an NFL scout and administrator where he helped pioneer NFL programs that focused on player education and post-NFL career development. Wooten was inducted into the Colorado Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.

Honorable Mention
Brad Bedell, John Beard, Dennis Havig, Ryan Johanningmeier, Wayne Lucier, Dick Melin, Darrin Muilenburg, Doug Payton, Kirk Tracy

Vote for Colorado's best offensive guards of the past 50 years in Ralphie's Den: MESSAGE BOARD

Previous Top 5 Lists:
Top 5 CU Return Specialists

Top 5 CU Offensive Tackles

Top 5 CU Running Backs

Top 5 CU Centers

Top 5 CU Cornerbacks

Top 5 CU Interior Defensive Linemen

Top 5 CU Tight Ends

Top 5 CU Inside Linebackers

Top 5 CU Punters

Top 5 CU Wide Receivers


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