Dawgman.com Football 105: 50-41

With fall camp just a day away and the summer nearly gone, Dawgman.com has something to unveil that we've been working on the last couple of months. It's the Dawgman 105, a comprehensive list of who we have picked as the greatest Washington football players and coaches of all time.

This list was initially compiled by Dawgman.com Editor-In-Chief Chris Fetters and Andy Poehlman, a longtime contributor to Dawgman.com and Sports Washington magazine. Dave Samek, the Dawgman, broke all ties and put the complete list together. Then it was sent to Dave Torrell, the Curator of the Husky Hall of Fame, for some final tweaking. And what you see today is the fifth segment of our final list.
Dawgman.com 105: 105-91
Dawgman.com 105: 90-81
Dawgman.com 105: 80-71
Dawgman.com 105: 70-61
Dawgman.com 105: 60-51
50. Ray Horton - Horton was a blur of cleats and jersey out of Tacoma who started three years at cornerback and punt returner for Don James-led teams that went to two Rose Bowls and an Aloha Bowl. Horton's game was characterized by speed and he hit his peak during his junior year at Washington as he set the UW season record for pass break-ups (15) while being named first team All Pac-10. Horton left Washington tied for 10th on the all time interceptions list with a fitting 10, his number at UW and was drafted by the Bengals in the 2nd round of the 1983 draft. Following a successful 11-year NFL career, Horton has also enjoyed success in coaching and is currently the Arizona Cardinals Defensive Coordinator.

49. Chris Polk - Chris Polk's journey to and from Washington had as many twist and turns as a Chris Polk 14-yard run. Polk originally committed to USC as a lightning-fast WR/RB hybrid out of East Valley high school in Redlands, Calif. However, in an unlikely turn, the All-Everything back spurned the top school in the country to pledge his commitment to a hapless Husky program and Ty Willingham. When the speedster showed up on campus he was elevated to the starting role, but wasn't ready for prime time, ran weakly and was promptly out for the season with a shoulder injury. Improbably, after Steve Sarkisian (the coach who was recruiting him at 'SC) was named the head coach at Washington, the former speedster turned into one of the finest power backs Washington has ever seen (that's saying a lot right there) and became famous for punishing, physical running and locomotive leg drive. Polk's peak came against WSU with a bruising 284 yard, 2 TD performance in the 2010 Apple Cup that enabled Washington's return to a bowl for the first time in eight years. Polk finished his career with a strong senior season, but failed to be drafted following his career because of injuries he sustained during his UW career.

48. Dave Williams - Quick, think: What Williams holds Washington's record for most receiving yards in a game? Not Reggie. Not even a receiver. In the 47 years that have passed since, no Washington receiver (named Williams or otherwise) has been able to eclipse Dave Williams' epic 257 yard performance against UCLA in 1965. That wasn't Williams' only accomplishment at Washington, though, or even that year. At a school known for tight ends, Williams is still Washington's all time receiving yards leader at the position (1,133) and the leader for a single season as well (795 in '65). Williams amassed 3 100+ yard games in 1965 and in both his junior and senior year Jim Owens' team. He was an All Conference selection in both 1965 and 1966 and was selected in the 1st round of the 1967 NFL draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.

47. Donald Jones - Excitable, unblockable, relentless. Perhaps no other player symbolized the style of Dawg defense installed by Jim Lambright than Donald Jones. While Jones was undersized for the hybrid DE/OLB position he played in Lambo's 46 Defense (he was converted from fullback to play there), his Husky legacy is equally outsized. Most of his YouTube clips look more like a cheetah chasing antelopes than football highlights and and his de-cleating of Drew Bledsoe in the 1991 Apple Cup is the quintessential moment from the 1991 defense. After a career like his, Donald Jones left numbers scattered all over the record books, but in reality, the only number it's important to remember him by is a blurry number 48 racing upfield, while the number of stunned opposing tackles remain perfectly clear.

46. Mike Zandofsky - Zandofsky was a classic Don James-era bruiser and a four-year starter from Corvallis, Oregon. With his 6-foot-2 frame, Zandofsky bullied Pac-10 opponents at both guard (the position he would play in the NFL) and tackles on his way to All Conference honors in both his sophomore and junior seasons and was named team captain for his senior year. Following his career at Washington, Zandofsky was selected in the 3rd round by the Arizona Cardinals and played nine years in professional football.

45. Doug Martin - While most defensive players spend most of their time trying to minimize opponents' gains, Doug Martin spent his career at Washington in his opponents' backfield creating losses. Martin became a starter as a freshman in 1976 and didn't relinquish the role until the Minnesota Vikings made him the 9th pick in the 1980 draft. During that time Doug Martin piled up opponents and piled up stats, leaving Washington as their career leader in tackles for loss (41) and 2nd all time in total tackles for a lineman (32). Martin mauled honors lists too as he was twice named All Conference and received All American honors as a senior. Perhaps most importantly, Martin was one of the key defensive players on the team that returned Washington to the Rose Bowl following the 1977 season.

44. Beno Bryant - Dynamite from Dorsey High in Los Angeles. When Beno Bryant touched the football in a Husky uniform, people braced for explosion. Sure, there were the punt returns for touchdowns (52 yards against SJSU, 53 against K-State, 70 against Arizona and 82 against ASU), but it was Bryant's perfectly timed explosives in 1991 against USC (a 55 yard run) and Cal (65 yards on a cut-back run) that make Bryant one of the greatest Huskies of all time. Don James said it best, when Washington needed a spark in the 1991 season to put them over the top, Beno Bryant exploded. By the time Bryant left Washington, his blast radius was evident in the record books, coming in 2nd only to Hugh McElhenny in career yards per carry (5.2), third in career all-purpose yards (3,941) and first in total punt return yardage (1,086).

43. Arnie Weinmeister - One of only three Washington players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (the other two, Moon and McElhenny will appear on this list a little later), Weinmeister was a dominating tackle during his time at the UW. Though he played fullback and end as well, it was on the line where Weinmeister and his size and speed combination did the most damage. Although he debuted at the UW in 1942, Weinmeister delayed his college career--as so many of his generation did--for military service and finished his tenure in 1948. This led to his professional career being shorter than average for a dominating player, and to this day, his professional career is one of the shortest of any player in the Hall of Fame. After his playing days, Weinmeister became head of the Teamsters in Seattle. Weinmeister was named part of the 1982 Husky Hall of Fame class.

42. Cody Pickett - How can a player simultaneously perform a complete rewrite of the record book and hear almost nothing but Husky fans calling for his backup? The career of Cody Pickett was star-crossed and complicated, but viewed through the lens of time it looks nothing short of heroic. Pickett took over a quarterback position that had been masterfully played by Marques Tuiasosopo and a team who's culture was being reshaped by Rick Neuheisel. In the new pass oriented offense installed by Neuheisel and Keith Gilbertson, Cody was asked to throw more than any Husky quarterback ever had and his arm almost fell off because of it. Cody passed a mind-blowing 1,373 times for 9,916 yards (over 4,000 more than any other Husky QB), and still managed to score 11 touchdowns on the ground thanks to his determined play and fleet feet. With time, Pickett is starting to be remembered by Huskies as he truly was: athletic enough to play safety in the NFL, tough enough to rope calfs professionally and in possession arm strong enough to chuck the ball from Montlake Blvd to his childhood home in Caldwell, Idaho on Chicken Dinner Road.

41. Mark Bruener - Not much in the world comes from Aberdeen, Wash. outside of trucks loaded with timber. However, in the early 1990s, Aberdeen delivered two pieces of PNW history to the world, Nirvana overtook Michael Jackson's spot in the charts and Mark Bruener climbed into the hearts of Husky fans. Bruener's 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame, excellent speed and body control made him a heralded recruit and after Don James landed him as part of the fabled 1991 class (which also contained Napoleon Kaufman and Damon Huard) he went into immediate action as the back-up to Aaron Pierce and caught a tip-toe touchdown in Washington's 1992 Rose Bowl win. Fortunately for Husky fans, that was merely the beginning. Bruener went on to start every single game following Pierce's departure, he led the the team in receptions in his junior season (with 30) and had 34 receptions as a senior. He was named All Pac-10 both his junior and senior seasons and was picked in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1995 NFL Draft.


Dawgman.com Top Stories