Dawgman.com Football 105: 40-31

With fall camp here and Washington football back in full swing, Dawgman.com has unveiled something 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 seventh segment of our final list.
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40. Steve Pelluer - He was the Don James/Ray Dorr dream. Standing 6-foot-4 with a rocket arm and having been recognized in grade school for having an unusually high IQ, Steve Pelluer out of Interlake High was born to play for a coaches like James and Dorr. And it would be hard to say they didn't get the most out of him. Pelluer left the UW as their 2nd all time passer (with 4,917; now he is 8th), and until Keith Price's mind-blowing Sophomore season, Pelluer held the season record for pass completion percentage at Washington with an astounding 65% completion rate in his senior season of 1983. In that same senior season, Pelluer led Washington to a come-from-behind victory against 8th ranked Michigan at home and was named All Pac-10 and Pac-10 offensive player of the year. Following his Husky career Pelluer was drafted in the 5th round by the Cowboys and spent seven seasons in the NFL.

39. Benji Olson - Benji Olson was once described to me by his line coach Steve Morton as "half road grader, half battering ram", and I'm not sure I could say it any better myself (hence the quote). Olson absolutely brutalized opponents on Saturdays with the Dawgs after winning a starting spot on the line as a redshirt Freshman. Once he was entrenched as a starter, Benji went on to win All-America honors twice (no other Husky can claim that achievement) and served as one of the key cogs the greatest rushing season in UW football history (Corey Dillon's 1996 campaign). It is probably also worth remembering, during his recruitment in 1993-4, at the outset of Washington's sanctions, Olson (as well as his more highly esteemed SK teammate Tony Coats) turned down a scholarship offer from USC and other powerhouse programs to play for the Dawgs. Olson left the UW after his junior year, only to slip to the 5th round of the draft because of issues with his back, however he still managed to play with the Oilers/Titans for 10 years. Named part of the 2010 Husky Hall of Fame class.

38. Curt Marsh - In his senior year at Snohomish High School, Marsh went from almost-never-was to All-American within the span of five months. Marsh, who never played football until his sophomore year, was convinced he couldn't do it at the level he wanted and was embarrassed to be the biggest kid with the smallest skills, however after a talking to by his dad and former Snohomish coach Dick Armstrong, Marsh stuck it out and was named a Parade All-American his senior year following Snohomish's 1975 state championship. From there Marsh went on to the University of Washington where he continued to be the biggest kid, but during his UW years, the skills caught up with the size and he became one of the cornerstones of Don James' classes of big linemen with Randy Van Divier. Marsh--who's first love was basketball--was known for rare agility combined with the famous Husky toughness and it made him into a first round pick with the Oakland Raiders in 1981. Following his playing days, Marsh had to get his foot amputated because of injuries sustained during his time with the Raiders.

37. Jeff Jaeger - One of the greatest athletes ever to come from Kent-Meridian High in the scenic town of Kent, Wash., Jaeger walked on to the Husky football team and followed in fellow walk-on Chuck Nelson's footsteps to become one of the best kickers in the country. Jaeger was honorable mention All-American in both his sophomore and junior years and was the consensus All-American kicker in his senior year. While at the UW Jaeger set an NCAA record with 80 field goals and was drafted in the 3rd round (no easy feat for a kicker) by the Cleveland Browns following his senior season. Named part of the 2004 Husky Hall of Fame class.

36. Joe Steele - Steele came to Washington as a legend in local football and left (despite injuries seriously limiting him in his senior season) as one of the most decorated Washington Husky running backs in history. Steele was so sought after, in fact, it has been said many times that landing Joe Steele out of Blanchet High legitimized Don James in Seattle. Anyone that came into contact with Steele understood the charisma and aura that he possessed. Soon after signing Steele, James was paid back by the former Blanchet star. As s true freshman Steele ran for 421 yards (5.5 ypc!) and scored 6 touchdowns. The following year, Steele was one of the key factors in getting James' team to the Rose Bowl, rushing for 942 yards and 10 touchdowns. Steele's best year as a Husky came in 1978 when, as a junior, Steele ran for 1111 yards which was a Husky record at the time. However, Steele's Husky career was cut short by a major knee injury during a late October game against UCLA. Still, Steele managed to be drafted in the 5th round and remained Washington's all time rushing leader for 15 years until Napoleon Kaufman broke his record. Steele was named part of the 1996 Husky Hall of Fame class.

35. Bern Brostek - Bern Brostek was a fierce, relentless bruiser who is one of many centers on this list and a link in a chain of hard-nosed centers to play for Washington in the James/Lambright eras. Playing for Washington at their most slogging, in your face, puddle of mud time, Brostek was a symbol of the physical nature with which the Huskies played football. Though he wasn't prone to idle conversation, Brostek let his pads talk loudly, popping opponents and clearing holes on teams that viewed running, not as important, but imperative. Brostek was named to the Sporting News' All-America team his senior year and won the Morris Trophy (given to the Pac-10's best lineman) as well as being named 1st team All Pac-10. Following Bern's senior year, he was selected in the first round by the Los Angeles Rams. Brostek's son Shane just enrolled at UW as a true freshman offensive lineman.

34. Olin Kreutz - Another heralded UW center, Kreutz was arguably the fiercest one of all. When Kreutz showed up on Montlake, it didn't take long for him to earn a reputation as a player not to be trifled with. In spring of 1996, he battled with defensive tackle Sekou Wiggs and it carried over to the locker room. Kreutz ended up breaking Wiggs' jaw and wasn't allowed back on the team until the fall after he took anger management classes. Kreutz and his disruptive demeanor earned some big-time kudos in 1997, including consensus All-Conference and All-American honors, as well as winning the Morris Trophy. Kreutz was the center of arguably the most highly-decorated offensive line of all time, one that included Benji Olson, Tony Coats, Chad Ward and Aaron Dalan. Kreutz, from Honolulu, took his nasty temperament to the Chicago Bears in 1998, who took him the third round of that year's NFL draft. In 2005 he broke another teammate's jaw, this time it was offensive lineman Fred Miller, an act that cost Kreutz $50,000. Kreutz would end up playing 13 years for the Bears, anchoring their offensive line. Kreutz would end up as a four-time All-Pro and six time Pro Bowl participant, guiding Chicago to an NFC Championship in 2006. He was also named to the NFL 2000's All-Decade team.

33. Michael Jackson - For kids around the state of Washington in the 70s, the squeaky-voiced kid from Gary, Indiana could never really overshadow his namesake from Pasco. While Pasco's Jackson didn't reach quite the height of international superstardom his counterpart from Gary did, his time in the Pacific Northwest (both with the Huskies and the Seahawks) was not without its high notes. While his hits didn't climb the charts, they do still sit atop the Husky record books as Jackson remains the all time leader in total career tackles (578, incidentally exactly 200 more than Mason Foster), tackles in a season (219 - wait, 219?!?) and in a game (29), which he did, wait for it… twice. Oh, he also comes in 3rd on that list as well, with a 28 tackle game and those were all during Washington's first Rose Bowl run under Don James in 1977. That same Rose Bowl season, Jackson also led the team in interceptions (with 5) and was named All Pac-10 (which he was again in his senior season). Jackson had speed, size, hitting ability and a joy for the game that came through in his jubilant performances and following his Husky career, Jackson only had to ease on down the road to the Seahwaks headquarters in Kirkland because they picked him with their 3rd round pick in 1979. Jackson went on to become an inspirational leader for the Hawks and holds many records for them as well. In 2000, Jackson was elected to the Husky Hall of Fame.

32. Mario Bailey - Sometimes sports nicknames are just a product of laziness (A-Rod, F-Rod, K-Rod being great examples), but sometimes they are so accurate you only have to hear the nickname to understand the player. For Mario Bailey, "Super Mario" says everything you need to know. Small, but bouncy, Bailey made Saturdays feel like a video game, his play not bounded by the drudgery of reality and it's prosaic physics. Bailey out-leapt, out-stretched, out-ran, out-moved and out-shook opponents who were taller, faster and more heralded. In his ultimate performance as usurper, he stole the stage from 1991 Heisman winner Desmond Howard in the 1992 Rose Bowl when Super Mario did not only out-play the flashy Wolverine, he out-posed him too. Super Mario's 1990 was a fine season for the Franklin product, but in his senior season, Bailey caught six more touchdown passes (18 total) than any Husky had before or has since and was named All Pac-10, All-American as a result. Which deservedly earned him his nickname, Super.

31. Greg Lewis - In the late 80s when Don James' offensive creativity had hit its nadir and Husky football was a half yard in a cloud of mud with fullbacks getting most of the carries, Greg Lewis' arrival on the scene was just what the doctor ordered. In fact, Lewis' ascendence mirrored (perhaps catalyzed) the Dawgs' rise to national prominence in the early 90's. Looking back, Lewis was the perfect back for Husky Stadium's damp turf behind Washington's massive offensive lines. He had excellent vision and balance and easily exploited gaps in opponents' defense behind Washington's powerful line, cutting against the momentum of slip-sliding defenders. In his superlative 1,407 yard senior season, the Ingraham product won the very first Doak Walker award, was named All Pac-10 and averaged an astounding 5.7 yards per carry. Lewis' Montlake service continues today as Lewis still works in the UW Athletic Department. Named as part of the 2006 Husky Hall of Fame class.


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