Monday, February 23, 2009
Indiana's Mount Rushmore
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
This series isn't designed to beat up on any programs, so I'll put this mildly. Indiana's football history is, well, limited when it comes to winning. Aside from a nice run in the late 1980s, Indiana has consistently finished in the league's bottom half.
As much fun as it would be to compile a Rushmore for Indiana hoops -- could the candy striped pants get a spot? -- this is a football blog, so I'll stick with football. And despite the Hoosiers' struggles on the gridiron, they have produced several notable players and coaches.
Others considered for Indiana's Rushmore included: Pete Pihos, Terry Hoeppner, John Isenbarger, Bo McMillin, Tim Clifford, John Tavener and Vern Huffman.
- Anthony Thompson -- A two-time first-team All-American, Thompson is undoubtedly the greatest player in team history and one of the top running backs in Big Ten history. In 1989, he set NCAA single-season records for rushing and scoring, won the Maxwell Award and finished second for the Heisman Trophy. Thompson led the Big Ten in rushing in each of his last two seasons and is the only player in team history to have his number retired.
- Antwaan Randle El -- Indiana never notched a winning season during his career, but the dynamic Randle El left his mark on the program and the Big Ten. One of the most exciting Big Ten players of this decade, Randle El won Big Ten MVP honors in 2001 and rushed for more yards than any quarterback in FBS history (3,895). The College Football Hall of Fame selection finished his career with 86 career touchdowns (44 rushing, 42 passing).
- George Taliaferro -- Taliaferro remains the only Indiana player to earn All-America honors in three different seasons. He played on Indiana's Big Ten championship team in 1945 and became the first black player drafted by an NFL team. Taliaferro earned first-team All-America honors as a defensive back in 1948 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981.
- Bill Mallory -- Mallory's overall record at Indiana might not look overly impressive (69-77-3), but he turned around a neglected program and restored it to respectability during the mid 1980s. In 1986, he coached Indiana to its first bowl game since 1979 and followed with postseason appearances the next two years. Indiana reached six bowl games under Mallory before going through a drought from 1993-2007. Mallory won back-to-back Big Ten Coach of the Year awards in 1986-87.