With his powerful arm and strong legs, quarterback Steve Young carries the NFL mantle for Utah. The BYU great started in the USFL before winning a Super Bowl title with the 49ers. Other Cougars in the pro ranks include Eagles coach Andy Reid and Ravens coach Brian Billick. Hall of Famer Larry Wilson, who played at Utah, intercepted 52 passes for the Cardinals from 1960 to 1972.
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Along with 257 wins, LaVell Edwards brought to BYU what many would have never thought possible: the 1984 National Championship. Jim McMahon, Gifford "Giffer" Nielsen and Marc Wilson all played quarterback for Edwards. Utah has tried to step out of the little brother role in recent years, earning a BCS berth and finishing 12-0 in 2004. The Utes, who also had five undefeated teams under Ike Armstrong between 1925 and 1950, have sent 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith to the NFL. Defensive lineman Rulon Jones played for Broncos after his time at Utah State.
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The lush, green football fields of Utah stand out from the dry landscape seen by airplane passengers flying over the state. NFL hall of famer Merlin Olsen, who was born in Logan and played at Utah State, and a surprising 17 players on NFL opening-day rosters this season call The Beehive State home. The Salt Lake City area is home to some good high school programs. Spring 2006 DI signees: 18. Fall 2006 high school football teams: 92.
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