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Texas Football is Known for Star Players Like Earl Campbell, Ricky Williams

The series, "Welcome to the SEC, Texas" profiles some of the outstanding talents  who helped make the Longhorns a national power in college football.

Not only do they do everything big in Texas, but then they make sure to tell you about it as well. 

But no one needs to brag about some of the star players who have played for the Longhorns over the years:

Earl Campbell 

Out of Tyler, Texas, was called "the Tyler Rose." During his four-year career, Campbell rushed for 4,443 yards, the fifth highest total of all time when he graduated. 

Campbell tallied 928 rushing yards as a freshman, 1,118 as a sophomore, 653 as a junior (he missed four games), and 1,744 as a senior. 

He was a first-team All-American as a sophomore and a unanimous selection as a senior. That year, he led the nation in rushing and scoring and won the Heisman Trophy in 1977. 

Campbell had 21 games in which he topped 100 rushing yards and three over 200. He went pro with the Houston Oilers, was named Most Valuable Player in the National Football League three times, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame one year after making the College Football Hall of Fame. 

Ricky Williams

Williams won the Heisman Trophy in 1998 and ended his career as the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher with 6,279 yards.

The two-time Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year won back-to-back NCAA rushing titles in 1997 and 1998, and set 21 NCAA records, including all-purpose yards (7,206) and rushing touchdowns (72). 

A unanimous First Team All-American his junior and senior seasons, he won the 1998 Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, and was the first two-time recipient of the Doak Walker Award.

Williams led Texas to the 1995 Southwest Conference championship and the 1996 Big 12 title. He led the Longhorns to three bowl games, earning MVP honors in the 1999 Cotton Bowl, and he finished his Texas career with 46 school records. 

Williams is one of only three Longhorns to post three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, and he set school records for carries (1,011), yards (6,279), yards per game (136.5) and rushing touchdowns (72) during his career. 

Tommy Nobis 

At Texas, Nobis was an offensive guard and linebacker on the 1963 Longhorn team which claimed the program's first national championship. He was the only sophomore starter on that team. 

He went on to earn every honor available to a lineman during the next two seasons, even though a knee injury would slow him down in 1965. Nobis won the Maxwell Award as the nation’s best player and the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best lineman. He was a two-time All-American (1964-65) and a three-time All-Southwest Conference honoree (1963-65).

Nobis was the first-ever draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 1965, and consequently gained the nickname of “Mr. Falcon.”

His No. 60 is retired by both Texas and the Falcons, as he joins Earl Campbell, Bobby Layne, Ricky Williams, Vince Young and Colt McCoy as the only Longhorns to have their jerseys retired by the school. 

Vince Young 

In 2005, Young became the first FBS player to throw for more than 3,000 yards and rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. He finished as the Heisman Trophy runner-up that year while claiming unanimous Big 12 Player of the Year honors.

Of course, he also was the difference in one of the greatest games in college football, the 2005 national championship game at the Rose, a 41-38 victory against Southern California. 

Young had 267 passing yards, 200 rushing yards and a legendary fourth-down touchdown run with 19 seconds left to score the winning points and cap his 30-2 Longhorns career. 

It was the school's first national title in 35 seasons. 

Bobby Layne 

Far from a classic passer and hardly a clever runner, Bobby Layne could still find many ways to win a football game. 

The first great T-formation quarterback in the Southwest, Layne was known for finding different ways to win during the 1940s. He made the Longhorn varsity as a freshman in 1944 and led Texas to within a point of the Southwest championship. 

He spent part of the 1945 season in the Merchant Marine, returning to Texas in time to help it win the SWC crown and an invitation to the Cotton Bowl. Then, on New Year's Day, he completed 11 of 12 passes and figured in all six Texas touchdowns as his team routed Missouri, 40-27. 

As a junior in 1946, Bobby led the SWC in passing and drove the club to a 8-2-0 mark. 

After three years of single-wing football, UT coach Dana X. Bible switched to the "T" and Layne carried the Longhorns to a 10-1-0 record which included a 27-0 Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama. 

Texas National Awards Winners 

Heisman Trophy: Earl Campbell 1977, Ricky Williams 1998

Butkus Award (best linebacker): Derrick Johnson 2004

Doak Walker Award (best running back): Ricky Williams 1997, 1998; Cedric Benson 2004; D'Onta Foreman, 2016

Draddy/Campbell Trophy (academic Heisman): Dallas Griffin 2007; Sam Acho, 2010

Hendricks Award (outstanding defensive end): Brian Orakpo 2008, Jackson Jeffcoact 2013 

Lombardi Award (best lineman): Kenneth Sims 1981, Tony Degrate 1984

Maxwell Award (outstanding player): Tommy Nobis 1965, Ricky Williams 1998, Vince Young 2005; Colt McCoy 2009 

Davey O'Brien Quarterback Award: Earl Campbell 1977; Vince Young 2005; Colt McCoy 2009 

Outland Trophy (outstanding interior lineman): Scott Appleton 1963; Tommy Nobis 1965; Brad Shearer 1977

Jim Thorpe Award: Michael Huff 2005; Aaron Ross 2006

Bronko Nagurski Award: Derrick Johnson 2004, Brian Orakpo 2008

Vince Lombardi Rotary Award: Kenneth Sims, 1981; Tony Degrate, 1984; Brian Orakpo, 2008

Walter Camp Award (player of the year): Ricky Williams 1998; Colt McCoy 2008, 2009

Chuck Bednarik Award (Defensive Player of the Year): None

Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (outstanding senior quarterback): Colt McCoy, 2009

Manning Award: Vince Young, 2005; Colt McCoy, 2009

Ray Guy Award (best punter): Michael Dickson 2017

Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year: Sam Ehlinger 2020

College Football Hall of Fame

Hub Bechtol, End, 1944-46 (Inducted 1991)

Dana X. Bible, Coach, 1937-46 (1951)

Mack Brown, Head coach, 1998-2013 (2018)

Earl Campbell, Running Back, 1974-77 (1990)

Doug English, Defensive Tackle, 1972-74 (2011)

Chris Gilbert, Running Back, 1966-68 (1999)

Jerry Gray, Defensive Back, 1981-84 (2013)

Johnnie Johnson, Defensive Back, 1976-79 (2007)

Malcolm Kutner, End, 1939-41 (1974)

Bobby Layne, Quarterback, 1944-47, (1968)

Roosevelt Leaks, Running Back, 1972-74, (2005)

Bud McFadin, Guard, 1948-50 (1983)

Bob McKay, Offensive Line, 1968-69 (2017)

Steve McMichael, Defensive Tackle/1976-79 (2009)

Tommy Nobis, Linebacker, Guard, 1963-65 (1981)

Darrell Royal, Coach, 1957-76 (1983)

James Saxton, Running Back, 1959-61 (1996)

Harley Sewell, Guard, 1950-52 (2000)

Jerry Sisemore, Offensive Tackle, 1970-72 (2002)

Mortimer “Bud” Sprague, Tackle, 1923-24 (1970)

Harrison Stafford, Halfback, 1930-32 (1975)

Ricky Williams, Running Back, 1995-98 (2015)

Vince Young, Quarterback, 2003-05 (2019)

Texas Consensus First-Team All-Americans

(Source: NCAA; * unanimous selection)

1945 Hubert Bechtol, E

1946 Hubert Bechtol, E

1947 Bobby Layne, B

1950 * Bud McFadin, G

1953 Carlton Massey, E

1961 * Jimmy Saxton, B

1962 * Johnny Treadwell, G

1963 * Scott Appleton, T

1965 Tommy Nobis, LB

1968 Chris Gilbert, B

1969 Bob McKay, T

1970 Bill Atessis, DE; Steve Worster, B; Bobby Wuensch, T

1971 * Jerry Sisemore, T

1972 * Jerry Sisemore, T

1973 Roosevelt Leaks, B * Bill Wyman, C

1975 Bob Simmons, T

1977 * Earl Campbell, RB * Brad Shearer, DL

1978 * Johnnie Johnson, DB

1979 * Johnnie Johnson, DB * Steve McMichael, DL

1980 Kenneth Sims, DL

1981 * Kenneth Sims, DL; Terry Tausch, OL

1983 Doug Dawson, OL; Jerry Gray, DB; Jeff Leiding, LB

1984 Tony Degrate, DL * Jerry Gray, DB

1995 Tony Brackens, DL

1996 Dan Neil, OL

1997 * Ricky Williams, RB

1998 * Ricky Williams, RB

2000 Leonard Davis, OL; Casey Hampton, DL

2001 * Quentin Jammer, DB; Mike Williams, OL

2002 Derrick Dockery, OL

2003 Derrick Johnson, LB

2004 * Derrick Johnson, LB

2005 * Michael Huff, DB; * Jonathan Scott, OL; Rodrique Wright, DL; Vince Young, QB

2006 Justin Blalock, OL

2008 Colt McCoy, QB; * Brian Orakpo, DL

2009 * Colt McCoy, QB; Jordan Shipley, WR; Earl Thomas, DB

2013 Anthony Fera, PK; Jackson Jeffcoat, DL

2014 Malcom Brown, DL

2016 D’Onta Foreman, RB; Connor Williams, OL

2017 * DeShon Elliott, DB * Michael Dickson, P

2020 Joseph Ossai, LB

This is the third story in a series that will examine the history of the Longhorns football program, and what it will bring to the SEC. Parts of this post originated from the book, Huddle Up: Texas Football, and for the College Football Hall of Fame.

Welcome to the Southeastern Conference, Texas!

The Coaching Legacy at Texas Begins With One Name: Darrell Royal