When Giants Walked the Earth – College Football's Biggest and Best, 1950 to 1970

Published on February 13, 2009 by     Seahawk Fanatic

9197822_18_2

There was a time when college football players weren’t the same tremendous size as we know them to be today. Prior to the 1950s, a lineman would be considered large if he were 6’3″ and 250 pounds.

Like an explosion, a dynamic change in the size of players rocked the college football world in the 1950s and ’60s. This extraordinary jump in size is related to a number of factors, including diet, training, and better health care for 1940s-era infants than care previously available.

There was, however, another change during this era—an increase in the number of African-American players participating in sports on the college level. A secret “philosophy” of some coaches and schools in the north and west at the time concerned how many black players could be on a team.

This was not an issue in most of the South, as Blacks rarely enrolled to play in the SEC and ACC prior to the 1970s. Not to say it didn’t happen, but instances were very rare.

For whatever reason, there were a number of tall and heavy college football players during this time. The following is a list of 11 of the biggest players from the era when “Giants Walked the Earth.”

11. Richard “Frankenstein” Sligh—NC Central, DE, 7’0″, 300 lbs., 1965-67

“Frankenstein” Sligh makes the list because he is the biggest ball player.

10. Bill Hayhoe—Southern California, DT, 6’8″, 260 lbs., 1966-68

Hayhoe saved O.J. Simpson’s 1967 national championship by blocking the extra point effort by No. 1-ranked UCLA, limiting the Bruins to a six-point lead (20-14) in the fourth quarter of their showdown with the Trojans.

Earlier in the game, Hayhoe blocked two Bruin field goal attempts. The final score: Southern California 21, UCLA 20.

9. “Big” Jim Dunaway—Ole Miss, DT, 6’6″, 292 lbs., 1960-62

Having previously discussed big Jim in great detail with an earlier article of mine, “The True Notorious Big,” we need only repeat the Rebels lost one regular season game during Dunaway’s three years as a starter, and claimed part of two national titles.

8. “Big” Ben Davidson—Washington, DE, 6’8″, 275 pounds, 1958-60 Washington

The true villain of the group may be Dunaway, but Davidson wanted the reputation as the meanest player of all time.

Who can forget Davidson with his handlebar mustache and his gravely voice? The Huskies upset No. 1 Minnesota in the Rose Bowl to complete Big Ben’s senior season.

7. Ron Mix—Southern California, OT, 6’6″, 275 lbs., 1957-59

The only pure offensive player on this list, Mix is best known for his role as “The Intellectual Assassin.” Ron used brains and brawn to destroy the great defensive players of his day, while eventually earning his Juris Doctorate degree from law school.

6. Lamar Lundy—Purdue, DE, 6’7″, 275 lbs., 1954-56

Lundy was one of the greatest two-sport stars in history. Lamar was named the Most Valuable Player of the Boilermaker football and basketball teams by his fellow players.

A real-life trailblazer, the late Lamar Lundy was the first African-American ever offered a scholarship to Purdue University. We can say he made the most of his opportunity.

5. Buck Buchanan—Grambling, DT, 6’7″, 287 lbs., 1960-62

Meet Buck Buchanan, possibly the greatest interior lineman in the history of college football.

Buck’s college coach, Eddie Robinson, said that Buchanan was the greatest lineman he ever saw play football. There is little else that needs to be discussed.

4. “Bubba” Smith—Michigan State, DE, 6’8″, 290 lbs., 1964-66

One of the most terrifying players of any era. Bubba’s followers chanted, “Kill, Bubba, Kill” as the Spartans went undefeated over his final two regular seasons.

3. Ernie “The Big Cat” Ladd—Grambling, DE, 6’9″, 330 pounds, 1958-60

One of the most famous athletes of all time, Ernie led the Tigers to a 9-1 season in his senior year.

Ever the showman (see picture above), “The Big Cat” was a longtime United States and World Heavyweight Champion in professional wrestling.

Ladd continued to own the IHOP world record for consuming 125 pancakes in 10 minutes until he left this earth in 2007. Married for 45 years, the world of sports and entertainment surely misses the late, great Ernie Ladd.

2. Roosevelt Grier—Penn State, DT, 6’5″, 305 pounds, 1952-54

There have been a lot of great players who performed for Joe Paterno in his 59 years at Penn State.

Five will get you 10 he’ll say Rosey Grier is the finest player he ever coached, but he will add that Grier was an even better person that he was a player.

This man, like Pete Dawkins of The Army, is one of the greatest Americans of the 20th century. ‘Nuff said.

1. Doug Atkins—Tennessee, DE, 6’8″, 275 pounds, 1950-52

The first of the great giants of the era. This monstrous-sized native-born Tennessean led the Volunteers to a 29-4 record and a national championship during his time in Knoxville.

The best description of Atkins comes from former Louisville quarterback Johnny Unitas.

“One of Atkins’ favorite tricks is to throw my blockers at me,” said Unitas.

Suffice to say, whenever there is a discussion of who is the greatest defensive football player in college football history, the name “Doug Atkins” is always at the top of the list.

So, there we have it. The list of the uncommonly large men of the 1950s and ’60s—the era “When Giants Walked the Earth.”

by BabyTate

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fair Use Notice This website may at times present copyrighted material, the use of which might not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understandings of democratic, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. The author believes that this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U. S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the articles published on this website are distributed without profit for research and informational purposes. In most instances a link is placed to originator of Article and it is never expressly mentioned as written by, we use published by certain entities who write or publish for this said Blog..

Tell Us What's On Your Mind (0)




WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing

REMEMBERING A LEGEND!

LATEST SEAHAWKS NEWS

140506udfa600

The Seahawks have been very good to rookie free agents

Despite having one of the best and deepest rosters in the NFL, the Seahawks have become a good ...
140505donald600

Where does Aaron Donald fit in first round of NFL Draft?

Aaron Donald did all the right things at the University of Pittsburgh, but the undersized defensive tackle needs ...
Untitled

Golden Tate Cheating With Russell Wilson’s Wife?

Some of you will read this post and say no way, but yes it's true and i have ...
140501clowney600

Mike Mayock can see Seahawks trading down in first round of NFL Draft

The Seahawks hold the last pick in the first round of next week’s NFL Draft, and analyst Mike ...
140502suafilo600

Do Seahawks have designs on building blocks in NFL Draft?

The Seahawks could go in just about any direction with the 32nd pick in the first round of ...
kveTl.AuSt.5

Family tragedies fuel Seahawks running back Robert Turbin

Sitting alone with both elbows on the table and hands folded, Robert Turbin waited. The Seattle Seahawks’ backup running ...
140430schneider600

This NFL draft is very different, but John Schneider’s approach isn’t

John Schneider has been involved in the NFL Draft for two decades and admits that he even dreamed ...
1c4jGw.AuSt.5

Earl Thomas reaches long-term extension with Seahawks

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network first reported Thomas’ extension. The extension will make Thomas the highest-paid safety in ...

Shop for Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII Champs Merchandise at NFLShop.com

Shop for Conference Champs and Super Bowl XLVIII Match Up Merchandise at NFLShop.com

WELCOME TO THE SEAHAWKS 12TH MAN ARMY.

WE TAKE PRIDE IN GIVING SEAHAWKS FANS AROUND THE CLOCK UPDATES,  ALL SEAHAWKS ALL THE TIME. SO IF YOU WANT THE LATEST SEAHAWKS NEWS DELIVERED FOR FREE RIGHT TO YOUR EMAIL BOX ONCE A WEEK, SIGN UP AND ENJOY!

WE HAVE BEEN PROUDLY SERVING DIEHARD SEAHAWKS FANS SINCE 2004.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz