Athlon Sports released their top 50 players of the last 50 years today with two Tennessee Volunteers cracking the list. You can probably guess the two names. Here’s what Athlon had to say on both.
45. Peyton Manning
Manning finished his career having rewritten the school passing record book and extensively edited the SEC record book. He left Knoxville in possession of conference marks for career wins as a starter, completions, completion percentage, passing yards and total offense, among others. He won the 1997 Davey O’Brien and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm awards, and was the SEC Player of the Year and a unanimous All-American.
43. Reggie White
The Minister of Defense is better known for his Hall of Fame pro career, but he also had a dominant college career spent terrorizing SEC quarterbacks and running backs. White holds the school record for sacks in a single season with 15 in 1983 and only recently saw his school career sack record broken by Derek Barnett. White was the SEC Player of the Year and an All-American in ’83.
Peyton left a little meat on the bone at Tennessee, famously never beating Florida, which is probably keeping him down on this list. The inability to get over Florida cost the Vols a shot at a national title during Manning’s era in Knoxville. Had he been able to get to a championship game, he’s probably much higher on this list. At least he’s higher than Danny Wuerffel.
Reggie White had to be on this list. White is now second in the Tennessee record books for sacks, thanks to Derek Barnett’s brilliant career. But White’s 1983 season will likely live on for a long time. His single season record of 15 sacks will be hard for any future pass rusher to touch.
What do y’all think? Too low, just right? Take a look at the list and let us know!