Garnering inspiration from an article published on NFL.com, the topic of the greatest college football players of the 1990s is quite thought-provoking and interesting on many levels.
What defines greatness is obviously subject to opinion and debate, thus the reason a list such as this will never find an agreeable audience. Every college football fan, for a plethora of reasons, views success on the gridiron in a variety of ways.
Having lived through the decade of the 1990s, while adorning my “fandom hat” each and every fall, I feel that I’m somewhat qualified to compose a list of my own. Personally saturated with the game of football during this time period, I’m familiar with what many of the “star players” accomplished during the decade in question, because I watched it unfold.
Listed in alphabetical order, here are the five greatest college football players of the 1990s, through my eyes.
Ron Dayne – Running Back – Wisconsin (1996 – 1999)
Simply a beast of a man, Ron Dayne was a bulldozer for the Wisconsin Badgers during the late 90s. Rushing for over 2,000 yards in two different seasons, Dayne was the backbone of the Wisky offense. Finishing his collegiate career with 7,125 yards, Dayne was the recipient of the 1999 Heisman Trophy.
Tommie Frazier – Quarterback – Nebraska (1992 – 1995)
Arguably the greatest dual-threat quarterback in the history of college football, Tommie Frazier was a gem. As the leader of the Nebraska Cornhuskers during back-to-back national championship seasons in 1994 and 1995, Frazier was the ultimate threat on the ground and through the air. When you diagnose the current state of college football, you’ll see that Tommie Frazier was 20 years ahead of his time.
Desmond Howard – Wide Receiver – Michigan (1989 – 1991)
In the early 1990s, Desmond Howard was the talk of college football. Known as a solid wide receiver and devastating return man on special teams, Howard was magic when the football was in his hands. While his “style” is quite common in the modern game, in the early 90s, the skill set that Howard brought to the table was beyond entertaining. Winner of the 1991 Heisman Trophy, Howard is certainly one of the greatest players of the last 25 years.
Peyton Manning – Quarterback – Tennessee (1994 – 1997)
Throwing for a total of 11,201 yards during his illustrious career with the ‘Vols, Peyton Manning is the pride of Rocky Top. Starting 45 games at Tennessee, Manning was a stalwart at quarterback for UT, recording a record of 40-5. While noted as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time in respect to the NFL, Manning’s collegiate career was nothing short of impressive and consistent.
Charles Woodson – Defensive Back – Michigan (1995 – 1997)
If recruited today, Charles Woodson would be given the “athlete” tag. Playing the role of defensive back, return specialist, and wide receiver, Woodson was a jack-of-all-trades and a master of most while at Michigan. The first, and only, defensive player to ever capture the Heisman Trophy, beating out quarterback Peyton Manning in 1997, Woodson was a remarkable talent and one of the most gifted athletes to ever put on the pads.
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