Jan 29, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT
Craig Chval, the official 2013 football beat writer for the Strong & True blog, is currently a junior at the University of Notre Dame. Over the course of the year Craig will bring you insight from within the student section, interviews with Fighting Irish players and previews of each game. You can follow Craig (and the rest of the Notre Dame student beat writing staff) on twitter at @JrNDBloggers.
We’re getting close to the end of ND Rank, but we’ve still got the very best players in Notre Dame history to get through. Hopefully I’ll finish before the newly announced stadium renovations get done. All of these guys played in the good old red brick stadium, which I was never fortunate enough to see – my first game was in the second season of the expanded stadium. Thanks, Dad.
But anyway here’s today’s edition before we crack the top 25 next time.
#30: Ralph Guglielmi – Quarterback – 1951-1954
1953: 52 completions on 113 attempts for 792 yards, 14 total TDs, 5 INTs
1954: 68 completions on 127 attempts for 1,160 yards, 11 total TDs, 7 INTs; 5 defensive interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries
The unanimous All-American quarterback in 1954, Ralph Guglielmi is one of only three Notre Dame QBs to receive such an honor (Johnny Lujack and Frank Carideo). His 26-3-2 record as a starter is one of the best in Irish history, trailing only Carideo, Lujack, Gus Dorais, Harry Stuhldreher, and Tony Rice (min. 12 starts). So since 1947, Tony Rice is the only quarterback with a better record than Guglielmi.
With one-platoon football mandated in 1953, Guglielmi had to play defense in addition to his quarterbacking duties. He performed exceptionally, leading the team in interceptions in 1954 with five. He also kicked the occasional PAT and returned kicks and punts infrequently.
Guglielmi was the starting quarterback on the 9-0-1 1953 team, one of two undefeated Leahy teams not to win the national championship. The champion, Maryland, lost its bowl game, but in the era before post-bowl polls. After the bowls Notre Dame was the only undefeated team. Guglielmi and Heisman winner John Lattner led a powerful offense that averaged 31.7 points per game, good for second in the country.
As a senior, Guglielmi finished fourth in the Heisman, the highest-finishing quarterback. He also won the Walter Camp Memorial Trophy as the best back in the country.
After Notre Dame, Guglielmi was drafted in the first round of the 1955 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
#29: Bob Golic – Linebacker – 1975-1978
Unanimous All-American (1978), 2nd-team All-American (1977), National Champion (1977)
1977: 146 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 5 pass breakups, 3 INTs
1978: 152 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 pass breakups, 2 INTs
One of the most prolific tacklers in team history, Bob Golic left Notre Dame ahead in a large chunk of categories. He had 26 tackles in a game (still a record tied with Bob Crable) and 479 career tackles (still second behind Crable). His 152 tackles in 1978 would have been a record if not for teammate Steve Heimkreiter, who tallied 160.
Besides his absurd tackling numbers, Golic was a senior captain in ’78 and a critical contributor to the championship team the previous year. He also finished in the top four at the NCAA meet in wrestling twice – in 1976 and ’77.
Another defensive Notre Dame player to have a successful pro career, Golic played 14 seasons in the NFL with two All-Pro selections and three Pro Bowl appearances.
In addition to his incredible on-field performances, Golic is well known for his appearances on Saved by the Bell and his extensive Notre Dame family. His brothers Mike and Greg also played for the Irish, along with his nephews Mike Jr. and Jake. His niece Sydney is also currently a swimmer at Notre Dame.
#28: Bob Williams – Quarterback – 1948-1950
2x 1st-team All-American (1949, 1950), Consensus All-American (1949), 5th in Heisman (1949), 6th in Heisman (1950), National Champion (1949)
1949: 83 completions on 147 attempts for 1,374 yards, 17 total TDs, 7 INTs
1950: 99 completions on 210 attempts for 1,035 yards, 12 total TDs, 15 INTs
With all the changes that have come to college football, especially in the passing game, it seems implausible that a quarterback from more than 60 years ago could still hold a record. And yet Bob Williams still has the most efficient season throwing the ball in Notre Dame history with a rating of 161.4, a record that has stood since 1949, although Jimmy Clausen tied it in 2009.
Williams’ year was good enough to lead Notre Dame to the national championship – Leahy’s last – making Williams the fifth signal caller in school history to win the title. He finished fifth in the Heisman, losing to teammate Leon Hart, who remains one of only two linemen to win the award. Williams would also finish sixth the next year, despite throwing 15 interceptions and leading a team that finished 4-4-1, by far Leahy’s worst.
In addition to quarterbacking, Williams was the team’s punter, and still is in the all-time top 10 in punts. He was drafted in the first round of the 1951 NFL Draft by the Bears and played in the league for three seasons. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988.
#27: Luther Bradley – Defensive Back – 1973-1977
3x 1st-team All-American (1975, 1976, 1977), Consensus All-American (1977), 2x National Champion (1973, 1977)
1973: 27 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 11 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery, 6 interceptions
1975: 56 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 pass breakups, 4 interceptions for 135 yards, 1 TD
1976: 50 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 7 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery, 1 block, 2 interceptions
1977: 45 tackles, 7 pass breakups, 5 interceptions
The Notre Dame career leader in interceptions, Luther Bradley was a starter on both the 1973 and 1977 national championship teams. As a freshman safety in ’73, he set a school record for pass breakups with 11 while also tallying six interceptions.
After being suspended for the ’74 season, Bradley returned in ’75 an All-American for Dan Devine. One of the highlights of his career came against Purdue that year when a 99-yard interception return in the fourth quarter extended the lead to 10-0. It remains the second longest interception return in school history. Another interception that game gave him the record for total interception return yards in a game with 103.
Playing his last three years at cornerback, Bradley was a constant on Devine’s defenses. His greatest contributions might have come his senior year in ’77, standing out amid greats like Willie Fry, Steve Heimkreiter, Bob Golic, and Ross Browner. He was an All-American all three of his final years, but he finally earned consensus honors that season.
Bradley was selected in the first round of the 1978 Draft by Detroit, where he played for four years. Watch the video of his 1975 interception return here, as well as an interview for 125 Years of Notre Dame Football.
#26: Nick Eddy – Halfback – 1964-1966
Unanimous All-American (1966), 3rd in Heisman (1966), National Champion (1966)
1966: 78 carries for 553 yards, 15 receptions for 123 yards, 4 kickoff returns for 193 yards, 10 total TDs
The highest-finishing running back in the Heisman and a unanimous All-American, Nick Eddy was the consensus best running back in the country in 1966. He is one of only four Notre Dame running backs to be unanimously named to the All-America team, along with John Lattner, Emil Sitko, and Marchy Schwartz.
A three-year starter, Eddy was an integral part of the 1964 return to glory season, and the offense leader on the ’66 championship team. That team is best known as perhaps the greatest Irish defense of all time (surrendering just 3.8 points per game), but it was also the best offense that year, scoring more than 36 points a contest.
Eddy was the team’s leading rusher in both ’65 and ’66, but he was also a dynamic kick returner. He only returned four kicks, but he averaged 48 yards on those returns, scoring on two of them. No returner in Notre Dame history has a higher average in a year with more than one return.
Ara’s best running back was also a threat in the passing game, finishing third on the ’66 team in receptions and fourth in yards. Against Pittsburgh in 1964 he hit 119 yards on just three catches. Drafted in the second round of the 1967 Draft, Eddy played with the Detroit Lions for seven seasons.
Watch one of his kick returns here against Purdue in 1966, a 26-14 victory against the eighth-ranked Boilermakers.
26. Nick Eddy
27. Luther Bradley
28. Bob Williams
29. Bob Golic
30. Ralph Guglielmi
32. Jeff Samardzija
33. Mike McCoy
34. Walt Patulski
35. Brady Quinn
37. Joe Kurth
38. Elmer Layden
39. Monty Stickles
40. Bob Dove
42. Jim Crowley
43. Golden Tate
44. Tom Gatewood
45. Jim Seymour
47. Al Ecuyer
48. Bobby Taylor
49. Clarence Ellis
50. Creighton Miller
52. Alan Page
53. Vagas Ferguson
54. Jack Snow
55. Greg Marx
57. Tom Regner
58. Tony Rice
59. Gus Dorais
60. Jim White
62. Shane Walton
63. Tom Clements
64. John Scully
65. Kevin Hardy
67. Mike Townsend
68. Jim Kelly
69. Jack Cannon
70. Pat Filley
72. Christie Flanagan
73. Dave Casper
74. Dave Huffman
75. George Kunz
77. Tommy Yarr
78. Pete Demmerle
79. Nick Rassas
80. John Yonakor
82. Wayne Millner
83. John Smith
84. Dick Arrington
85. Art Boeringer
87. Jeff Burris
88. Mirko Jurkovic
89. Nick Pietrosante
90. Gerry DiNardo
92. Frank Rydzewski
93. Eddie Anderson
94. Jack Robinson
95. Chuck Sweeney
97. Reggie Brooks
98. Bob Kelly
99. Ziggy Czarobski
100. Frank Dancewicz
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