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ND Rank: #46-50

Jan 7, 2014, 11:51 PM EDT

Creighton Miller in the 1942 game against Great Lakes at Soldier Field.

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.

It’s been a little while since the last ND Rank – I’d like to say I was just giving everyone some time to relax after the last update, but I’ve actually been on the road since the end of the semester. If anyone else was lucky enough to experience Notre Dame hockey in Fenway Park, maybe you can excuse my absence. Despite the Irish loss, it was an incredible atmosphere to witness.

But anyway, we crack the top 50 today where we start getting deep into the two-time All-Americans. As always, feel free to voice complaints in the comment section.

#50: Creighton Miller – Halfback – 1941-1943


Creighton Miller

Consensus All-American (1943), 4th in Heisman (1943), National Champion (1943)

1943: 151 carries for 911 yards, 13 TDs

With Don Miller last week at #51, I went back and forth a lot over which Miller to put ahead of the other. Creighton was the nephew of the famous Horseman, and I finally decided to put the younger Miller on top. Creighton Miller led the nation in rushing in 1943 with 911 yards, while Don Miller was arguably the third best running back on his own team. Not exactly fair when your teammates are Elmer Layden and Jim Crowley, but the point still stands. I have to give Creighton the edge.

He also finished fourth in the Heisman (which did not exist at the time of the Four Horsemen), losing out to Irish quarterback Angelo Bertelli.

Miller was the third overall pick in the 1944 NFL Draft, chosen by the Brooklyn Tigers, but health issues forced him out of sports. He returned to Notre Dame to study law and helped organize the NFLPA as an attorney.

#49: Clarence Ellis – Defensive Back – 1969-1971


Clarence Ellis

2x 1st-team All-American (1970, 1971), Consensus All-American (1971)

1969: 31 tackles, 4 interceptions for 98 yards, TD; 13 pass breakups

1970: 27 tackles, 7 interceptions, 11 pass breakups

1971: 35 tackles, 3 interceptions, 8 pass breakups

Somehow, Ara always seemed to have a tremendous player in the defensive backfield. To be fair, he had great players all over the field every year, but whether it was Nick Rassas, or Tom Schoen, or Jim Smithberger, or Mike Townsend, there was always that playmaker at the back of his world-beating defenses.

Clarence Ellis may have been the best of all Ara’s defensive backs. He was the only two-time All-American of the bunch and is tied for third in career interceptions in Notre Dame history, behind Luther Bradley and Tom MacDonald. His 13 pass breakups in 1969 are still a single-season record, and 32 over his career are also at the top of the Notre Dame record books.

Ellis was selected in the first round of the 1972 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons, where he played for three seasons.

#48: Bobby Taylor – Defensive Back – 1992-1994


Bobby Taylor

2x 1st-team All-American (1993, 1994), Consensus All-American (1994)

1993: 51 tackles, 9 pass breakups, 4 interceptions for 100 yards, TD

1994: 46 tackles, 5 pass breakups, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery for 57 yards, TD

A shutdown corner for Lou Holtz’s ‘90s teams, Bobby Taylor switched from safety his freshman year, becoming a highly decorated player at his new position. He was a two-time All-American and a consensus pick in 1994. He was Notre Dame’s only All-American that year and he was the last player to receive such honors before a long drought that ended with Shane Walton in 2002.

Taylor was also a crucial piece of the 1993 team that went 11-1, sharing a defensive backfield with fellow All-American Jeff Burris. After his college career, Taylor was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Eagles and was first-team All-Pro in 2002.

Here are some cool highlights of Taylor’s career at Notre Dame. Link here if video doesn’t work.

#47: Al Ecuyer – Guard – 1956-1958


Al Ecuyer

2x 1st-team All-American (1957, 1958), Consensus All-American (1957)

1957: 88 tackles, INT

1958: 78 tackles, 2 INTs

A captain of the 1958 team, Al Ecuyer started at right guard all three of his eligible years, earning All-America honors the last two. In each of those years he led the team in tackles during the days of two-way football. In 1957 he had 18 tackles in a game against Iowa, which set a Notre Dame record at the time.

In a ranking dominated by players under Leahy, Parseghian, and Holtz, Ecuyer was able to achieve great success under Terry Brennan. He was the only first-team All-American for the Irish in 1957.

After Notre Dame, Ecuyer played in the Canadian Football League for 11 seasons and went on to become a vice president at Prudential Securities.

#46: Larry DiNardo – Offensive Guard – 1968-1970


Larry DiNardo

2x 1st-team All-American (1969, 1970), Consensus All-American (1970)

A captain of the 1970 team that was a win away from the national championship, Larry DiNardo led one of the best offenses in Irish history. With Joe Theismann and Tom Gatewood setting records, Notre Dame gained 510.5 yards per game en route to a 10-1 record.

A three-year starter at left guard, DiNardo was a stalwart on Ara Parseghian’s talented offensive lines. Also stellar in the classroom, he was an Academic All-American as well, earning post-graduate scholarships.

Part of a football family, DiNardo’s brother Gerry also played guard at Notre Dame – coming in at #90 on this list. Larry’s son Jack also recently finished his career on the defensive line at Northwestern.



46. Larry DiNardo

47. Al Ecuyer

48. Bobby Taylor

49. Clarence Ellis

50. Creighton Miller

51. Don Miller

52. Alan Page

53. Vagas Ferguson

54. Jack Snow

55. Greg Marx

56. Tom Schoen

57. Tom Regner

58. Tony Rice

59. Gus Dorais

60. Jim White

61. Allen Pinkett

62. Shane Walton

63. Tom Clements

64. John Scully

65. Kevin Hardy

66. Bill Shakespeare

67. Mike Townsend

68. Jim Kelly

69. Jack Cannon

70. Pat Filley

71. John Mastrangelo

72. Christie Flanagan

73. Dave Casper

74. Dave Huffman

75. George Kunz

76. Jerry Groom

77. Tommy Yarr

78. Pete Demmerle

79. Nick Rassas

80. John Yonakor

81. Frank Stams

82. Wayne Millner

83. John Smith

84. Dick Arrington

85. Art Boeringer

86. Art Hunter

87. Jeff Burris

88. Mirko Jurkovic

89. Nick Pietrosante

90. Gerry DiNardo

91. Tyler Eifert

92. Frank Rydzewski

93. Eddie Anderson

94. Jack Robinson

95. Chuck Sweeney

96. Jim Martin

97. Reggie Brooks

98. Bob Kelly

99. Ziggy Czarobski

100. Frank Dancewicz

  1. 1historian - Jan 8, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    Bobby Taylor was phenomenal but what really caught my eye was – the teams he played on – coached by Lou – had attitude. They just exuded confidence, and IMO today’s ND team doesn’t seem to have that confidence.

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