Monday, January 13, 2020

KU great Gale Sayers named 10th-best college football player of all-time

Former Kansas University running back Gale Sayers turns it upfield in this photo against Missouri at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence. Many of today’s Jayhawks respect Sayers as the greatest player to ever put on a KU uniform.

Former Kansas University running back Gale Sayers turns it upfield in this photo against Missouri at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence. Many of today’s Jayhawks respect Sayers as the greatest player to ever put on a KU uniform.


The Kansas football team hasn’t participated in the postseason since 2008, but the Jayhawks got to share a small fraction of the spotlight during Monday’s national championship game, when the most renowned player in the program’s history picked up another honor.

Gale Sayers, a Wichita native who accounted for 4,020 all-purpose yards in just three seasons for the Jayhawks (1962-64), was named one of the top 11 college football players of all-time by ESPN. The final members of ESPN’s 150 greatest list were announced during an on-field ceremony in New Orleans, at halftime of the title matchup between LSU and Clemson.

Sayers, the speedy running back known as “The Kansas Comet,” came in at No. 10 on the list, and was the only Jayhawk to make the top 150.

“Until his family moved to Omaha when he was 8 years old, Sayers lived in a small town named Speed, Kansas,” Sayers’ entry on read. “He returned to the state as a Jayhawk, and made Lawrence the new Speed, Kansas. As a sophomore in 1962, Sayers immediately made his varsity presence known. He rushed for 114 yards in the season opener against TCU, and at midseason, Sayers torched Oklahoma State for a Big Eight-record 283 yards on only 22 carries. He was the first FBS player with a 99-yard rush.”

Sayers led the Big Eight Conference and ranked No. 3 nationally in his debut season of 1962, with 1,125 rushing yards, and averaged a nation-leading 7.1 yards per carry.

In both his second and third seasons at KU (freshmen couldn’t play at the time), Sayers was a consensus All-American. He left Lawrence with 2,675 career rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns.

KU eventually retired Sayers’ No. 48 jersey. Sayers became the No. 4 overall pick in the 1965 NFL Draft following his time at KU, setting up a stellar career with the Chicago Bears.

Sayers was inducted to both the college football and pro football halls of fame.

ESPN’s Top 11 College Football Players of All-Time

No. 1 - Jim Brown (RB, Syracuse, 1954-56)

No. 2 - Herschel Walker (RB, Georgia, 1980-82)

No. 3 - Bo Jackson (RB, Auburn, 1982-85)

No. 4 - Archie Griffin (RB, Ohio State, 1972-75)

No. 5 - Jim Thorpe (B, Carlisle, 1907-12)

No. 6 - Red Grange (RB, Illinois, 1923-25)

No. 7 - Earl Campbell (RB, Texas, 1974-77)

No. 8 - Dick Butkus (LB, Illinois, 1962-64)

No. 9 - Barry Sanders (RB, Oklahoma State, 1986-88)

No. 10 - Gale Sayers (RB, Kansas, 1962-64)

No. 11 - Roger Staubach (QB, Navy, 1962-64)


Brett McCabe 1 week, 1 day ago

A rare combination of speed and elusiveness. It was as if he just couldn’t be tackled.

I know his image is carved into the strength complex building but the renovation of the stadium absolutely requires a Sayers sculpture!

And what are the odds that Wichita can boast two of the ten greatest?

Dyrk Dugan 1 week, 1 day ago

Gale is from Omaha, Nebraska. Besides Barry, who else on the list is from Wichita?

Chris Bailey 1 week, 1 day ago

He was born in Wichita. He played high school ball in Omaha. He's still a Kansas native.

Brett McCabe 1 week, 1 day ago

From the article: ”Gale Sayers, a Wichita native”.

It’s amazing how dips!ts who can’t read more than 140 characters at a time are always the first to prove that they can’t read more than 140 characters at a time.

Dyrk Dugan 1 week, 1 day ago

Being a jerk comes naturally to some people; kudos to you Brett, for solidly exhibiting this character trait.

I don’t care what the article says; Gale Sayers was born in Wichita; but he spent no formative years there. He went to a Omaha high school; he was recruited from there by Kansas.

Barry Sanders went to Wichita high schools; he was recruited by OK St. from there. Barry Sanders is from Wichita KS; Gale Sayers is from Omaha NE.

Thank goodness Gale Sayers is a class act, we can admire and revere. Plenty of folks can learn from his high quality character.

Chris Bailey 1 week, 1 day ago

Sorry I was not trying to be a D&^%. I was just saying that he was born here. You're correct he did spend his formative years in Omaha. I was simply stating he was a native of Kansas since he was born in the state.

Chris Bailey 1 week, 1 day ago

Think about all the things that began in Wichita. Pizza Hut, White Castle, Hiland Dairy, Coleman, Taco Tico, Learjet, Freddies Frozen Custard, Spangles and there are others.

Eric TheCapn 1 week ago

Chris, your list needs some work, some of those things haven't made it beyond state lines. :P

Chris Bailey 1 week ago

Maybe but they're still well-known in the state and the ones that are national brands are pretty well known adding to a list of things to come out of Kansas town.

Eric TheCapn 1 week ago

You could make a good argument that he's a Speed native if that's where he lived as an infant and was merely born at a Wichita hospital, but he's certainly not an Omaha native (or "from Omaha") if he moved there at age 8. Thankfully, the article is abundantly clear about it all. I'm not sure why Brett is so triggered though.

Len Shaffer 1 week ago

I'm not sure why Brett behaves the way he does, either. Sadly, that is something that most of us are not trained enough to analyze ...

Len Shaffer 1 week ago

It was so great to see a Jayhawk on the list (meaning both the mascot and Sayers). And let's not forget that his story was also told in one of the greatest sports movies of all time.

I thought the list was good, but I thought Barry Sanders should have been number one. His stats are impossible to fathom.

I also can't understand why Sayers didn't do better in the Heisman voting. What was his highest finish?

Dane Pratt 1 week ago

Barry could have been ours for the asking.

Patrick Bryant 1 week ago

Dave Rimmington should have made the list. He was probably more dominant at his position as half of the list was at theirs.

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