Friday, July 23, 2010

Make a list of the best N.C. State football players ever, and you can guarantee this - Dennis Byrd is on it.

Byrd died Thursday at the age of 63. You knew it was serious when Johnny Evans opened the Triangle Pigskin Preview with a prayer for Byrd.

Byrd, as detailed here in GoPack.com, was State's first two-time All-America and the anchor of the White Shoes defense on the famous 1967 team. It's probably fair to say that after Roman Gabriel, he was the second great Wolfpack player on a national level.

Best player in Wolfpack history? That's open for debate, but the names to consider on my list would be Philip Rivers, Roman Gabriel, Ted Brown, Jim Ritcher, Torry Holt, Dave Buckey, Mario Williams, Erik Kramer, Dick Christy, Mike Quick, Russell Wilson ... and Dennis Byrd.

1 comment:

  1. Best player in NCS history? I'm going to have to vote for Super Mario. I'll never forget sitting in Lane Stadium in Blacksburg in 2004 (first post-Philip season) and watching Mario and Manny Lawson have a field day in the Hokie backfield, with Reggie Herring screaming and jumping on the sidelines. Virginia Tech had a "Total Yards" indication on their scoreboard, and we reveled in watching the home team's total move downward after each sack, approaching zero at one point in the second half. State's River-less offense wasn't much better, but good enough to survive with a 17-16 win.

    That season was the beginning of the end for Chuck Amato, as Reggie Herring joined the parade of top assistants to leave the Amato program, but Mario Williams and the rest of that defense was truly a joy to watch in an otherwise disappointing season. Mario went on to become the ACC's first #1 pick in the NFL draft, and was as dominating a player as I've ever seen.