Auburn football has a rich history of outstanding individuals. But who are the best of the best at each position? Over the last two weeks, SEC Country wanted the Auburn faithful to vote on a full squad of Tigers greats and settle on a fan all-time team.
Today, the team — 11 offensive players, 11 defensive players, three specialists and a head coach — is complete. After several rounds of voting, it’s time for SEC Country to unveil the best possible team of historic Tigers — and one that was picked by the fans themselves.
Between the Heisman winners and multi-time All-Americans, some of these players were no-brainers for their positions. Other positions, though, were hotly contested throughout the voting process.
Here is the fans’ Auburn football all-time team. Each position is listed with the percentage of possible votes the first-teamer received, along with some fan comments for certain spots.
Let’s kick things off with the matchup of two Heisman Trophy winners under center.
Quarterback: Cam Newton (66 percent)
Cam Newton only played one season at Auburn, but it was more than enough for him to run away with the all-time team vote at quarterback. Newton was the ultimate difference-maker in 2010 for an Auburn team that made a storybook undefeated run to its second national championship. It’s hard to argue with 50 touchdowns, a Heisman Trophy, a national title and a No. 1 selection in the NFL draft.
Second Team: Pat Sullivan (27 percent)
Running Backs: Bo Jackson (100 percent) and Carnell Williams (44 percent)
Bo Jackson was the only unanimous pick on this team, and it’s easy to see why. Even Alabama fans know Jackson’s one of the greatest athletes of all time and he holds several school records in addition to his Heisman Trophy. Carnell Williams took a huge chunk of the votes for the No. 2 spot. The early 2000s star leads Auburn all time in career touchdowns and is one of the most beloved running backs in program history.
Second Team: Tucker Frederickson (11 percent) and Tre Mason (11 percent)
Wide Receivers: Terry Beasley (78 percent) and Frank Sanders (34 percent)
Terry Beasley didn’t win a Heisman Trophy, but his name commands the same amount of reverence among Auburn fans. His No. 88 is retired at Auburn after a fantastic career catching passes — usually long ones — from Sullivan. Frank Sanders edged Lawyer Tillman for the second spot on the team, as his knack for coming up with legendary plays in big games stood out to the voters.
Second Team: Tillman (28 percent) and Jimmy “Red” Phillips (18 percent)
Tight End: Philip Lutzenkirchen (77 percent)
The late Philip Lutzenkirchen had a receiving career that rivaled some of best Auburn’s wideouts of all time. His touchdown-scoring ways and infectious personality made him a hugely popular figure during his time on campus. “Lutz” was by far the most famous tight end in Auburn history, and he ran away with this vote.
Second Team: Ed West (9 percent)
Offensive Tackles: Marcus McNeill (40 percent) and Willie Anderson (39 percent)
McNeill was the best lineman I've ever seen. IIRC he was never called for holding and allowed something like 1 sack in 4 years as a starter
— James Jones (@JamesJones_55) June 8, 2017
Marcus McNeill took the most votes in a tight race among famous offensive tackles in Auburn history. He was a two-time first-team All-American at Auburn and he played a huge role in getting the Tigers to their undefeated record in 2004. As for Willie Anderson, the Mobile, Ala., native was dominant at the high school, college and NFL levels — making him stand out above the rest in the SEC Country all-time vote.
Second Team: Lee Ziemba (34 percent) and Greg Robinson (28 percent)
Offensive Guards: Zeke Smith (59 percent) and Ed King (57 percent)
Zeke Smith was a two-way star at Auburn and he landed on the team for his work as an offensive guard. Smith was Auburn’s first Outland Trophy winner, a consensus All-American and a national champion on the famous 1957 team. Ed King wasn’t too far behind in the vote, either. King was called the best offensive lineman in college football during his time at Auburn and he also was a two-time consensus All-American.
Second Team: Ben Grubbs (46 percent) and Rodney Garner (20 percent)
Center: Reese Dismukes (46 percent)
Auburn’s only Rimington Trophy winner, Reese Dismukes, finished just ahead of Ben Tamburello in a tough center vote. Dismukes started every game of his Auburn career and played a huge role in the Tigers’ 2013 run to the SEC title and the final BCS National Championship Game.
Second Team: Tamburello (35 percent)
Defensive Ends: Quentin Groves (64 percent) and Kevin Greene (42 percent)
The late Quentin Groves is one of Auburn’s all-time sack leaders, and he received a good majority of the votes for the defensive end spots. Groves broke out as a freshman in Auburn’s 2004 perfect season and was one of the SEC’s best edge rushers for the rest of his career. He’s joined on the team by Kevin Greene, who walked on at Auburn and turned a ton of heads before becoming a Hall of Fame-level sack master in the NFL.
Second Team: Dee Ford (32 percent) and Antonio Coleman (20 percent)
Defensive Tackles: Tracy Rocker (93 percent) and Nick Fairley (78 percent)
The two defensive tackle spots were both no contests. Tracy Rocker garnered more votes than anyone not named Bo Jackson. He was an Outland Trophy winner, a Lombardi Award winner and an all-around interior line star for the Tigers in the 1980s. Rocker later coached his teammate on this all-time team, Nick Fairley. The JUCO product led the way for Auburn’s defense in 2010, taking home a Lombardi of his own in addition to a national title.
Second Team: Donnie Humphrey (8 percent) and Frank Warren (8 percent)
Linebackers: Takeo Spikes (84 percent), Karlos Dansby (63 percent) and Gregg Carr (30 percent)
Freddie Smith https://t.co/nFLROGNc9p
— AqUeous transmission (@thoreAU_WDE) June 12, 2017
Most Auburn fans could settle on at least one linebacker in what was called the toughest position vote of the last two weeks. Takeo Spikes was a physical phenom at Auburn and in the NFL, and the passionate linebacker took home a commanding amount of votes. Karlos Dansby was right behind him as a star of the fearsome early 2000s linebacking corps. Gregg Carr edged a few backers for the last spot, as the College Football Hall of Fame nominee was an All-American both on and off the field at Auburn.
Second Team: Aundray Bruce (24 percent), Mike Kolen (21 percent) and Freddie Smith (15 percent)
Cornerbacks: Carlos Rogers (92 percent) and David Langner (50 percent)
Another runaway vote, Carlos Rogers is clearly the top defensive back in program history in the eyes of the fans. The Thorpe Award winner and 2004 perfect team star excelled at Auburn and carried that over to a standout NFL career. The second spot went to the heroic David Langner, who famously scored the two blocked punt touchdowns in the famous 1972 Iron Bowl.
Second Team: Kevin Porter (16 percent) and Carlo Cheattom (11 percent)
Safeties: Junior Rosegreen (42 percent) and Buddy McClinton (36 percent)
The safety vote was hotly contested, but the passion and physicality of Junior Rosegreen earned him the top spot. Rosegreen made quite a few highlights during his time at Auburn, from his hit of Reggie Brown to his four-interception game at Tennessee. Buddy McClinton snagged the second spot just like he snagged quarterbacks’ passes at Auburn. He holds the program’s all-time interception record at 18 — and he had 9 of those in one season.
Second Team: Tucker Frederickson (34 percent) and Larry Willingham (20 percent)
Kicker: Daniel Carlson (81 percent)
The only current player on this vote took a star-studded kicker vote by a commanding margin. Daniel Carlson already owns several kicking records at Auburn after just three seasons, and he’s singlehandedly — or should it be singlefootedly — won the Tigers some games during his career on the Plains. “Legatron” stands on top of a proud kicker tradition on the Plains.
Second Team: Wes Byrum (12 percent)
Punter: Terry Daniel (39 percent)
Another close race, Terry Daniel took the punter vote for his legendary career in the early 1990s. He was a consensus All-American punter in Auburn’s 1993 season, having a knack for both deep punts and boots that would pin opponents deep inside their own territory. He was so good at punting, former Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill accused him of filling the ball with helium. That’s talent.
Second Team: Steven Clark (33 percent)
Return Specialist: Chris Davis (45 percent)
Chris Davis only took back punts for Auburn for just one season, but it was arguably the most famous one in school history for a return man. Davis was a consensus All-American as a punt returner in 2013 after having a strong regular season in that department, then pulling off the legendary “Kick Six” in an Iron Bowl upset against Alabama. That kind of legacy goes a long way in these votes.
Second Team: Thomas Bailey (23 percent)
Head Coach: Ralph “Shug” Jordan (42 percent)
The early few days of voting had a virtual three-way tie between Shug Jordan, Pat Dye and Tommy Tuberville. But Jordan broke away from the pack. He only had two losing seasons in 25 years at Auburn — and that was back when schools would only play nine or 10 games in the regular season. Jordan brought Auburn its first national championship and put the school on the map as a national contender. He rounds out the all-time team for a legendarily consistent career at Auburn.
Second Team: Dye (26 percent)