Monson: Here’s the all-time football team from BYU, Utah, Utah State – Salt Lake Tribune
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Defensive end: Ziggy Ansah, BYU. It’s early, yet, but he’s one of the most amazing football stories ever. Who comes to college out of Africa, runs track, tries out for the basketball team, gets cut, tries football, has to learn to put on the pads, and then becomes one of the best rush ends in the NFL? Ansah is the answer.
Defensive tackle: Merlin Olsen, Utah State. The greatest football player to come out of Utah. Period. Strong acting skills, as well, starring in “Little House on the Prairie” and “Father Murphy.”
Defensive tackle: Luther Elliss, Utah. Played rugged, upfront defense on the hill before it became a matter of routine for that to happen. Set the tone for the Ute defense for years to come, a tone that remains today.
Linebacker: Rob Morris, BYU. When Morris was a Cougar, he was flamboyant. He once jumped off a third-story balcony into a pool. He hammered an alligator over the head with a stick while visiting the Everglades. He painted his toenails pastel colors and once said he wanted to dress up like a woman. Why? “Just because,” he said. He played better football than he gave quotes, headlining at BYU and playing eight seasons for the Colts.
Linebacker: Bobby Wagner, Utah State. One of the best interior ‘backers currently in the NFL.
Linebacker: Kyle Van Noy, BYU. Ridiculous talent for the Cougars. Go back and watch what he did to San Diego State in the 2012 Pointsettia Bowl. Redefined the position at BYU. Still waiting to emerge as a pro.
Defensive back: Eric Weddle, Utah. The man who could do anything, and darn-near did everything, for the Utes. Terrific NFL career, too.
Defensive back: Cornell Green, Utah State. Didn’t play football for the Aggies, played basketball. He was a basketball All-American. Quite remarkably made the transition to football as a pro, playing for 13 seasons, making five Pro Bowls, on some legendary Dallas Cowboy teams.
Defensive back: Larry Wilson, Utah. Anybody who argues this pick never saw Wilson play. He prospered for 13 seasons in the NFL and was an eight-time All-Pro safety. Made Pro Football’s Hall of Fame in 1978.
Defensive back: Sean Smith, Utah. He was tough at Utah and has stayed tough through a seven-year career in the NFL, four in Miami and three in Kansas City. At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Smith lacks speed, but his technique and strength are difficult for receivers to beat.
Wide receiver: Roy Jefferson, Utah. Another old-timer special. Played both offense and defense for the Utes. Jefferson was one of the top targets in the NFL during his 12 years. Had back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons with the Steelers, won a Super Bowl with the Colts, and went to another Super Bowl with Washington. After retirement, most notably, he starred in the low-budget 1976 film “Brotherhood of Death.”
Wide receiver: Steve Smith, Utah. Smith was a beaut when he was a Ute, saying all kinds of colorful things, such as: “No team in our conference respects our passing game, and they’re going to pay for it,” and, “My favorite way to score is whichever makes the defense look stupid,” and, “We just wanted to whack [our opponent] across the field for four quarters.” He’s gone on in the NFL to whack opponents, catching 961 passes for 13,932 yards and 76 touchdowns.
Tight end: Todd Christensen, BYU. Yeah, yeah, he was a running back in Provo, but went on to five Pro Bowls with the Raiders, and had the best vocabulary in the all of football. He was assiduous, sedulous and loquacious.