To kick off the NCAA football season, we’ve been counting down our favorite college football players of all time. Below is #6 on each of our lists. Before you take a look at #6 on the countdown, check out who we picked for #10, #9, #8, and #7.
David Pollack (DE, Georgia, 2001-2004)
David Pollack is perhaps the most memorable defensive player from the last two decades of Georgia football. The Dawgs have had plenty of defensive standouts, but nobody has delivered consistent excellence while also supplying signature plays in big moments like David Pollack. A three time all SEC team member, two time sec player of the year and Lombardi award winner, Pollack was dominant throughout his career at Georgia. Still, one moment stands out above the rest. With the Bulldogs leading 3-0 early in the 4th quarter, Pollack managed to beat a double team on the end and then miraculously intercepted a pass that was never thrown, batting the ball from the quarterback’s hands and catching it before it hit the ground.. Like the Immaculate Reception, this is a play that people will be trying and failing to explain to their kids for years to come, only to resort to a grainy video when their words fail to do it justice. A devastating injury put an end to what could have been a great professional career, but around Athens David Pollack is and will always remain a legend.
Tyrann Mathieu (S, Louisiana State, 2010-2011)
When you’re watching football as a fan, defense is not fun. Defense is just a feeling of dread while you pray your team can make a stop. The fun is on offense, when your team scores and wins games, not defense when they give up points and lose. A great defensive game can be appreciated, but football is just more fun when your team has the ball. Therefore, it’s incredibly rare for a defensive player to make you want to watch a game all by himself. In fact, Mathieu is the only player who has ever made me excited to watch defense. He was everywhere. Whether with interceptions, sacks, or deflections at safety, or with electric punt returns, he had an incredible ability to find the ball and make exciting plays. The “Honey Badger” nickname and videos that came with it just added to the legend and make LSU must see tv while he was on the field.
Tom Zbikowski (S, Notre Dame, 2004-2007)
Notre Dame’s TV deal with NBC meant they were always on tv on Saturday’s, and because of that I always watched their games. With Brady Quinn under center, the Fighting Irish had some really good teams in the mid-2000s, and though they couldn’t get over the USC hump, they were very fun to watch. For me, the most fun and explosive guy on that team was safety and return specialist Tom Zbikowski. Zbikowski was tough as nails and could come up and lay a hit while having the ability to take it to the house any time he touched the ball. During his career he returned three punts for touchdowns, two interceptions for touchdowns, and two fumbles for touchdowns.
See the video below for his huge return during the “Bush Push” game – side note, when Notre Dame wears green, that is how it should be done.
Jamal Adams (LSU, S, 2014-present)
The first time I really got into recruiting was 2014, which happened to be the year that Leonard Fournette and Jamal Adams committed to LSU. All LSU fans were hoping we would snag Hootie Jones, a safety from Monroe, LA, who had been choosing between LSU and Alabama. He chose the latter and the LSU coaching staff shifted their focus on Adams. The first game of the season was against Wisconsin in Houston. I remember seeing him run on the field for kickoff and being the most hyped up player out there. I could tell instantly that he was bringing the swagger back to the LSU defense that had been lost when Tyrann was kicked off the team. Since then, Jamal has become an All-SEC player and will likely be a first-round pick in next years draft. He’s an incredible tackler and has played exceptionally well in coverage. I also raced him once.
Here’s the video. Thanks for the competition @TheAdams_era pic.twitter.com/UO2bCUi7B2
— Connor Bear Deneau (@Beardeneau) April 14, 2016