Education

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That's a great thought exercise, so let's do it. This is only NFL success, not college. This will include even pre-Frank Beamer guys. I'm choosing these based on how good their NFL careers were, not necessarily how they'd fare in today's NFL. I doubt the guys from the '50s on the offensive line would fare very well against 330-pound defensive tackles, but I don't want to diminish their careers.

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With Tech's team selected, now let’s construct one made up of Virginia alumni. It’s important to keep perspective in this exercise, especially when dealing with players that competed a long time ago. This team includes players based on the eras in which they played, not how any of them would perform in today’s game. I used the Pro Football Reference website for much of the research, and when I mention All-Pro recognition, it is referring to the first team.

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Only time will tell if the graduate transfer from Hawaii with the strong BYU football bloodlines will deserve to be higher or lower on this list but the chances are really good Dylan Collie will have a big impact on the season. He had 118 receptions for 1,300 yards and nine TDs with the Warriors and immediately forces opponents to be aware of him on the outside. 

The BYU national championship team in 1984 had talented offensive players but it was the Cougar defense that put the team in position to win it all. White was one of the most important players on that squad as a disruptive presence. He ended his career with 249 tackles, 19 pass breakups and 42 quarterback hurries.

When Van Noy was locked in, particularly late in his career, he was unbelievable. He had a knack for making the big play late in games (like at Ole Miss and against San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl). He could bust things up in the backfield (61.5 career tackles for a loss) but could also drop back into coverage (seven interceptions). He spearheaded some impressive BYU defenses.

In many ways, I saw Muirbrook as being the epitome of what a linebacker should be during his run in the mid-1990s, particularly during the spectacular 1996 season. He would get into the backfield (19 career sacks, 29 QB hurries), make plays all over the field (345 career tackles) and lead a strong, confident defense to 14 wins. That earned my top spot from an impressive collection of Cougar linebackers.

Muirbrook was a gutty, big-play linebacker repping that terrific 14-1 team in 1996. He was always around the ball and his performance in the Cotton Bowl — 11 unassisted tackles, five tackles for loss, six sacks and a safety — is one of the all-time best in college football bowl history.

Morris — “Freight Train” to his friends — was a force of nature who had a personality as big as his game. Many forget Morris started out as a fullback. When he got back from his LDS mission, he stepped into the middle linebacker role and started tossing people around. His junior year, he had 114 unassisted tackles, 16 tackles for loss and six sacks.

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Texas A&M had five representatives on the preseason All-Southeastern Conference football teams in running back Trayveon Williams (second team), place kicker Daniel LaCamera (second team), center Erik McCoy (third team) and defensive linemen Kingsley Keke (third team) and Landis Durham (third team).

BOURBONNAIS -- It doesn’t seem that long ago that Bears guard Kyle Long was a frisky colt, inexperienced but blessed with enough God-given size, strength and athleticism to make him a first-round draft pick and a 2013 opening-day starter as a rookie.

BOURBONNAIS -- Coach Matt Nagy was determined to hold a two-hour practice outdoors on Friday to open training camp, and several rounds of heavy showers were not about to alter his plan or even slow the pace of the workout.

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TROY – A day after being picked to finish second in the East Division in the Sun Belt Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, Troy received 11 selections on the Preseason All-Sun Belt Team, the league office announced Friday.

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ATLANTA — The four-day hurly burly that is Southeastern Conference media days is a constant scramble for the next story, and then the next. But, in a few quiet moments, there were times this past week to speak to some national college football writers and get an outside perspective on LSU, going into this season and as a program: