N.C. State recently revealed the members of the first class that will be enshrined in its new Hall of Fame that opens this October.
The inaugural class holds few surprises. David Thompson, the greatest basketball player in ACC history, is on the list. So are former Wolfpack hoops coaches Everett Case, known as the Father of the ACC because he made the sport so important on Tobacco Road, and Jim Valvano.
NCSU football isnt nearly as decorated as its basketball brethren, but the initial HOF class includes three excellent former players who wore the red and white: Roman Gabriel, Jim Ritcher and Ted Brown.
Memories of the trio spawned thoughts about footballs historical place at N.C. State and the other deserving gridders in the programs history. So to respect the school launching this exciting annual campaign, let's look at the top 10 N.C. State football players of all time:
10. Dave Amerson Entering his junior season with the Wolfpack, Amerson could eventually climb this list. The cornerback led the nation last season with 13 interceptions six more than any other player in Division One. Amerson plays the run well and again should have a terrific season. Hes regarded by some pundits as the top defensive player in the nation.
9. Levar Fisher The linebacker finished his career in 2000 as States all-time leader with 492 tackles. A first-team All-American and two-time, first-team All-ACC member, Fisher was the ACCs Defensive Player of the Year in 2000.
8. Dennis Byrd The anchor up front for States legendary White Shoes defenses in the mid-to-late 1960s, which included former coach Chuck Amato at linebacker, Byrd was N.C. States first consensus All-American. Byrds presence was always felt by the opposition regardless of whether they ran the ball or passed it. The defensive tackle was taken in the first round by the Boston Patriots.
7. Dick Christy An All-American halfback, Christy led State to the 1957 ACC title, which was clinched on an afternoon he scored all 29 of the Wolfpacks points in a three-point win over South Carolina. Christy finished his career holding 14 NCSU records, and later was an All-Pro for a season and led the NFL for two years in punt returns.
6. Mario Williams One of the most highly touted recruits to ever sign with the Wolfpack, Williams didnt disappoint, registering 14.5 sacks in his junior and final season in Raleigh. He played as a true freshman and eventually earned All-American honors and the defensive end was the first player taken in the 2006 NFL draft. He currently plays for the Buffalo Bills.
5. Torry Holt The most exciting player in N.C. State history, Holt was as explosive catching passes as he was returning kicks. A unanimous first-team All-American his senior season, Holt finished as the ACCs all-time leader in receiving yards with 3,379, and owns NCSU records with 191 career receptions and 31 touchdown receptions. The lightning-fast Holt also returned two punts for scores, was the ACCs Offensive Player of the Year as a senior and went on to star for a long time mostly with the St. Louis Rams.
4. Philip Rivers Rivers led the Pack to a late rally and victory in his very first game as a true freshman and the heroics and drama continued for the 51 games he quarterbacked in his four seasons. Rivers was the ACC Player of the Year in 2003 and left Raleigh as the ACCs all-time leader with 13,494 passing yards and 95 touchdown passes. Rivers, who injected life into States program, has had an All-Pro career with the San Diego Chargers.
3. Ted Brown Brown remains the ACCs all-time leading rusher with 4,602 yards and also holds the conferences mark for scoring 51 career touchdowns. Brown was a hard runner but is too often overlooked when mention of the best running backs of his time are discussed. He spent eight seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.
2. Jim Ritcher The best offensive lineman in school history, Ritcher won the Outland Trophy in 1979, the year the Wolfpack won its last ACC title in football. He anchored a line that helped Ted Brown become the ACCs all-time leading rusher. Ritcher, who had a sensational 16-year NFL career, including playing in four Super Bowls with the Buffalo Bills, is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
1. Roman Gabriel The quarterback from Wilmington was a two-time All-American in the early 1960s and left school owning all of its passing records at the time. Gabriel came from the same hometown as former Duke and NFL star Sonny Jurgensen, and he was often measured against Jurgys many successes. As a pro, Gabriel was named the NFLs Most Valuable Player in 1969, and to this day no former Wolfpack player engenders the warm feeling fans get when they hear his name.