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June 28, 2011 at 2:30 PM

UW’s Top 10 Defensive Players of the Pac-10 Era

emtman.jpg

On to our second list of the best UW players of the Pac-10 era, this one reveiwing the defense.

And there should be little debate about who is at the top of this group — defensive tackle Steve Emtman (pictured right). He’s the only No. 1 overall NFL pick in school history and was the leader of the 1991 national title team as well as a two-time winner of the conference’s Morris Trophy (awarded to the best offensive and defensive linemen in the conference as voted on by opposing players) as well as a two-time All-American.

But the rest of the list gets a little trickier as UW spent the early part of the Pac-10 era known for its stout defenses, leading the conference in total defense five times from 1979-91 (though sadly for UW fans, never again). The 9.2 points allowed per game by the ’91 team was the third-lowest of the Pac-10 era (Arizona’s Desert Swarm allowed 8.9 in 1992 and USC 9.0 in 2008).

So there are an awful lot of deserving players. But I vowed to pick 10, so here they are, with a list of some others who deserve mention at the bottom.

1, Steve Emtman — Might have had the best two-season run in school history in 1990-91. Was Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year each season, the only player to accomplish that feat.

2, Dave Hoffmann — Standout inside linebacker was a stalwart of the 90-92 defenses and was the 1992 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time all-conference pick.

3, Ron Holmes — Defensive star of the 1985 Orange Bowl winning team, the defensive end set a school record with 23 tackles-for-a-loss as a junior in 1983. A consensus All-American in 1984.

4, Lawyer Milloy — Was a unanimous selection as a consensus All-American safety in 1995, the last UW defender accorded those honors and along with Emtman, the only one of the Pac-10 era.

5, Reggie Rogers — Later off-field issues can’t detract from what a talent he was on the field, winning the Morris Trophy in 1986 and being a two-time All-Conference pick and a consensus All-American in 1986.

6, Larry Tripplett — Defensive leader of the 2000 Rose Bowl team was a two-time All-Conference pick in 2000 and 2001 — the last UW DL to be named to the all-conference team (Daniel Te’o-Nesheim was second team in 2009).

7, Doug Martin — Defensive tackle was a two-time All-Conference pick in 78 and 79 as well as a starter on the 77 team that won the Rose Bowl.

8, Dana Hall — All-conference cornerback in 1991 helped shut down the back end so Emtman and company could run wild up front.

9, D’Marco Farr — Morris Trophy winner in 1993, the last UW defender to win that award.

10, Mark Stewart — Linebacker was a leader on the early ’80s standout teams and turned in a game for the ages against UCLA in 1982 with five sacks.

Just missed the cut: Fletcher Jenkins (won the Morris Trophy in 1981); Donald Jones (speed rusher epitomized UW’s then-revolutionary eight-man front of the early ’90s); Michael Jackson (would have made the list except he played just one year in the Pac-10 era); Joe Kelly (linebacker an emotional leader of the 1984 team); Jason Chorak (1996 defensive player of the year when he set school record with 14.5 sacks); Mason Foster (hugely productive LB who was leader of the 2010 Holiday Bowl winners); Daniel Te’o-Nesheim (set school record in sacks); Ink Aleaga (two-time All-Conference pick as a LB); Ray Horton (shutdown corner on 1981 Rose Bowl winners).

Honorable mention: Tony Parrish, Dennis Brown, Nesby Glasgow (another who had just one year in Pac-10), Tim Meamber, Travis Richardson, Jerry Jensen, Chico Fraley, Fred Small, Hakim Akbar, Vestee Jackson, C.J. Wallace, Charles Mincey, Mark Jerue, Bruce Harrell, Antowaine Richardson, Jabari Issa, Walter Bailey. (Edit: Added Bailey upon reader input).

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