The best running back in Auburn history did not make the school’s all-time NFL team.
But Bo Jackson wasn’t alone. Jackson won a Heisman Trophy at Auburn then opted to play baseball for the Kansas City Royals rather than football for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who made him the first overall pick of the 1986 NFL draft. Jackson became an all-star outfielder for the Royals but would eventually return to football.
But Jackson suffered a career-ending hip injury in 1991 in just his fourth NFL season, leaving us wonder what might have been. As a part-time football player, Jackson averaged 5.4 yards per career carry with 16 touchdowns in 38 games.
Auburn has running backs who were selected with the first overall picks in drafts (Jackson and Tucker Frederickson in 1965), second overall (Ronnie Brown in 2005), fourth overall (Brent Fullwood in 1987), fifth overall (Cadillac Williams in 2005) and seventh overall (Joe Childress in 1956). James Brooks also became a first-round pick, Joe Cribbs a second, William Andrews a third and Stephen Davis and Rudi Johnson both fourths.
That group combined for 19 Pro Bowl appearances and 19 1,000-yard rushing seasons. The two backs selected to Auburn’s all-time NFL team were Davis, whose 8,052 NFL rushing yards and 65 touchdowns are tops at the school, and Brooks, who rushed for 7,962 yards and 49 touchdowns.
Here’s Auburn’s all-time NFL team:
QB Cam Newton, 2015 NFL MVP
HB Stephen Davis, 3 Pro Bowls, 4 1,000-yard seasons
FB James Brooks, 4 Pro Bowls, 3 1,000-yard seasons
WR Jim “Red” Phillips, 3 Pro Bowls, 1961 NFL receiving champion
WR Frank Sanders, 9 seasons, 507 catches, 24 TDs
TE Fred Baxter, 12 seasons, blocking TE
OT Willie Anderson, 4 Pro Bowls, 184 starts
OT Wayne Gandy, 15 seasons, 205 starts
G Ben Grubbs, 2 Pro Bowls, 125 starts
G Kendall Simmons, 7 seasons, 83 starts
C Frank Gatski, Hall of Fame
DE Dee Ford, Pro Bowl, 13 sacks in 2018
DE Frank Warren, 13 seasons, 52 ½ sacks
NT Jay Ratliff, 4 Pro Bowls, 35 sacks
DT Gary Walker, 2 Pro Bowls, 46 ½ sacks
OLB Kevin Greene, Hall of Fame
MLB Takeo Spikes, 2 Pro Bowls, 15 seasons, 1,425 tackles
OLB Karlos Dansby, 14 seasons, 1,417 tackles
CB Carlos Rogers, Pro Bowl, 10 seasons, 17 INTs
CB Jerraud Powers, 8 seasons, 13 INTs
S Bobby Hunt, Pro Bowl, 42 INTs
S Bobby Freeman, 6 seasons, 15 INTs
K Neil O’Donoghue, 9 seasons, 112 FGs, 576 points
P Lewis Colbert, 3 seasons, 40.0-yard average
KR Lionel “Little Train” James, 124 PR, 99 KR, 2 TDs
ST Tommie Agee, 33 ST tackles for Super Bowl Cowboys of the 1990s