The offseason is a long, lonely time. Without live sports to preview, recap and analyze, our only pastime becomes heated debates about the archaic and arcane. What a perfect time for a B.O.A.T. Team!
What is a B.O.A.T. Team, you ask? Why, Best Of All Time, of course. It's the combination of players who would form the best team: complementary skill sets, adjusted for era and scheme. So if two guys were both amazing in their own right, but your lineup only allows room for one guy like that, only one makes the cut.
We're planning to do these across many Virginia sports. But with football being the closest around the corner, football is where we'll start. For this B.O.A.T. Team, we're lining up in a two-back, two-wideout set on offense; except for an ill-fated dalliance with the spread, this is a slight variation on the most common offense Virginia teams have played. On defense, it's the 4-3—the old standby of college defenses.
QB: Shawn Moore (1987–90): Narrowly edging out Matt Schaub; finished 4th in Heisman voting in 1990 after leading the country in passing efficiency; jersey retired.
RB1: Thomas Jones (1996–99): Virginia's all-time leading rusher with almost 4,000 yards; consensus All-American in 1999 and 7th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.
RB2: Bill Dudley (1938–41): The Bullet; won the 1941 Maxwell Award and was a consensus All-American that same year; 1st overall pick in the 1942 NFL Draft; inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966; jersey retired.
WR1: Herman Moore (1987–90): Bonus points for being teammate of Shawn Moore, the fabled Moore-to-Moore connection; 1990 consensus All-American; holds NCAA record for career yards per reception (22); jersey retired.
WR2: Billy McMullen (1999–2002): backed up by John Ford; led ACC in receptions (83), receiving yards (1,060) and receiving TDs (12) in 2001.
TE: Heath Miller (2001–04): 2004 Mackey Award winner and consensus All-American; first-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft; two-time Super Bowl champion; jersey retired.
OT: D'Brickashaw Ferguson (2002–05): 2005 consensus All-American; 2004 Parade All-American; started four consecutive bowl games at left tackle; 4th overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft.
OG: Elton Brown (2001–04): 2004 consensus All-American and first-team All-ACC; jersey retired.
OC: John St. Clair (1996–99): First-team All-American by College Football News and CNN/SI in 1999; won the 1999 Jacobs Trophy; first-team All-ACC in 1999, second-team in 1998; 3rd round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.
OG: Mark Dixon (1990–93): 1993 consensus first-team All-American; jersey retired.
OT: Jim Dombrowski (1982–85): 1985 consensus All-American; two-time Jacobs Trophy winner; 6th overall pick of the 1986 NFL Draft; jersey retired.
DE: Chris Long (2004–07): 2007 consensus All-American, Hendricks Award winner and ACC Defensive Player of the Year; finished 10th in 2007 Heisman voting; 2nd overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft; jersey retired.
DT: Monsanto Pope (1998–2001): 7th round pick of the 2002 NFL Draft.
DT: Henry Jordan (1953–56): 5th round pick in the 1957 NFL Draft; runner-up in the 1957 NCAA wrestling championships; four-time Pro Bowl selection, two-time Super Bowl champion; elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
DE: Chris Slade (1989–92): 1992 consensus first-team All-American; 2nd round pick in the 1993 NFL Draft.
OLB: Ahmad Brooks (2003–05): OK, I get that this pick will probably be controversial. But he was one of the most heralded recruits in the history of Virginia football. I can also admit he's on the list because of this play. Backed up by Darryl Blackstock
MLB: Jamie Sharper (1993–96): Bonus points for having been a real-world teammate of another B.O.A.T. team member; backed up by Byron Thweatt
OLB: James Farrior (1993-96): Bonus points for having been a real-world teammate of another B.O.A.T. team member; backed up by Angelo Crowell.
CB: Ronde Barber (1994–96): 1994 ACC Freshman of the Year; three-time first-team All-ACC; 3rd round pick in the 1997 NFL Draft; jersey retired.
CB: Keith McMeans (1987–90): Virginia record-holder for career interceptions (17); led nation in interceptions in 1987 (9); same bonus points as Farrior/Sharper
FS: Tony Covington (1987–90): Same bonus points as Farrior/Sharper; second-team All-ACC in 1989 and 1990; 4th round pick in the 1991 NFL Draft.
SS: Anthony Poindexter (1995–98): DEX! 1997 first-team All-American; stuffed Warrick Dunn to seal 1995 victory over Florida State; college career ended by blown-out knee mid-1998 season, but was still a 7th round pick in the 1999 NFL Draft; jersey retired.
K: Connor Hughes (2003–05): led ACC in field goal percentage in 2003 and 2005; 92% field goal percentage in 2003 was 2nd nationally; 2005 Groza Award semifinalist.
P: Russ Henderson (1975–78): Our only All-American from my parents' four years at the University; drafted 224th overall by the Baltimore Colts in the 1979 NFL Draft.
KR1: Joe Sroba (1974–76): Virginia's all-time leader in kickoffs returned and kickoff return yardage; admittedly played in the 70s, had a LOOOOOOT of practice returning kickoffs
KR2: Terry Kirby (1989–92): Because you really ought to have two kick returners; led the ACC in yards from scrimmage in 1990 and 1991; 3rd round pick in the 1993 NFL Draft; jersey retired.
PR: Tiki Barber (1993–96): Led the ACC in punt return yardage in 1996 (12.7 yards per return); 1996 ACC Player of the Year; 2nd all-time in rushing yardage at Virginia; in both 1994 and 1995, led the ACC in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, yards from scrimmage and touchdowns from scrimmage; 2nd round pick of the 1997 NFL Draft; jersey retired.
That's what we think. What do you think? Did we nail it? Did we botch it? Is one guy on there clearly for sentimental reasons or left off in a miscarriage of justice?