Though recent times have been tough in Boulder, Colorado University has its share of great players in history. Let’s take a look at the names that will live on in black and gold history and watch closely to see if any others may join the list some day.
Read more here on how to bet on Colorado football next season.
Rashaan Salaam, RB (1992-94)
Salaam may have only been a starter for one of his three seasons in Boulder, but it may have been the single greatest season in CU history. In the 1994 season, Salaam ran for 2,055 yards and 24 touchdowns, becoming the lone player in CU history to win the Heisman Trophy.
Salaam cleaned house at the awards that year, taking home the Doak Walker for the best running back in the nation, the Walter Camp Trophy as player of the year, and the Big Eight offensive player of the year accolades. He also became just the fourth person in history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.
— Mile High Matt (@MileHighMatt12) August 14, 2023
Byron White, RB (1935-37)
To some, White is the greatest player in Buffs history. He was runner-up in the 1937 Heisman Trophy voting, leading the nation in rushing yards (1,121), total offense (1,596), all-purpose yards (1,970), and total scoring (122 points).
If that wasn’t enough, he was a bona fide star before television and social media could elevate him to national publicity. He threw it, ran it, returned kickoffs, punted, and even had eight career interceptions. There is little doubt about the greatness that White brought to the field during his time in Boulder.
In a ten year period, Byron White: graduated valedictorian from Colorado, was runner up for the Heisman, got a rhodes scholarship, led the NFL in rushing yards, served on the Pacific front, and graduated from Yale law school.
Did I mention he would later be on the Supreme Court? pic.twitter.com/3LoUsr1PmN
— Let people live where they want 🏳️🌈🌐🇺🇦 (@captgouda24) July 11, 2023
Darian Hagan, QB (1988-91)
The true glory days of Colorado came during the Bill McCartney era, with 1988 to 1994 being an incredible time for those associated with the program. Hagan may have made his case as the greatest quarterback in CU history and one of the better option quarterbacks ever.
Hagan is on this list partially due to the fact that he helped lead Colorado to a national championship. While making many memorable plays, Hagan threw for 3,800 yards, ran for another 2,000, and picked up 54 touchdowns. Even more impressively, he went 19-0-1 against Big Eight foes, winning three conference championships along the way.
He is now the RB coach for the Buffs. Can he become part of the best coaches in Buffaloes history?
— DNVR Buffs (@DNVR_Buffs) October 13, 2022
Joe Romig, G/LB (1959-61)
Throughout the history of Colorado Football, there has been no shortage of great linemen. Romig, however, is without a doubt the best of the bunch. Being named to two All-American teams will do that. Romig was also the UPI national lineman of the year for 1961. If that’s not impressive enough, he finished sixth in the Heisman voting.
In history, only Salaam and Eric Bieniemy have earned more Heisman votes than Romig. Oh, he was also an elite linebacker on the other side of the ball. That’s not even mentioning the fact that he was a Rhodes Scholar, skipping pro football to get a master’s in physics from Oxford University.
Joe Romig – Colorado pic.twitter.com/wo03HDM7zz
— BLeeJones (JEDI_CIO) (@BLeeJones) August 9, 2022
Bobby Anderson, QB/RB (1967-69)
Anderson is the youngest of CU’s famed brother duo. As a senior, he was an All-American while playing running back. This is very impressive but even more so when you consider that he got honorable mention All-American honors two years prior as a quarterback.
Anderson was All-Big Eight in 1968 (as a quarterback) and 1969 (as a running back). As a senior, he was asked to move to running back and he continued to dominate. He left as the leader in rushing yards (2,367), while finishing fourth in passing (2,198). Without a doubt one of the biggest dual threats in Colorado history.
Bobby Anderson QB/RB Colorado pic.twitter.com/aXSWh7ttkn
— BLeeJones (JEDI_CIO) (@BLeeJones) August 13, 2022
Alfred Williams, LB (1987-90)
When talking about the greatest defensive players in Buffs history, Williams is going to be one of the first names mentioned. Part of that has to do with the fact that he was a first-team All-American in 1990, following a second-team nod the year prior.
Williams also became the first Buff to win serious hardware, capturing the 1990 Butkus Award. Williams was twice the Big Eight defensive player of the year. He also is still the all-time leader in tackles for loss (59) and sacks (35). Williams was dominant in every sense of the word during his time in Boulder.
Alfred Williams, University of Colorado and Denver Broncos. pic.twitter.com/jvKlL5eSzp
— Christian Torres 🐴❄️🏆🏆🏆⛏️🏆🏔️🚫 (@BroncoChris1970) July 7, 2022
Dick Anderson, SS (1965-67)
What endeared Anderson, the sibling of Bobby, is that he was a standout at Boulder High as well. Anderson managed All-Big Eight Conference and All-American honors as a senior, becoming one of the most dominant players in the nation as an upperclassman.
Anderson ranks third ever in terms of interceptions with 14, setting the single-season record during his senior season. As part of the College Football Hall of Fame, there is little doubt that both Dick and his brother Bobby had a huge impact during their time with the Buffs in the 1960s.
Happy Birthday Safety Dick Anderson, #Colorado Buffaloes, College Football Hall of Fame. #CUlture #GOBUFFS #CollegeFootball @SportsHistoryHQ @FilmHistoric #MiamiDolphins #NFL @DickAndersonNFL pic.twitter.com/du97Hwegmr
— History of College Football (@HistColFootball) February 10, 2021
Eric Bienemy, RB (1987-1990)
Before Rashaan Salaam, there was Eric Bienemy. The back was an absolute stud for three years, racking up more than 1,000 yards in 1988 and 1990. That feat has only been achieved by one other Buff, Phillip Lindsay. But that’s just the start of the accolades that Bienemy racked up during his time in Boulder.
In 1990, Bienemy was a consensus All-American, running for 1,628 yards and picking up 17 touchdowns. Those numbers were good enough to earn him a third-place finish in the Heisman Trophy ballots. Oh, he also happened to be a major cog in the lone national championship in school history. Bienemy was as good as it gets not only as a running back, but as a Colorado Buffalo.
Greatest RB From Every Power Five Program 🏈
Colorado: Eric Bienemy (1987-1990)
High School: Bishop Amat High School (La Puente, CA)
AP All-American '90
National Champion '90
Big Eight Offensive POY '90
2x All-Big Eight '88, '90#Pac12FB #SkoBuffs 🦬 https://t.co/sjelxPCbkX pic.twitter.com/FrnTs8lLmu
— stadiumtalkcom (@stadiumtalkcom) August 21, 2023
Though times have been tough in recent memory, there are still many great names to look back upon in Colorado Football history. From dominant running backs to dual threats that controlled the game on both sides of the ball, there is a little bit of everything. With Deion Sanders now in charge the Buffs can be hopeful of seeing new names joining this list soon.
The fact is, despite the ups and downs, the Colorado Buffaloes are still one of the best sports teams in Colorado.
Though there haven’t been many major award winners to don the black and gold, there have been a few to achieve the highest honors. Those men will go down as some of the greatest players to ever do it for the Colorado Buffalos football program.
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