FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Welcome to the first edition of the reveal series for the DNVR Rams All-Time Team.
Over the next couple of weeks or so, we will be announcing the squad position by position, before starting a dynasty mode with the elite CSU squad on NCAA Football 2013 via XBOX 360.
Once the roster is announced in its entirety, DNVR members will be allowed to help determine the starting lineup, who the Rams will face in the non-conference slate, and eventually pick which league CSU will bolt the Mountain West for in the virtual reality.
Now, before we really get into the roster — remember that this activity is supposed to be a fun way to connect multiple generations of Ram fans, while paying homage to some of the greatest football players to ever pass through Fort Collins.
Having said that, though, it’s literally impossible to include every single person that is deserving of recognition. Colorado Agricultural College played its first football game in 1893. So, really, we are trying to narrow down about 130 years worth of history into a roster of 50-something guys. Please keep this in mind if some of your favorite players are not included on the roster.
Now that we have covered what the team is supposed to represent, here is some background information on what factors went into the selection process. Obviously, this whole activity is subjective but for the sake of accuracy and fairness, these are the factors that generally guided the decisions.
Everybody loves a winner; and that’s why a large portion of this team consists of players from the Sonny Lubick era. However, both individual and team successes were considered. So even if somebody played for a losing team or two, if they also put up monster numbers, there’s a good chance that they made the final cut.
While numbers tend to be the easiest component to back up an argument with, they don’t always tell the whole story — especially for the players that came from less flashy eras.
With that in mind, some of the selected don’t show up all over the record books. Instead they are represented because of what they meant to the program in a greater historical context.
As addressed above, the goal when creating this team was to highlight as many generations of CSU football as possible. Because of this, though, there were successful players that did not make the final cut.
Perhaps the best example of this conundrum is at the quarterback position. Anybody that played in the modern era is naturally going to have greater passing numbers than somebody that suited up in say the 1970’s. Does it mean the modern players are always more deserving because they have the stats? Not necessarily.
So, because we wanted to include some of the QB’s that helped pave the way for the program’s eventual success, guys like Nick Stevens (Modern) and Matt Newton (1990’s) ended up being passed over for Mark Driscoll (1970’s), Kelly Stouffer (1980’s) and Anthoney Hill (1990’s).
Again, this is not to say that Stevens and Newton aren’t deserving — the former is CSU’s all-time leader in touchdown passes, and the latter owns the highest winning percentage of any signal caller in program history (76 percent). But to ensure that multiple generations were represented, and stats were not overemphasized, we added the caveat that no more than two QB’s from a single decade could be included.
Without further ado, DNVR presents part one of the All-Time Rams Team.
Mark Driscoll (1971-75)
When discussing the great quarterbacks in the history of the program, Mark Driscoll has to be in the conversation.
Between his legendary performance in the infamous 33-33 tie against BYU in 1974, and leading the Rams back-to-back Border War victories after the Pokes had won seven straight, Driscoll is someone that the older generation of fans will always remember fondly.
In a 1974 blowout of Nevada, Driscoll tossed six touchdown passes in a record-setting victory at Hughes Stadium (66-17). Over the years, multiple CSU QB’s have come close to tying the high mark. In total, five different Rams have finished with five passing touchdowns in a single contest, including most recently, K.J. Carta-Samuels (2018). Four and a half decades later, though, that sixth touchdown pass still separates Driscoll from the rest of the field.
Finally, as impressive as Driscoll’s accomplishments on the gridiron are, the biggest reason that he is on the all-time Rams roster is Driscoll is synonymous with the program. He played and coached for the Rams. He was an Athletic Director for CSU from 2003-06. And in recent years Driscoll has worked as a color analyst for CSU football’s radio broadcasts. He truly bleeds green and gold.
Kelly Stouffer (1984-86)
A three-year starter for the Rams and a first round pick in the 1987 NFL Draft, Kelly Stouffer was easily CSU’s best quarterback of the Leon Fuller era (1982-88).
To this day, Stouffer ranks third all-time in passing yards (7,142) and attempts (1,015). He’s top-10 in completion percentage (.568), touchdown passes (36) and 300-yard passing performances (7) as well.
From a winning perspective, there have certainly been more successful quarterbacks than Stouffer. The Rams only had one winning campaign in his three years running the show (1986). However, Stouffer is widely viewed as the first truly elite passing QB in program history — and that’s the main reason he’s on the roster.
Furthermore, Stouffer went 2-1 in Border War matchups and led CSU to its first victory over Colorado in nearly three decades (1986). Both of which help make up for the Rams’ general lack of team success during those years.
Anthoney Hill (1991-94)
Much like Driscoll, Anthoney Hill makes the team because of what we have deemed the Green and Gold Factor.
Hill won less games in his career than Matt Newton and threw less touchdowns than Nick Stevens or even Caleb Hanie. When looking at his role in the history of the program, though, Hill was one of the key guys that helped Sonny Lubick turn things around between 1993-94.
In 1994, Hill’s senior season, the Rams finished 10-2 overall and captured the school’s first-ever Western Athletic Conference Championship. During the dominant run, CSU was ranked in the top 25 for eight consecutive weeks and even spent about a month in the top 10 (AP Poll).
As a result of the success, Hill was named second-team All-WAC after finishing the year with career-high figures for passing yards (2,552), completion percentage (53 percent) and passing touchdowns (16).
Looking at the 1994 season in a vacuum, one could make a pretty strong argument for Hill’s inclusion on the squad. After all that team provided some of the most significant moments in program history.
But when also factoring in his stints as a grad assistant (1998), assistant coach (2008-11), and Director of Player Development & Community/Alumni Relations (2015-19), Hill’s commitment to Colorado State University as a whole gives him the clear edge over some of the other borderline players like Newton, Hanie or Stevens.
Moses Moreno (1994-97)
The starting QB for what is widely recognized as the best CSU team ever, the 1997 Rams, Moses Moreno was able to guide the green and gold to a Holiday Bowl victory over No. 19 Missouri and cap off his iconic senior season with one of the biggest wins in school history.
Honestly, Moreno’s performance in that 1997 Holiday Bowl alone is enough to certify him as a Rams legend and lock down his spot on the all-time roster— but, really, the postseason win over a Big-12 team was just icing on the cake
In Moreno’s four years at CSU, the Rams never once suffered a losing season and they owned at least a share of the conference title three times. Obviously, a ton of the credit goes to Sonny Lubick and his staff for building up the program. But without Moreno slinging the rock, who knows if the Rams would have been quite so dominant during those years.
As the record book currently stands, Moreno ranks third all-time in touchdown passes (51), second in wins as a starting quarterback (21) and third in career passer efficiency rating (142.9). However, what separates Moreno from some of the other extremely successful passing QB’s in school history is the fact that he put up those monster numbers before the rules were changed to drastically favor offenses.
Without the officials protecting him, Moreno took some absolutely brutal shots— even with an extremely talented offensive line. No matter how much punishment he took, though, Moreno always got back up to make the next play and lead the Rams to victory. And that’s why he is one of the most beloved players to ever don the green and gold.
Bradlee Van Pelt (2001-03)
Undeniably one of the most popular players in program history, Bradlee Van Pelt (BVP) makes the DNVR Rams All-Time Roster because, well, Duh.
There have been better true passers than BVP and there have been dudes that ran much more complicated systems. But no one managed to captivate the Ram Faithful in the same way that Van Pelt did.
Van Pelt was the type of player that left it all out on the field, no matter what. He was the kind of guy that would drop a shoulder on a linebacker — not always because it was the smart play — but so that the defenders knew he was a bad motherf***** too. He was a beer drinking, trash talking, head spiking son of a gun.**
Putting things simply, BVP was everything that makes college football great. And any all-time Rams roster that excludes him would be illegitimate.
(**Works best in a Ric Flair voice but it’s up to you.)
Garrett Grayson (2011-14)
Garrett Grayson represents the modern era for a variety of reasons.
For starters, Grayson is all over the history books. He is Colorado State’s all-time leader in completions (688), passing yards (9,190) and 300+ yard performances (12) — not to mention a bunch of other single-season records to his name as well.
Beyond his incredibly impressive passing numbers, though, the biggest reason Grayson makes the DNVR Rams All-Time Team is that he helped bring excitement back to Hughes Stadium after roughly 15 straight years of misery.
Without the efforts of guys like Grayson, Weston Richburg and Shaquil Barrett, the Rams very easily could have faded away into irrelevance — much like UNLV and New Mexico have over the last decade or so. But because of winners like No. 18, the Rams have a gorgeous on-campus stadium to call home and are still in position to be one of the better G5 football programs in the country.
Regardless of how his NFL career ended up playing out, there’s no doubt that Grayson played a big role in helping Jim McElwain transform CSU football; and he should be absolutely be considered one of the top 3 QB’s in school history.