Top 10 Best Texas A&M College Football Players of All Time
The Texas A&M Aggies began playing the sport of football over a century ago, in 1894. They have taken home three national titles in that time, all in the early 20th century (1919, 1927, 1939). Over the years, they have had some incredibly talented players. The remainder of this piece will talk about the ten greatest players in program history.
Who Are the Best Texas A&M University Football Players of All Time?
- Johnny Manziel
- Von Miller
- Myles Garrett
- Dat Nguyen
- Mike Evans
- Ray Childress
- Sam Adams
- Darren Lewis
- John David Crow
- Quentin Coryatt
1. Johnny Manziel
- Two-time First Team All-SEC selection (2012, 2013)
- 2012 First Team All-American
- 2012 Heisman Trophy winner
One of the most exciting college football players in recent memory, quarterback Johnny Manziel deserves the nod as the greatest player in Texas A&M history. After redshirting in 2011, Manziel started for the Aggies for two seasons in 2012 and 2013. He was a two-time First Team All-SEC selection and won the Heisman Trophy, the Davey O’Brien Award, and the SEC Offensive Player of the Year award in 2012. He also was a First Team All-American in 2012.
Despite only playing for two seasons, Manziel still ranks third in school history in passing yards (7,820) and third in passing touchdowns (63). He also was an outstanding runner and is in the top twenty all-time in both rushing yards (2,169) and rushing touchdowns (30).
With Manziel leading the way, Texas A&M went 20-6, winning the Cotton Bowl in 2012 and the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in 2013. The Cleveland Browns then went on to draft him in the 2014 NFL Draft with the twenty-second overall pick. His NFL career did not amount to much, but his two years in College Station will not soon be forgotten.
2. Von Miller
- Two-time First Team All-American selection (2009, 2010)
- Two-time First Team All-Big 12 selection (2009, 2010)
- 2010 Jack Lambert Trophy winner
The greatest defensive player in Aggies history is linebacker Von Miller. Miller played for four years in College Station from 2007-2010. He was a two-time First Team All-American (2009, 2010), a two-time First Team All-Big 12 selection (2009, 2010) and won the 2010 Jack Lambert Trophy and the 2010 Butkus Award.
A player who has always known how to get after the quarterback, Miller sits in fifth place on the all-time sacks list at Texas A&M with 33. His 17 that he had in 2009 are the second most in school history in a single season. From 2007-2010, with Miller playing a key role in the defense, the team had a winning record of 26-25. They made three Bowl games in four years, although they were defeated in each of them.
After his four years were up, the Denver Broncos used the second overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft to select Miller. Miller has won two Super Bowls in the NFL with the Broncos (2016) and the Los Angeles Rams (2022) and he is still playing in the league today.
3. Myles Garrett
- Two-time First Team All-American selection (2015, 2016)
- Three-time All-SEC Team selection (2014-2016)
- 2015 Bill Willis Trophy Award winner
One of the best defensive linemen in the NFL today, Myles Garrett starred in his days with Texas A&M. Garrett was in College Station for three years from 2014-2016 before heading off to the NFL. He made an All-SEC Team all three years, was a two-time First Team All-American (2015, 2016), and won the Bill Willis Trophy in 2015.
Like Von Miller, Garrett always had a way to get to the quarterback, and he has the sixth most sacks in team history with 32.5. He had 4.5 sacks in one game in 2016 against UTSA, the second most in a single game in school history. With him leading the defense up front, the team went 24-15 from 2014-2016, winning the Liberty Bowl in 2014.
After forgoing his senior season and heading to the NFL, the Cleveland Browns drafted Garrett with the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He has since become one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL, still playing with the Browns today.
4. Dat Nguyen
- 1998 First Team All-American
- 1998 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year
- Three-time All-Big 12 Team selection (1996-1998)
The third straight defensive player on this list is linebacker Dat Nguyen. He played the position for the Aggies for four years from 1995-1998. In that time, he was a three-time All-Big 12 selection (1996-1998), won the 1998 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, won the 1998 Chuck Bednarik Award, and was a 1998 First Team All-American.
Nguyen was all over the field during his time with the Aggies, and he registered the most tackles in program history with 517, a mark he still holds today. On two occasions in 1997, he had 20 in one game, the third most in a single game in school history. With Nguyen as the quarterback of the defense from 1995-1998, the Aggies went 35-16, winning the Alamo Bowl in 1995 and the 1998 Big 12 Championship.
Once his outstanding four-year career was complete, Nguyen was drafted in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Nguyen had a solid seven-year career with the Cowboys, and he was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
5. Mike Evans
- 2013 First Team All-SEC
- 2013 First Team All-American
- 2012 SEC All-Freshman Team
Rounding out the first half of this list is the greatest wide receiver in program history and Johnny Manziel’s number one target in college in Mike Evans. Evans was on the team from 2011-2013, and after redshirting in 2011, he was a star for two years in 2012 and 2013. He made the SEC All-Freshman team in 2012, and he was a First Team All-American and a First Team All-SEC member in 2013.
Even though he only played for the Aggies for two seasons, Evans has the sixth most receiving yards, at 2,499, and the seventh most receiving touchdowns, with 17, in school history. As with Manziel, Texas A&M was 20-6 between 2012 and 2013, winning two Bowl Games (2012 Cotton Bowl, 2013 Chick-Fil-A Bowl).
After deciding to enter the 2014 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used the seventh overall pick to select Evans. Evans became one of the best all-around players in the NFL in Tampa Bay, and he helped the team win the Super Bowl in 2021.
6. Ray Childress
- Two-time First Team All-American selection (1983, 1984)
- Two-time First Team All-Southwest Conference selection (1983, 1984)
- Top ten in Texas A&M history in sacks, tackles
Another great defensive player kicks off the second half of this list in Ray Childress. Childress was great for the Aggies in the early 1980s from 1981-1984. He made two First Team All-Southwest Conference teams (1983, 1984) and was a two-time First Team All-American.
When it comes to his numbers, Childress has the fifth most tackles (360) and the ninth most sacks (25) in team history. The 15 sacks he had in 1983 are the third most in a single season in program history. In his four years on campus, Texas A&M had an overall record of 23-21-1, winning the Independence Bowl in Childress’ freshman year in 1981.
In the 1985 NFL Draft, Childress was considered for the number one pick, but he ended up going up number three overall to the Houston Oilers. He wound up playing eleven years for the Oilers and having a great career with them. Those days, along with his time in College Station, earned him a spot in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
7. Sam Adams
- 1993 First Team All-American
- 1993 Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year
- Two-time All-Southwest Conference First Team selection (1992, 1993)
Around a decade after Childress starred on defense for the Aggies, Sam Adams came along as another great defensive lineman. Adams played for Texas A&M for three years from 1991-1993 before heading off to the NFL. In his three years, he made two All-Southwest Conference First Teams (1992, 1993), was the 1993 Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and was a 1993 First Team All-American.
Adams’ junior season in 1993 was incredible, and when it was all said and done, he finished that year with an all-around stat line of 78 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries. Adams was a part of some of the best teams in school history, as the team went 32-5 during his three years and won the Southwest Conference title all three years.
After deciding to head to the NFL rather than play his senior season, Adams was rewarded by being selected eighth overall by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1994 NFL Draft. He had a nice NFL career for six teams over fourteen years, and he helped the Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl in 2001.
8. Darren Lewis
- Two-time All-American (1988, 1990)
- Two-time Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year Award winner (1988, 1990)
- Aggies’ all-time leader in rushing yards
Arguably the best running back in school history is Darren Lewis. Lewis started for four years for the Aggies from 1987-1990. He was a two-time Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year (1988, 1990) and a two-time All-American (1988, 1990).
On the Aggies’ all-time rushing leaderboards, Lewis has the most rushing yards with 5,012 and the second most rushing touchdowns with 44. His 5,012 rushing yards are over 1,300 more than the player with the next most. In his four years from 1987-1990, the team went 34-17-1, winning the Cotton Bowl in 1987 and closing out Lewis’ career with a victory in the Holiday Bowl in 1990.
A few months after that Holiday Bowl, the Chicago Bears used a sixth round pick in the 1991 NFL Draft to select Lewis. His NFL career was brief, only playing three years for the Bears, but his college days were certainly some for the record books.
9. John David Crow
- 1957 Heisman Trophy Winner
- 1957 First Team All-American
- 1957 UPI Player of the Year
Another player who has a case as the best running back in Texas A&M history is John David Crow. Crow is the oldest player on this list, starring in College Station for three years from 1955-1957 (freshmen were not eligible to play at this time). After his senior year in 1957, he won the Heisman Trophy, the UPI Player of the Year Award, the Sporting News Player of the Year, and was a First Team All-American.
Throughout his career, Crow racked up 1,465 rushing yards, fourteen rushing touchdowns, 288 receiving yards, four receiving touchdowns, and five passing touchdowns, so he did a little everything for the Aggies. Overall, Texas A&M was 24-5-2 while Crow was on the team, winning the Southwest Conference title in 1956.
Once his college days were over, Crow went number two overall in the 1958 NFL Draft to the Chicago (now Arizona) Cardinals. He played eleven years in the pros for the Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers. He eventually made the NFL’s 1960s all-decade team.
10. Quentin Coryatt
- 1991 All-American Selection
- 1991 Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year
- Two-time All-Southwest Conference selection (1990, 1991)
The final player to make this list is another defensive star in Quentin Coryatt. Coryatt was a four year player for the Aggies from 1988-1991. He made two All-Southwest Conference teams (1990, 1991), was the 1991 Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and was a 1991 All-American.
Coryatt’s all-around numbers throughout his career included 184 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, and three fumble recoveries. Coryatt was a part of one of the better runs in Texas A&M history, and overall the team was 34-14-1 from 1988-1991, winning the first of three straight Southwest Conference titles in 1991. The team also won the Holiday Bowl in 1990. Coryatt went on to be drafted number two overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1991 NFL Draft. He had a solid NFL career across seven seasons for the Colts and Dallas Cowboys, although it was not quite what one would expect from a number two overall pick.
- Marcus Buckley
- Aaron Glenn
- Warrick Holdman
- Johnny Holland
- John Kimbrough
- Charlie Krueger
- Jake Matthews
- Kevin Smith
- Richard Webb
- Trayveon Williams
Who is the best Texas A&M quarterback of all time?
Doubling as the best player overall in program history, the best quarterback ever at Texas A&M is Johnny Manziel. Manziel was a two year starter for the team in 2012 and 2013 after redshirting in 2011. He was a two-time First Team All-SEC selection and won the Heisman Trophy, the Davey O’Brien Award, and the SEC Offensive Player of the Year award in 2012. He also was a First Team All-American in that 2012 season.
Who is the best Texas A&M wide receiver of all time?
One of the best wide receivers in the NFL currently, the best wide receiver in Aggie history is Mike Evans. Evans played the same two years as Manziel for the Aggies in 2012 and 2013 after redshirting in 2011. He made the SEC All-Freshman team in 2012, and he was a First Team All-American and a First Team All-SEC member in 2013. He also is in the top ten all-time at the school in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns despite only playing two years.
Who is the best Texas A&M running back of all time?
There are a few different options, but Darren Lewis deserves the title of best running back in Texas A&M history. Lewis starred in the late 1980s for the Aggies from 1987 to 1990. In 1988 and 1990, he won Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year and was named an All-American each of those years as well. He is the Aggies’ all-time leader in rushing yards and is second in rushing touchdowns.