A rivals.com fan poll asked respondents to select the greatest football players at various colleges. With 83 percent support Bronko Nagurski was easily the popular choice among former University of Minnesota players. Darrell Thompson was a distant second with less than 20 percent support.
Thompson, the Gophers all-time leading rusher in career yards, mentioned many past Gophers who might have drawn support, including Kent Kitzmann from Thompson’s home town of Rochester. “It’s amazing that people would think of me,” Thompson said.
Kitzmann rushed 57 times in one game for the Gophers as they defeated Illinois in 1977. Kitzmann and Thompson are among the school’s famed running backs including Laurence Maroney, Marion Barber (father and son), Paul Giel, Bob McNamara and Heisman Trophy winner Bruce Smith (the subject of a Hollywood movie).
As for Bronko, he merely made all-American at three positions, end, tackle and fullback. In 1929 he was named all-American at both tackle and fullback, becoming the first player to ever achieve that distinction.