To have one family member play college football is an accomplishment within itself. To have more than one is rare. To have more than one play at the same school and excel is almost unheard of. So who are the top 10 brothers to play college football at the same school?
There have been many brothers who have played at different schools. Eli and Peyton Manning played quarterback at Mississippi and Tennessee respectively. Raghib and Quadre Ismail played at Notre Dame and Syracuse. But this list is about players who called the same school their alma mater and played well.
This list is based solely on what each set of brothers did in college. Here they are:
10. Jay and Joel Hilgenberg, University of Iowa
Both played offensive line for the Hawkeyes with Jay playing from 1977 to 1980 and Joel from 1980 to 1983. Jay was first team All-Big Ten in 1979. Joel was a part of Iowa’s 1981 Big Ten championship team and played in the 1982 Rose Bowl. He made second team All-American in 1983.
9. Eddie and Walter Payton, Jackson State
Both played running back with the Tigers. Older brother Eddie played from 1970 to 1972. Since statistics at historically black colleges are hard to find there is not much more that we know about him. But we do know about Walter. He played for the Tigers from 1971 to 1974 and rushed for over 3,600 yards. Walter made All-American in 1973 and ’74 and set the record for career touchdowns scored with 65. Walter was named Black College Player of the Year in 1973 and ’74.
8. Ronde and Tiki Barber, University of Virginia
The only set of twins on the list, cornerback Ronde and halfback Tiki Barber were the best players on defense and offense respectively for the Cavaliers from 1994-1997. Ronde was elected Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year in 1994 then went on to make first team All-ACC the next three years. He is third on the all-time Virginia interceptions list.
Tiki was All-ACC twice and the first player in school history to post back to back 1,000 yard seasons. He holds the school single season rushing record and is second on the Virginia all-time list.
7. Brian and Bennie Blades, University of Miami
The Blades brothers of The U played from 1984 to 1987. Brian played wide receiver and Bennie defensive back. Brian had a productive career at Miami with 1985 his best season as he caught 30 passes, six of which went for scores. Bennie played on Miami’s 1987 national championship team. He made All-American and won the Jim Thorpe Award as the best defensive back in the country that season. He finished his career with 19 interceptions.
6. Ed and Dick Modzelewski, University of Maryland
Big Mo and Little Mo played for the Terrapins in the early 1950’s. They were teammates in 1950 and ’51. Ed was a fullback and he was honorable mention All-American in 1950 and second team in ’51. Dick made All-American in 1952 and won the Outland Trophy as the best lineman in the country. He finished his career as the Most Outstanding Player of the 1952 Sugar Bowl.
5. John, Charley and David Hannah, University of Alabama
Throughout the 1970’s there was a Hannah playing on the offensive or defensive line at the University of Alabama and making the All-Southeastern Conference team. John was the first and best as he was a two time All-American guard in 1971 and ’72. Charley came along next and played offensive line from 1974-1976 and was All-SEC. Little brother David played from 1975 to 1978 as a defensive lineman and made All-SEC as well.
4. Francis, Albert and Alvin Wistert: University of Michigan
Whitey, Ox and Moose they were called respectively. Each played both ways on the line for the Wolverines. The unique thing about them is the gap in years when they played for Michigan. Francis played from 1931-1933. Seven years passed before Albert came along in 1940. Playing with Heisman Trophy winning halfback Tom Harmon Albert’s career spanned the years 1940-1942. He was All-American in 1942. Alvin took the long route to Michigan as he first enrolled in the military then went to Boston College for a year. When Alvin transferred to Michigan in 1947 he was 31 years old. He became a two time All-American and at 33 is the oldest man to make the squad.
3. Archie and Ray Griffin, The Ohio State University
The Griffins played at Ohio State from 1972 -1977. Of course, Archie played halfback and is the only man to win the Heisman Trophy twice. He was a three time All Big Ten and All-American selection. He played in four Rose Bowls.
Ray was considered by some to be the better athlete of the two, but played defensive back. Ray made All Big Ten and All-American in 1977. Both Griffins were named team captains by their teammates.
2. Lucious, Dewey and Lee Roy Selmon: Oklahoma University
The Selmon brothers won everything that interior lineman can win at the college level. All three were All Big Eight and All-American as they anchored the Sooner defense. Lucious was first as he made All-American in 1973. His brothers joined him on the defensive line that season. Dewey and Lee Roy made All-American in 1974 and ’75. Lee Roy won the Outland and Lombardi awards in 1974 as well. One would be hard pressed to find a group of brothers who were better than the Selmons.
1. Ross, Jim and Willard Browner, Notre Dame
Joey and Keith Browner, University of Southern California
The only way to beat the Selmons is to have two sets of brothers play at two major universities and have All-Americans at both. The Browners did just that.
At Notre Dame, Ross Browner played defensive end from 1973-1977. His brother Jim played defensive back from 1975-1978. Brother Willard played running back for one season, 1976. Ross was the best as he won All-American honors in 1976 and ’77. In 1976 he won the Outland Trophy as the best lineman in the country. The next season he may have won it again if the award hadn’t been changed to recognize just the top interior lineman in the country. Instead he won the Lombardi Award and the Maxwell as best college player in the country. He was also named Associated Press and United Press International lineman of the year.
Joey and Keith played for Southern California from 1979-1983. They were teammates in 1982. Keith played linebacker for the Trojans in 1982 and ’83. Joey was a four year starter for the Trojans as a defensive back and was All Pacific 10 Conference. Joey outdid Ross by becoming a four time All-American. He scored three touchdowns in his Trojan career.
On the strength of Ross and Joey, the Browners have to be the number one football family of brothers who played at the same school. With Notre Dame and USC such bitter rivals it is amazing that the older siblings let the younger ones get away to Los Angeles. If all five of them had gone to one school or the other they may have beaten out the Selmons for number one.
By doing it at different schools this elevates them a notch above everyone else.