Texas A&M football: 30 greatest players of all-time

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Aggies. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Aggies. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /
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Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Aggies
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Aggies. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Texas A&M football team has seen some excellent players come through the program. Here are the best Aggies to ever set foot on Kyle Field.

Texas A&M football is one of the more storied programs in the history of college football. As such, there have been some legendary players who came through Aggieland and made their mark.

The team has one AP national championship, 18 conference championships, is No. 24 all time in wins, has an all-time winning percentage of just over 60 percent, two Heisman Trophy winners and many players who went on to have successful NFL careers.

Despite not winning a conference championship since the Big 12 in 1998, there have been several excellent players in recent decades. Mike Sherman and Kevin Sumlin knew how to recruit, they just couldn’t get over the hump.

However, the team seems to be in good hands under the tutelage of Jimbo Fisher, who is in the second season of a 10-year contract and won nine games in his first season in College Station.

Honorable mentions

A couple of players barely didn’t make the list but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention either of them. The first is Jack Pardee, who was one of the Junction Boys from the first year of Paul “Bear” Bryant’s short tenure. Pardee might be the toughest Aggie of all-time and helped lead the Aggies to an undefeated season in 1956, though NCAA sanctions did not allow them to play in a bowl game.

Ed Simonini was a linebacker in the 1970s who may be one of the more underrated Aggie players in history, given the relative lack of success through the decade. However, the 1975 defense was one of the most ferocious of all-time. Simonini was selected an All-American and jump started three decades of excellent linebacker play at Texas A&M.

Trimming this list down to 30 was difficult, but we gave it our best shot. Let’s start with No. 30, one of the best defensive backs in Aggie history.

Stats  Six interceptions in 1974, Three interceptions in 1975

Accolades – 1974 and 1975 Consensus All-American, 1974 and 1975 All-Southwest Conference First Team

Team signature moment – 1975 team went 10-2, won a three-way share of the SWC and finished No. 11 in the AP Poll

Pat Thomas is one of the best defensive backs to ever play for the Texas A&M football team. He was on a fearsome unit in the mid 1970s, one in 1975 that led the nation in total defense and rush defense. He was a team captain in the 1974 season as well. Thomas was inducted into the Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986 and was named to the SEC Legends class of 2018.

The defense was stout all season long on their way to a 10-0 start and looked to contend for a national championship. That was until the Arkansas Razorbacks put on an offensive showcase and beat the Aggies 31-6 in a game that forced Texas A&M into a three-way share of the conference title.

They would go on to lose in the Liberty Bowl to the USC Trojans. The 1975 season included a win over the No. 5 Texas Longhorns.

Thomas was drafted No. 39 overall by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1976 NFL Draft. He played his entire NFL career with the Rams and was twice named to the All-Pro team and Pro Bowl roster in 1978 and 1980. Thomas appeared in the Super Bowl with the Rams in 1980.