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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Dat Nguyen, Texas A&M Aggies
Dat Nguyen, Texas A&M Aggies. (Photo by Louis Deluca/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images) /

Stats – 517 tackles, six interceptions, two touchdowns

Accolades – 1998 Unanimous All-American, 1998 Chuck Bednarik Award, 1998 Lombardi Award, 1998 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, 3x First-Team All-Big 12, Texas A&M Athletic Hall Of Fame, AP All-Time Big 12 Team, College Football Hall of Fame.

Team signature moment – Winning the 1998 Big 12 Championship

You’d be hard pressed to find a better defensive player in Texas A&M football’s history. Dat Nguyen‘s entire career at A&M was incredible. A program that had been known for its defense for the previous two decades produced maybe one of the best linebackers in the history of college football.

He is the only Aggie to lead the team in tackles for four consecutive seasons. His magical senior season will be forever remembered not just for the insane numbers he put up — 147 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, four sacks and two interceptions — or the awards he won, but also for the team capturing its only Big 12 championship and its only BCS Bowl appearance in the Sugar Bowl.

Despite his college dominance, Nguyen was just a third-round selection by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1999 NFL Draft. He had a solid seven-year career until neck injuries derailed what could have been a long and successful tenure in the NFL.

The 1998 team is easily one of the best in Texas A&M’s history and a lot of that had to do with the heart, determination and dominance of Nguyen.