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) /
4 of 30
Lester Hayes
Lester Hayes. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

Accolades – 1976 All-American

Team signature moment – 1975 team went 10-2 and won a three-way share of the Southwest Conference title.

Lester Hayes is probably known more for his career in the NFL than as an Aggie, but that’s mostly because he switched to cornerback in the NFL and never played the position in college. He came to Texas A&M as a defensive end, then switched to linebacker and safety as a sophomore before finally making the switch full-time to safety as a junior.

Hayes was part of the monster 1975 defense that shut down opponents in nearly every game they played. He had come into his own as a safety at that point. Hayes revolutionized the position with his physical style.

That 1975 team rarely gets mentioned among the great Aggie teams mostly because of the way the season ended, but it should go down as one of the best teams in school history.

He finished third in the NCAA in interceptions in his senior season and would go on to be a fifth-round pick by the Oakland Raiders in the 1977 NFL Draft. They switched him to corner and Hayes’ career really took off.

Making the Pro Bowl five times, being named All-Pro six times, setting the modern era record for interceptions in a season with 13 and winning two Super Bowls with the Raiders has earned Hayes a reputation as one of the best lock down corners that ever played in the NFL.

Unfortunately, his use of “stickum” has thus far prevented Pro Football Hall of Fame votes from putting him in. Hopefully those voters come to their senses and give Hayes his rightful Canton enshrinement.