BEST COLLEGE ATHLETE Phoenix 2006 - Rudy Burgess
Diehard Sun Devil football fans still remember the 2004 season, when then-freshman Rudy Burgess, filling in for ASU's decimated running back corps, pounded and punished Stanford defenders on his way to a 34-carry, 186-yard Herculean performance that left him immobile for two weeks. And after that come-from-behind victory, any casual team follower knows that without the big-game showings of the 180-pound sparkplug in pads, the Devils wouldn't have hoisted the 2004 Sun Bowl or the 2005 Insight Bowl trophies (the ASU quarterback won the MVP trophy in each case). During the 2005 season, the Brooklyn native became the only NCAA Division I-A player to gain more than 600 yards rushing and 600 yards receiving ? not bad considering the pass-happy Pac-10 and that Burgess came to the desert exclusively to play wide receiver. In 2006, the junior will attempt to become a football novelty, adding the position of cornerback to an already crowded playmaking r?sum?. As for that elusive bowl game MVP trophy, ASU backers hope Tempe's version of an unappreciated football hero by the name of Rudy earns it during the BCS national championship game.