The 6-foot-1, 235-pound linebacker from Chicago (Ill.) St. Patrick graduated from Northwestern as the NCAA's all-time leading tackler with 545 stops. He started 40 games for the Wildcats, including the last 34 consecutively. He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition in 2003 before earning consensus All-Big Ten honors as a junior and senior. The relentless linebacker was a seventh-round pick by the Rams in the 2006 NFL Draft.
From Euclid, Ohio, Adamle was an All-American and the Big Ten MVP in 1970 for the Wildcats. Adamle was one of Northwestern’s career leaders in numerous rushing, touchdown and scoring categories when his career ended. He went on to be drafted in the fourth round of the 1971 draft by the Chiefs and eventually played six seasons in the NFL. His 316 yards against Wisconsin in 1969 remains a single-game school record. Many know the former running back for his work on "American Gladiators," ESPN, the XFL and WWE.
The defensive end from Covina, Calif., is arguably the most successful pass-rusher in Northwestern school history. He owns the single-season school record with 12.0 sacks in 1997 and the all-time sacks mark with 28.0. He also owns the all-time mark for tackles for loss for a career (53.0) and a season (26.0). He was a fifth-round pick by the Jets in the 1998 NFL Draft.
A four-year starter from Arlington Heights (Ill.) St. Viator, Basanez set every major passing and total offense record in school history during his time in Evanston. When he left school, the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder owned 32 school records and is second all-time in Big Ten history (behind Drew Brees mostly) in completions (913), attempts (1,584), yards (10,580) and total offense (11,576). He started 46 games, including the final 40 in a row. His career culminated in Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2005.
The talented wide receiver made the long trip north to Evanston from Aiken, South Carolina. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder lead the team in receiving as a freshman and helped propel the Wildcats to the Rose Bowl in 1995 — where he piled up 145 yards against USC. He backed that up with a huge sophomore season, in which he set NU receiving records for yards (1,196) and touchdowns (12). After missing all of 1997 with a broken leg, Bates came back to break his own records with 83 catches and 1,245 yards as a senior. His 210 catches, 3,370 yards and 26 touchdowns are all school records.
The Wilmington (Ill.) High finished his Northwestern career as the sixth all-time rusher in Big Ten history, leading the school in rushing yards, all-purpose yards (5,261), rushing touchdowns (38) and 200-yard games (4). He also set the school record with 2,063 yards and 23 touchdowns during his consensus All-American 2000 season. The 5-foot-11, 218-pound workhorse finished fifth in the Heisman voting that season and eventually went undrafted in the 2002 NFL Draft.
There are two names linked indelibly to the historic 1995 run at the Rose Bowl and Autry is one of them. The 5-foot-10, 210-pound prospect was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, before moving back to the states and attending Northwestern. He was a Heisman and Doak Walker finalist while helping the Wildcats to back-to-back Big Ten titles in 1995 and '96. He left the school as the all-time leading rusher (since broken) with 3,793 yards and the all-time leading scorer with 222 points. Autry was an All-American and two-time All-Big Ten selection before getting drafted by the Bears in the fourth round of the 1997 NFL Draft
The massive 6-foot-7, 335-pound blocker from Milford (Ohio) High was one of the most gifted players to ever suit up for Northwestern. He started 40 games and was the first Wildcats offensive lineman in 22 years to earn All-American honors. He earned All-Big Ten honors of some fashion three times during his four-year career. A seventh-round pick by New Orleans in 2006, this season will be his seventh with the Saints.
The four-year letterman from Chicago, Ill., was arguably the most talented offensive lineman in school history. His stellar career in Evanston was capped by first-team All-American honors in 1982. His excellent college career led to Hinton becoming the highest drafted player in school history. He was taken fourth overall by the Denver Broncos in the 1983 NFL Draft, playing 13 seasons and making six Pro Bowls.
One player stands above all others for the Northwestern Wildcats and he is the man currently standing on the sidelines in Evanston. His excellent coaching record aside, Fitzgerald is the most decorated player in school history. He led the Wildcats to the historic 10-1 season that culminated with the 1996 Rose Bowl. He was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year twice and won the Bednarik and Nagurski Awards twice each. He was a consensus All-American during both Big Ten championship seasons. He took over as the head coach in 2006 and has been arguably the most successful coach in program history as well.
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