Top 25 College Football Names of 2013
25. Pharoah McKever (NC State WR)
As former LSU defensive end and 2009 Name of the Year winner Barkevious Mingo once demonstrated, college football is rich with players whose names seeming defy logic. This season is no different. The following are Top 25 College Football Names of 2013.
At a daunting 6-foot-6 and 228 pounds as an incoming freshman (and perhaps still growing), McKever could very well put a hex on opposing DBs struggling to cover him in 2013. We’re hoping the “o” and “a” in pharaoh were intentionally flipped by his parents.
24. 'Hugs' Etienne (Wisconsin DB)
A Badgers defense that’s been too often burned by big plays in recent seasons hopes that their redshirt freshman CB from Plantation, FL, can put a bear hug around opposing wide receivers — but not literally, for that would be an obvious pass interference call.
“Hugs” isn’t a nickname, either. It’s short for “Hugsanly” (no joke) - which sounds like it might have been a suggested name for a stuffed animal at some point.
23. Konockus Sashington (North Texas RB)
Combined, the Mean Green junior’s first and last name describe how an ideal running back should be both powerful enough to knock over opposing would-be tacklers yet nimble enough to make deft cuts when need be.
Alas, the Austin, TX, native hasn’t had many opportunities at North Texas to do either. Despite seeing action in all 12 of the Mean Green’s games last year, he had just one carry (for six yards).
22. Robert Godhigh (Georgia Tech RB)
Godhigh didn’t arrive at Georgia Tech in August 2009 acting as if his talents were divine. In fact, he had to walk on and then redshirt his freshman year. But after impressing the Yellow Jackets’ coaches with his work ethic, he started earning carries on a regular basis in 2012, rushing for 429 yards (on 7.9 YPC) and four TD while starting all 14 games.
The only thing that could make this name better is if, like former Providence basketball player God Shammgod, his name was God Godhigh. We can dream…
21. 'Munchie' Legaux (Cincinnati QB)
While Legaux has enjoyed a very respectable career as a Bearcats QB, there’s something that feels vaguely off about a player with his name playing his college ball outside the state of Louisiana.
The New Orleans native — full name: Benton Shannon Legaux — will likely spell Brendon Kay in his senior season after being the starter for much of the past two years. Here’s hoping this consistent All-Name Team honoree has his fair share of moments when doing so.
20. Sirgregory Thornton (Arkansas State RB)
We’re a sucker for names that start with “Sir.” Following a freshman season in 2010 during which he led the Red Wolves in yards per carry (6.8), Thornton has nobly stepped into a supporting role while David Oku has become ASU’s primary running back.
Should Oku either struggle with injuries or not be as effective as he was last year, we wouldn’t rule out Thornton swooping in and rescuing his team’s rushing attack as if he’s a knight rescuing a damsel in distress.
19. 'Money' Hunter (Arkansas State DB)
While Torri Hunter’s more well-known, football-playing son (Torii Hunter Jr.) has made a name for himself as a burner of a wide receiver prior to his freshman season at Notre Dame, another one has made a name for himself for ... his name.
“Money” Hunter — who’s given first name is the equally awesome “Monshadrick” — hopes to be on the money with his play in the Red Wolves’ secondary as a freshman this year. Unintentionally, his name might also be the most apt descriptor ever for the NCAA.
18. Cassanova McKinzy (Auburn LB)
Auburn fans had little to love about last year’s 3–9 debacle.
But don’t be shocked if their Cassanova of a true freshman linebacker won his fair share of hearts in his first career start, against Vanderbilt. McKinzy’s made 12 tackles — the second most for a Tigers player in his first start since 2004 — and recovered a fumble.
If he helps shore up Auburn’s defense as a sophomore, he’ll have even more people swooning over him.
17. Johnny Ragin III (Cal LB)
Cal’s incoming freshman linebacker pronounces his last name “RAY-gun,” not “ragin’.” But doesn’t “Ragin’ Ragin” have a nice sound to it?
It’s fairly descriptive of how all-over-the-field Ragin was during his career at Wilsonville (OR) High School. He saw action at linebacker, defensive end, safety, wide receiver, fullback and even punter. The Golden Bears will be more that satisfied if the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder “rages” at just LB this year and beyond.
16. Chris Blewitt (Pitt PK)
Should Blewitt miss any big or gimme kicks during his time with the Panthers, he’ll inspire a litany of way-too-easy insults involving his last name.
Yet thus far in his football-playing career, the native Virginian has more than transcended his unfortunate (for a kicker) last name. At West Potomac High School, he set school records for the longest field goal (51 yards) and longest punt (79 yards) and was rated by Scout.com as one of the nation’s top six placekickers in the Class of 2013.
15. 'BooBoo' Gates (Bowling Green DB)
Manning the secondary for an underrated-yet-stout Bowling Green defense in 2012 (10th in FBS at 16.8 PPG), Jerry “BooBoo” Gates was the opposite of accident-prone.
One year after earning Second Team All-MAC honors as a kick returner, Gates was a First Team All-MAC safety, finishing the season with 47 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two interceptions while dishing out boo-boos.
14. 'Ha Ha' Clinton-Dix (Alabama DB)
Opposing offenses desperate to break through against the Crimson Tide’s vicious defense don’t find anything remotely funny about the junior DB from Orlando (given name: Ha’Sean). Clinton-Dix tied for the SEC lead in interceptions (five) last year while also totaling 37 tackles (23 solo).
Chances are excellent he’ll be laughing all the way to the bank in less than a year’s time. We had “Ha Ha” as a late first-round pick in our Way-Too-Early 2014 NFL Mock Draft back in April. With a strong junior season, he could go even higher.
13. Chongo Kondolo (Nebraska OL)
Can’t you imagine Cornhuskers fans referring to the Fresno City (CA) Community College transfer as “The Great Kondolo” if he becomes a standout on Nebraska’s O-line?
While already big at 6-foot-4 and 290 pounds, we’d want to see Kondolo put on a little more bulk so as to appear as physically imposing as he already sounds.
12. Spencer Drango (Baylor OL)
The Bears’ highly-touted sophomore O-lineman has a name that brings to mind either a James Bond or 1980s action movie villain. A former four-star Rivals prospect, Drango is proving to be all sorts of evil for opposing defensive players.
Baylor led the Big 12 in rushing (231.7 YPG) and was second nationally in total offense (572.2) in Drango’s first season as a starter last year. And like the typical James Bond and 1980s action movie villain, he possesses a keen mind: Drango was a 2012 First Team Academic All-Big 12 honoree.
11. 'Dee' Liner (Alabama DL)
Perhaps only longtime NFL fullback Mack Strong had as “positionally appropriate” a name as the Crimson Tide’s prized defensive end recruit.
Small disclaimer: The given first name of Rivals’ seventh-ranked defensive end in the Class of 2013 is, in fact, Davion. But as the Muscle Shoals, AL, native explained to Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples in January, “[My family has] been calling me Dee since I was little. They called me Little Dee. Now they call me Big Dee.”
It’s not as if the Liners could have foreseen that Davion would grow up to be a defensive lineman and given him an all-too fitting nickname ... we think.
10. 'Taco' Charlton (Michigan DL)
No, the Wolverines freshman isn’t actually named after a Mexican delicacy, although his given name of “Vidaunte” isn’t half-bad in the creativity department.
Naturally, the Pickerington, OH, native had no qualms about taking advantage of his moniker in the form of a memorable Twitter handle, @TheSupremeTaco — one that he might live up to soon. The 6-foot-6, 270-pounder has earned rave reviews ever since his early enrollment in January.
We can only hope the Wolverines make at least one trip to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl during Taco’s tenure in Ann Arbor.
9. 'Spiffy' Evans (Boston College WR)
“Spiffy Evans” is a name seemingly transported from the 1920s, one which is comparable to those long dead football players for whom team awards for “Best Spirited” and the like are named after. In actuality, he’s a rising junior at Boston College who was second on the Eagles in all-purpose yards last year, with 1,165.
If the Hollywood, FL, native — given name: Curtric Jamal Evans — can develop more as a pass-catching threat and lead BC back to respectability? Well, that would be just dandy for Spiffy.
8. De’Asian Richardson (Louisville DL)
We imagine the following conversation taking place between Cardinals fans after the onetime Florida State and West Virginia commit switched to Louisville in January:
“Did you hear that Charlie Strong got De’Asian to commit to Louisville?”
“Yeah, but which one?”
Thank you, we’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.
7. 'Chocolate' Wilson (Marshall DB)
Thundering Herd coaches are no doubt hoping that D’Andre “Chocolate” Wilson — our pick for the top name of the 2013 recruiting class back in February — can help make life sweeter for a beleaguered Marshall secondary from a year ago.
“When I was born, I came out extra, extra dark,” Wilson told Andy Staples. “My dad said he was going to name me Chocolate. The name stuck. I have been called that my whole life. That is all I go by here. People don’t know D’Andre; they know Chocolate.”
6. 'Win' Homer (Boston College OL)
Are the Eagles basing their recruiting strategy on one-of-a-kind nicknames up at The Heights?
While Spiffy Evans will try to get open for passes, Winthrop “Win” Homer will attempt to give BC’s quarterbacks enough time to throw in his redshirt freshman season. If former Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis - who favorite saying was “Just win, baby” - was still alive, there’s no doubt Homer would already be on Oakland’s 2017 draft board.
5. 'Thor' Jozwiak (South Florida OL)
The Bulls’ offensive boasts two players with memorable (if hard-to-pronounce) names. We’d be remiss if we mentioned Jozwiak without mentioning fellow USF guard Brynjar Gudmundsson, who’s an honorable mention All-Name Teamer.
Back to Jozwiak, though. He actually shortened his given name of “Thornton” because ... well, the Norse god of thunder is a pretty good figure to aspire to be like when you’re an offensive lineman.
“If he wants to play piano, it’s Thornton,” Vanderbilt offensive line coach Herb Hand — a friend of the Jozwiak family — told USA Today in June. “Football, it’s Thor.”
4. Silverberry Mouhon (Cincinnati DL)
The first time we heard the name of the Bearcats defensive lineman, we did a quick scan of all the existing “My Little Pony” characters to see whether he was one of them.
Chances are that the redshirt sophomore wants to rack up enough big hits so that “My Little Pony” is the furthest thing from one’s mind when they talk about him. UC’s 2011 Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year (when he redshirted), Mouhon is primed to drastically increase the 19 total tackles he had in 2012.
T-2. Wave & Blaze Ryder (Navy DB & C)
The fact that a football player named Wave Ryder (left) plays for the Naval Academy is so perfect that the senior safety was the subject of a $600 Jeopardy clue in a “Great Names in College Football” category last November.
Wave — who recorded 53 tackles a year ago — is joined on the Midshipmen roster by his younger brother, Blaze (right), who’s currently third on the team’s depth chart at center. In the meantime, he can take solace on perhaps the most superhero-sounding name in the sport.
1. 'Fudge' Van Hooser (Tulane WR)
“Ah, fudge!” is an interjection often used by clean-mouthed people who want to avoid saying the “F” word. Perhaps it’ll become a good thing to say at Tulane football games should Walker Lloyd “Fudge” Van Hooser turn into a decent target for Green Wave QBs (Fudge’s brother, Wilson, plays for Troy).
Van Hooser’s first and last names are so great that when sports sites reported his commitment to Tulane in 2010, the real story was that there would soon be a college football player named something as absurd as “Fudge Van Hooser.”
His name is one that makes us misty-eyed with memories of former Tennessee QB Jim Bob Cooter. It’s also our pick for the 2013 college football season’s best name.