Jim Jeffcoat in the 1983 Fiesta Bowl (Photo: ASU)
The Arizona State Sun Devils have had several standout defensive linemen over the decades, and few have had as great of an impact as the man who checks in at No. 54 on our 100-Day Countdown list: Jim Jeffcoat.
After a stellar All-American football career at Matawan High School in New Jersey, Jeffcoat made the cross-country trek to play football at Arizona State. His robust size, darting quickness and incredible talent soon had him in the Sun Devils' starting lineup by 1980.
He started posting impressive numbers as a junior in 1981, as he led the team in sacks with 10 and tackles for loss with eight. That dominance helped earn him an honorable mention spot on the All-Pac-10 team. But that was just a tune up for a terrific senior year.
Jeffcoat helped lead a terrific Sun Devil defense that led the nation in total defense, holding opponents to under 229 yards-per-game. That season he racked up 111 tackles, including four sacks and two forced fumbles in earning first team All-Pac-10 honors and an honorable mention spot on the All-American team.
But he may have saved his best for last game, the 1983 Fiesta Bowl against the No. 12 ranked Oklahoma Sooners.
While the game may be best remembered for the remarkable performance of Sooner running back Marcus Dupree, who ran for 239 yards before leaving with injury, Jeffcoat helped led the defense charge. It was his penetration of the Oklahoma line that helped ASU make a key safety in the second quarter.
By the time that ASU had secured the 32-21 win, Jeffcoat was named the game's Defensive MVP, and he was later inducted into the Fiesta Bowl's Hall of Fame in 1991 for his dominant effort.
He left ASU with 20 career sacks, which was third most at that time (now seventh). Jeffcoat was drafted in the first round (23rd overall) by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1983 NFL Draft. Over 15 seasons--12 with Dallas and three with Buffalo--Jeffcoat posted five seasons of more than 10 sacks, and finished with a remarkable 102.5 for his career.
In 1994, Jeffcoat was inducted into Arizona State's Hall of Fame.
See the previous entries on House of Sparky's 100 day countdown here