Woody Green AKA "The Best Running Back in ASU History" (Photo: ASU)
There has been a lot of attention lavished upon Arizona State senior running back Cameron Marshall this offseason, and for good reason. Following an excellent 2011 season in which he ran for 1,050 yards and 18 touchdowns, Marshall now finds himself on the Doak Walker and Maxwell Award watch lists.
He also finds himself somewhat in striking distance of some prestigious school records, that have been held for nearly 40 years by a man that most would consider the greatest running back in school history.
Woody Green came to ASU from Oregon in 1970 to play for Frank Kush, a coach whose offense gameplan often called for run, run, run, run, run, maybe think pass, run and so on. The union between Green's incredible skill and Kush's run-always philosophy would produce amazing results.
Green wasted no time in making his mark in his first season in 1971. In ASU's second game against Utah, he ran for 214 yards and two touchdowns in the 41-21 Sun Devil victory, at the time the sixth-best single game total in school history. That performance would be the catalyst for Green's All-WAC season, as he totaled 1,310 yards and 12 rushing scores for the 11-1 Sun Devils.
That single-season yardage total was good enough to rank third most by a Sun Devil, but Woody Green was not a "third-most" type of player, something he emphatically proved as a junior.
Lets take a look at some of Green's rushing totals from 1972: 172 versus Arizona. 195 against Houston. A pair of 198 yarders against BYU and Wyoming. 201 through the San Jose State defense. But he saved his best for last, when he rushed for 202 and three touchdowns in the Fiesta Bowl win over Missouri. In the process, he set school records in both single season yardage with 1,565 and rushing touchdowns with 18, marks that still stand today.
For such a heroic effort, Green was again All-WAC, but became the second Sun Devil (after Ron Pritchard) to earn a consensus All-American spot.
As a senior, Green was again fantastic. He ran for 1,313 yards and another 12 touchdowns, but more importantly, he became the first Sun Devil player to earn consecutive consensus All-American selections.
By the time he was a first round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, Green had set career school records that still stand to this day: 4,188 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns on the ground.
Green took his rightful place in the ASU Hall of Fame in the inaugural class in 1975.