Sun Devil Legends Series: No. 77 Curley Culp

Curley Culp was a physical specimen on the football field and the wrestling mat. - ASU Athletics

He didn't just achieve legendary status because of a memorable name, Curley Culp earned the right to join our summer series because of his on the field performance too.

The Backstory: Some athletes are memorable simply for their name. Take Coco Crisp for example. The Oakland Athletics' center fielder has had an above-average career, but he will always be known for his iconic name.

Other athletes are famous for their great performances. There's nothing special about the name Michael Jordan, but everyone knows his name.

Then, there's another category. It's the group of athletes who had impressive careers, but even more distinct names. These players combined their on the field impact with off the field charm simply because of how others address them. And in the case of today's "Sun Devil Legend," he rightfully earned his spot among this group of athletes that will never be forgotten.

The Player: Curley Culp (1965-1967)

After looking at numbers 79 and 78, we have already established that Arizona State has a proud tradition of successful linemen. Fortunately, when we came across No. 77, we found that this theme continued and Curley Culp was there to carry the torch, and this time, on the defensive side of the ball.

Culp burst onto the scene in 1965 during his first season in Tempe. The middle guard became a starter at the heart of the defensive line, and gained valuable experience that made him a force to be reckoned with in the following seasons.

In 1966, the Yuma, Arizona native became a First-Team All-Western Conference performer and earned the respect of his teammates as a player who could fight through even the toughest double teams.

During his senior season, Culp was named an All-American and Team Captain on a squad that finished 8-2. However, that was not the future Hall of Famer's most impressive accomplishment that year.

As a two-sport athlete, Culp's success on the football field translated to the wrestling mat where he won Arizona State's first individual national championship in the sport.

In the Pros: After an illustrious career at Arizona State, Culp became a second round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 1968.

Culp found immediate success and went onto a Hall of Fame career as a nose tackle. Culp recorded 68 sacks, forced 14 fumbles, and made five appearances in the Pro Bowl during a 14-year career.

On February 2 of 2013, Culp was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is widely considered one of the best nose tackles to ever play the game.

Honorable Mention

Deke Ballard: After Culp found success in No. 77, Deke Ballard tried to channel the positive feelings as well and it worked. Ballard became an Honorable Mention All-Western Conference performer and two-year starter at defensive tackle in the early 1970s.

Who Wears It Now?

Stephon McCray

A four-star offensive lineman out of Bullard High School in California, McCray is a redshirt freshman who is looking forward to a bright career.

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