The Backstory: The next stop in our Sun Devil Legend Series hits No. 84, and it belonged to one of the most famous Sun Devils in school history. He is responsible for arguably the most famous play in Sun Devil Athletics. "The Catch." His name is John Jefferson.
The Player: John Jefferson (1974-1977)
Jefferson goes down in ASU history as one of the best pass catchers in the school's history. His breakout season was in 1975, when he caught 52 passes for 921 yards, leading the Sun Devils to a perfect 12-0 record. That season, Arizona State won the Fiesta Bowl and finished second in the national polls, its highest ranking ever.
Jefferson led the Sun Devils in receiving his final three seasons on campus. He amassed 2,993 career receiving yards on 188 career catches. Both those marks are second in school history (surpassed by someone who we will talk about in a few days). In 1977, Jefferson became ASU's fifth consensus All-American.
Jefferson was a four-time All-WAC selection, he finished his career by catching a pass in 42 consecutive games.
In 1975, the No. 8 Arizona State Sun Devils, who were undefeated at 10-0, hosted the 9-1 Arizona Wildcats with a conference championship and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl on the line.
With the Sun Devils down 14-3 in the second quarter, ASU QB Dennis Sproul sailed a pass to the back of the Arizona endzone, where John Jefferson made a leaping catch for the touchdown. The momentum helped ASU to a 24-21 victory and a spot in the 1975 Fiesta Bowl. The play is remembered as one of the most famous plays in Sun Devil history.
In the Pros: Jefferson was taken in the first round, fourth overall, by the San Diego Chargers in the 1978 NFL Draft. He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection with the Chargers, Packers and Browns over his eight-year NFL career. He complied 5,714 receiving yards and 47 receiving touchdowns in the NFL.
Who wears it now: Number 84 is currently worn by senior wide receiver Byron Thomas, who hails from New Windsor, New York.
WR Aaron Cox (1983-1987) - Cox was another star Sun Devil receiver, in the mid-80's and he was a two-time First Team All Pac-10 selection. He was also a three-time AP Honorable Mention All-American, collecting 2,694 career receiving yards while in Tempe.