The Backstory: As we enter the back half of the 40s, we encounter three numbers that have some of the strongest traditions at Arizona State. Nos. 44, 42 and 40 seem to be good luck charms for nearly every player who dons the jersey. Two of the three numbers are retired, and No. 44 has had its fair share of famous Sun Devils.
In fact, no less than four Sun Devils have earned All-America honors while wearing No. 44, and plenty of others enjoyed successful careers. With so many talented players to choose from, the selection to honor Brett Wallerstedt at 44 could prove controversial. However, we believe Wallerstedt's resume speaks loud enough to merit our selection.
The Player: Brett Wallerstedt (1989-1992)
The competition to earn House of Sparky's honors at No. 44 is steep, but Brett Wallerstedt never had a difficult time staring down his opponents. Wallerstedt is one of many fine Arizona State linebackers and his impressive statistics add to the program's proud tradition at the position.
As a freshman, Wallerstedt saw limited action, but he had no problem brushing off the rust on his tackling skills when he hit the field the following season. In 1990, Wallerstedt recorded 109 tackles and finished behind Nathan LaDuke's 122 for the team lead.
Amazingly, Wallerstedt improved upon his production level and in 1991, the inside linebacker set a career high with 122 tackles. Surprisingly, Wallerstedt was shunned from the All-Conference list and came back with a chip on his shoulder.
In his senior year, the sideline-to-sideline force wrapped up 119 tackles en route to a First Team All Pac-10 selection. The Associated Press also honored Wallerstedt as an Honorable Mention All-American because after all, 22 tackles for loss was simply overwhelming.
Wallerstedt did 99 percent of his damage in a Sun Devil uniform, but he also represented the West Coast in the East-West Shrine game and earned Defensive MVP honors in 1992.
For us, three consecutive 100-tackle seasons seems like too much to ignore when it came time to pick our legend.
Channing Williams: One of the top fullbacks to ever play at Arizona State, Williams was a two-time Second Team All Pac-10 selection as well as an Honorable Mention All-American in 1986.
Willie Gittens: Gittens is one of the lone Sun Devils to appear on four All-Conference lists. Surprisingly, he was a first team selection just once, and that came during his sophomore campaign for his role as a return specialist.
Dale Robinson: Like Wallerstedt, Robinson was a tackling machine. His 2005 season proved to be one to remember, as he accounted for 115 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and was named a First Team All Pac-10 performer.