The Backstory: Picking the right candidate for number 40 wasn't easy. Among all the jerseys this series covers, number 40 arguably posses the largest crop of top notch talent. While returning kicks and shutting down premier wide receivers, the legend of Mike Haynes went far beyond the confines of Tempe, Arizona. The East Coast bias presumption couldn't tackle Haynes' long list of accomplishments.
The Player: Mike Haynes (1972-1975)
Elite cover corners, like Haynes, essentially take away half of the field, and never require help over the top. Therefore, it's no surprise Sun Devil football reached new heights during Haynes era.
Haynes' ability on kick and punt returns alone would constitute a successful career. As the starting kick and punt returner for two seasons, Haynes tallied five touchdowns and featured game-changing explosiveness. In the 1974 season, Haynes fielded a school-record 46 punt returns. In order to have 46 punt return opportunities, the defense must be stingy, and it certainly was thanks to Haynes ball-hawking mentality.
Receiving Consensus All-American honors rarely occurs, yet Hayes joined the prestigious club in 1975. In addition, Haynes garnered All-American praise the year before. All-Conference awards are worthy of noting, but Haynes made them a seem customary, with three First-Team appearances.
The famous 1975 season by Haynes should rank as one of the season's by a cornerback. During the campaign, Haynes tallied 11 interceptions, placing him second place in the single-season record books for ASU. To punctuate the phenomenal 1975 season, Haynes earned Defensive MVP of the East-West shrine game and MVP of the Japan Bowl.
Frank Kush, Haynes and company went undefeated in 1975, and ended up number two in the final polls. The Maroon and Gold have never done better, obviously. By the end of Haynes' career, he accumulated 17 total picks.
Most importantly, Haynes went into the college football hall of fame in 1997, becoming the third player in school history to do so.
In the Pros: The New England Patriots drafted Haynes with the fifth pick of the 1976 draft. From there, Haynes garnered pro bowl spots nine times, the second most in ASU history. Beyond the personal achievements, Haynes won Super Bowl XV and XVIII playing for the Oakland Raiders.
Who Wears it Now: Nobody currently wears number 40, and that will never change. Number 40 sits in the ring of honor for Arizona State, with the jersey getting retired on November 4, 2000.
Adam Archuleta - From the secondary to linebackers, Adam Archuleta deserves recognition for helping the entire defense. Archuleta assisted the pass defense very well, and single-handidly stopped the run. In 1999, Archuleta accumulated an astounding 21 tackles for loss. The Gannett News Service made Archuleta a First Team All-American, and the Associated Press gave Arcuhleta Second Team All-American honors.